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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


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

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.


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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)
  • John F. Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972
  • Judith K. Moriarty (b. 1942), American Democrat politician, Secretary of State of Missouri, 1993-94
  • Kevin P. Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Kansas, 1996
  • Leo F. Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Delegate to Michigan State Constitutional Convention from 1st Senatorial District, 1961

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  1. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  2. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  3. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  7. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  8. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland 3rd Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1978. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2278-0).
  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 6 February 2016 at 08:59.

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