Show ContentsMoorse History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The distinguished surname Moorse emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. One of the most common classes of surname is the patronymic surname, which was usually derived from the first name of the person's father. Flemish surnames of this type are often characterized by the diminutive suffix -kin, which became very frequent in England during the 14th century. The surname Moorse is derived from the Old French name Maur, which is derived from the Latin personal name Mauritius, which means Moorish or dark. Moorse is a late form of the surname. 1 2

Alternatively the name could have been derived from "Mawr and rys, a hero, a warrior, a brave man. " 3

Early Origins of the Moorse family

The surname Moorse was first found in Gloucestershire where, conjecturally being of Flemish origin they were one of the many settlers who were invited into England to improve the industrial capabilities of the nation. 4

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included Robert le Moreys, Somerset and later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Elena Morys and Johannes Morys. 1

Thomas Morse was listed in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1434 and later, William Morse was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Durham in 1524. Richard Morse was also found there in 1642. 5

Early History of the Moorse family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moorse research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1555, 1575, 1610, 1771, 1791, 1807 and 1872 are included under the topic Early Moorse History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Moorse Spelling Variations

Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Mors, Morse, Mawse and others.

Early Notables of the Moorse family

More information is included under the topic Early Moorse Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Moorse family

An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Moorse: Samuel and Elizabeth Morse settled at Dedham in Massachusetts in 1635; descended was Waldo Grant Morse of Yonkers in New York. Joseph Morse who settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1635.

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X) on Facebook