Morriarity 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 Morriarity is O Muircheartaigh, which is derived from the word "muircheartach," which means "navigator."

Early Origins of the Morriarity family

The surname Morriarity 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 Morriarity family

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

Morriarity Spelling Variations

The scribes who created documents long before either the Gaelic or English language resembled their standardized versions of today recorded words as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages the names of many people were recorded under different spellings each time they were written down. Research on the Morriarity family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

Early Notables of the Morriarity family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Morriarity family

A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Morriarity or one of its variants: Daniel, Ellen, Eugene, Margaret, Michael, Thomas Moriarty, who all settled in Boston in 1849; James, John, Martin, Maurice, and Michael Moriarty all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..



  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


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