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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Moriarty family come from? What is the Irish Moriarty family crest and coat of arms? When did the Moriarty family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Moriarty family history?

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Moriarty is O Muircheartaigh, which is derived from the word "muircheartach," which means "navigator."

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One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname Moriarty were found in the many archives researched. These included Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

First found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moriarty research. Another 239 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Moriarty History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Moriarty Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine caused a great exodus of immigrants to North America. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name Moriarty or one of its variants:

Moriarty Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Daniel, Ellen, Eugene, Margaret, Michael, and Thomas Moriarty, who all settled in Boston in 1849
  • James, John, Martin, Maurice, and Michael Moriarty all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Henry S Moriarty, who arrived in California in 1898

Moriarty Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John Moriarty, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork
  • Margaret Moriarty, aged 31, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork
  • Johanah Moriarty, aged 80, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork
  • Johannah Moriarty, aged 30, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork
  • Joanna Moriarty, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1839


Moriarty Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Johanna Moriarty, aged 17, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Johannah Moriarty, aged 17, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 36, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget"
  • Dennis Moriarty, aged 22, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget"
  • William Moriarty, aged 17, arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget"

Moriarty Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Edmund Moriarty arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Thomas Moriarty, aged 30, a labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Mary Moriarty, aged 28, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 8, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874


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  • Robert J. Moriarty, American former Marine F-4B fighter pilot who recorded over 824 missions in combat
  • Patrick Moriarty Jr. (1851-1928), American politician, Mayor of Ashland, Kentucky (1889)
  • Judith K. "Judi" Moriarty (b. 1942), American politician, the first woman to serve as Missouri Secretary of State (1993-1994)
  • James F. Moriarty, American diplomat and career foreign service officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor, U.S. Ambassador to Nepal, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh (2008 to 2011)
  • George Joseph Moriarty (1884-1964), American Major League Baseball third baseman, umpire and manager from 1903 to 1940
  • Brendan Moriarty (b. 1989), American film director and producer, known for his work in The Road to Freedom (2011)
  • Cathy Moriarty (b. 1960), Academy Award nominated American actress
  • Michael Moriarty (b. 1941), Tony-winning and Emmy-winning American actor
  • John Moriarty (b. 1930), American conductor and stage director
  • Colm Moriarty (b. 1979), Irish professional golfer

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  1. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  2. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  5. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  6. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...

The Moriarty Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Moriarty Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 30 June 2015 at 10:21.

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