Moriarty History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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."

Early Origins of the Moriarty family

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.

"The name Moriarty is now largely represented in County Kerry, in which county the O'Moriartys were Chiefs in the Barony of Dunkerron." [1]

The fictional Professor James Moriarty in some of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was based on Doyle's discussions with a Scotland Yard inspector and his knowledge of Adam Worth (1844-1902), the German-born American criminal mastermind.

Early History of the Moriarty family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Moriarty research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Moriarty History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Moriarty Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Moriarty family (pre 1700)

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


United States Moriarty migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Boston in 1849
  • James, John, Martin, Maurice, and Michael Moriarty all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860
  • Henry S Moriarty, who arrived in California in 1898 [2]

Canada Moriarty migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Moriarty Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Moriarty, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Margaret Moriarty, aged 31, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Johanah Moriarty, aged 80, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Johannah Moriarty, aged 30, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1837 aboard the barque "Robert Watt" from Cork, Ireland
  • Joanna Moriarty, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1839
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Moriarty migration to Australia +

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

Moriarty Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Johanna Moriarty, aged 17, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin" [3]
  • Johannah Moriarty, aged 17, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849 [3]
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 36, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]
  • Dennis Moriarty, aged 22, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]
  • William Moriarty, aged 17, who arrived in South Australia in 1858 aboard the ship "Nugget" [4]

New Zealand Moriarty 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:

Moriarty Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Edmund Moriarty, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "John Masterman" in 1857
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Howrah" in 1874
  • Thomas Moriarty, aged 30, a labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Mary Moriarty, aged 28, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • Michael Moriarty, aged 8, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Queen of The Age" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Moriarty (post 1700) +

  • Stephen A. Moriarty, American Republican politician, Independent Republican Candidate for U.S. Representative from Minnesota 5th District, 1992 [5]
  • Thomas F. Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956 [5]
  • Paul Moriarty, American politician, Mayor of Washington Township, Gloucester County, New Jersey, 2007 [5]
  • Patrick Moriarty Jr. (1851-1928), American politician, Mayor of Ashland, Kentucky, 1889 [5]
  • Michael H. Moriarty (b. 1859), American Republican politician, Iron County Treasurer, 1901-02; Member of Michigan State Senate 31st District, 1903-12; Defeated, 1912; Iron County Prosecuting Attorney, 1919-20 [5]
  • Melisa Lynn Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972 [5]
  • May A. Moriarty, American politician, Delegate to Connecticut convention to ratify 21st amendment 12th District, 1933 [5]
  • Matthew M. Moriarty, American politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Manchester, 1910 [5]
  • Leo J. Moriarty, American Democrat politician, Member of Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 1929 ; Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1935 [5]
  • Matthew Moriarty, American politician, Representative from Michigan 18th District, 1974 [5]
  • ... (Another 35 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Jennie  Moriarty (1879-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [6]


  1. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELGIN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Elgin.htm
  4. ^ South Australian Register. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Nugget 1858. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/nugget1858.shtml.
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 25) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance


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