Moffatt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Scottish name Moffatt was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived in the place called Moffatt, in Scotland. The place-name is derived from the Gaelic words magh and fada, which mean field and long. Hence, the surname Moffatt means, from the long field.

Early Origins of the Moffatt family

The surname Moffatt was first found in Dumfriesshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhùn Phris), a Southern area, bordering on England that today forms part of the Dumfries and Galloway Council Area, at Annandale where the first on record was Nicholas de Mufet who began his life as a simple cleric and was first recorded as witness to a charter by Walter, bishop of Glasgow, some time before 1232. Approximately twenty years later, in 1250, he was made Archdeacon of Theuidale and eventually, in 1268, he was made Bishop of Glasgow. After only two years of holding the position of bishop, he died, in the year 1270.

Early History of the Moffatt family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moffatt research. Another 110 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1348, 1467, 1553, 1604, 1553, 1604, 1795, 1883, 1815 and 1870 are included under the topic Early Moffatt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Moffatt Spelling Variations

The many spelling variations in Medieval Scottish names result from the fact that scribes in that era spelled words according to sound. Translation too, was an undeveloped science, and many names were altered into complete obscurity. Over the years Moffatt has been spelled Moffatt, Maffat, Maffett, Maffet, Moffat, Moffet, Moffett, Moffert, Moffertt, Moffit, Moffitt, Merphet, Merphett, Merfet, Merfett, Murphat, Murphatt, Murphet, Murphett, Muffat, Muffatt, Muffett, Muffet, Muffit and many more.

Early Notables of the Moffatt family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Thomas Muffet (also Moufet, Mouffet, or Moffet) (1553-1604), an English naturalist and physician, best known for his Puritan beliefs, his study of insects in regard to medicine; and Robert Moffat (1795-1883). Starting off as a gardener, he decided to become a missionary...
Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Moffatt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Moffatt family to Ireland

Some of the Moffatt family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 70 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Moffatt migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainties and discrimination faced in Scotland, many decided to head out for North America. Once they arrived, many Scots fought with relish in the American War of Independence; some went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Many ancestors of these Scots have recovered their lost national heritage in the 20th century through Clan organizations and Scottish historical societies. Among the settlers to North America were:

Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Moffatt, who landed in Maryland in 1663 [1]
Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Moffatt, who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1712
  • Thomas Moffatt, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712 [1]
Moffatt Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Moffatt, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [1]
  • James Moffatt, who arrived in St Clair County, Illinois in 1870 [1]
  • Robert Moffatt, who arrived in California in 1876 [1]

Australia Moffatt migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Moffatt Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Moffatt, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "America" on April 4, 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Mr. James Moffatt, (b. 1825), aged 23, Scottish convict who was convicted in Perth, Scotland for 7 years for assault, transported aboard the "Bangalore" on 1st January 1850, arriving in Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia [3]
  • George Moffatt, aged 30, a joiner, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Joseph Rowan" [4]
  • Mr. Josias Moffatt, (b. 1837), aged 20, Cornish agricultural labourer travelling aboard the ship "Tartar" arriving in New South Wales, Australia on 27th July 1857 [5]
  • Mary Moffatt, aged 18, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Melbourne"

New Zealand Moffatt migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Moffatt Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mrs. Moffatt, British settler travelling from London with 3 children aboard the ship "Enterprise" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 25th October 1849 [6]
  • Mr. William J. Moffatt, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship 'Merchantman' arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand and Auckland New Zealand on 6th September 1855 [6]
  • Mr. William Moffatt, British settler travelling from Liverpool aboard the ship "Tornado" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 26th September 1859 [7]
  • John Moffatt, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Jura" in 1861
  • Mr. Moffatt, British settler travelling from London, UK aboard the ship "Bahia" arriving in Lyttelton, South Island, New Zealand on 7th December 1863 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Moffatt (post 1700) +

  • Seth Crittenden Moffatt (1841-1887), American politician, 29th Speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives (1881-1882)
  • John Moffatt (b. 1964), American television producer and world record holder for distance traveled on a personal water craft
  • Seth Crittenden Moffatt (1841-1887), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State Senate 31st District, 1871-72; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Grand Traverse District, 1881-82 [8]
  • S. H. Moffatt, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Virginia, 1860 [8]
  • Orlando C. Moffatt, American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State Senate 27th District, 1903-06 [8]
  • Norbert Moffatt, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1964 [8]
  • Nelson Moffatt, American Democrat politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Orange County 1st District, 1919, 1921 [8]
  • Michel G. Moffatt, American Republican politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates 22nd District, 2012 [8]
  • Isaac Moffatt, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1888 [8]
  • Hezekiah Moffatt, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Orange County, 1818-19 [8]
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Herbertson Bernstone Hyman Moffatt, English First Waiter from Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [9]
  • Mr. William Moffatt, Canadian 2nd Class passenger from Winchester, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [10]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1829 with 176 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/america/1829
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia
  4. ^ South Australian Register Saturday 17th June 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Joseph Rowan 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/josephrowan1854.shtml
  5. ^ Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 3rd May 2018). Retrieved from http://www.opc-cornwall.org/Resc/pdfs/emigration_nsw_1850_59.pdf
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  10. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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