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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: French, Welsh

The Morice surname comes from an Old French personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans. The Latin version was Mauritius. It is also thought that the name may have been taken on as a nickname for a Moor, or someone of a dark complexion, who was not actually a Moor.


The surname Morice was first found in Herefordshire, where tradition, according to the historian Ormerod, finds the family name to be descended from Athelstan Glodrydd, Godson of Athelstan, the King of England who founded the four Royal tribes of Wales, and on his mother's side descended from Caradoc Vriechfras, Lord of Hereford, one of the knights of the Round Table. Descended was Hoedliw Goch ap Rhys, Gwrgenau ap Hoedliw Goch, Grono ap Gwrgenau, Griffith ap Grono, Madoc ap Griffith, Howel ap Madoc, Phillip Dorddu ap Howel, Cadwgan second son of Phillip and so on, to Morys ap Morgan. Descended was Evan Maurice who was the youngest son of Maurice ap Morgan who migrated to Kent, his son Sir William Maurice acquired the estates of the village of Chuston in West Putford.

Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Morice have included Maurice, Morrice, Morice, Morys and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morice research. Another 207 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1279, 1379, 1552, 1622, 1593, 1597, 1604, 1611, 1582, 1591, 1626, 1702, 1666, 1634, 1682, 1647, 1691, 1628, 1690, 1602, 1676, 1660 and 1668 are included under the topic Early Morice History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Sir William Maurice (1552-1622), Welsh politician, Member of Parliament for Carnarvonshire (1593-1597) and (1604-1611), High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire (1582) and High Sheriff of Merionethshire (1591); David Maurice (1626-1702), a Welsh Anglican priest and translator, Canon of St Asaph in 1666; Henry...

Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morice Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Morice family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Many Welsh joined the great migrations to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like their Scottish and Irish neighbors, many Welsh families left their homeland hoping to find hope and prosperity in a land that the English did not exercise a tight rule over. Those Welsh immigrants that successfully traveled to North America went on to make significant contributions to the rapid development of both Canada and the United States in terms of the settling of land and the establishment of industry. They also added to the rich cultural heritage of both countries. An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Morice:

Morice Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Morice landed in America in 1654

Morice Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Philip Morice, who landed in Virginia in 1711
  • Marguerite Morice, who arrived in Louisiana in 1719

Morice Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Morice, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850

  • H. Morice, American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Swansea, 1862-66
  • Professor Peter Beaumont Morice,
  • Tara Morice, Australian actress, singer, and dancer
  • Sir William Morice (1628-1690), 1st Baronet, English royalist statesman

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    Other References

    1. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    3. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    4. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
    5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
    6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    7. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    9. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    10. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
    11. ...

    The Morice Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Morice 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 25 January 2016 at 14:24.

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