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

Early Origins of the Morriarty family

The surname Morriarty 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 Morriarty family

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

Morriarty Spelling Variations

The recording of names in Ireland in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The standardized literary languages of today were not yet reached. Research into the name Morriarty revealed spelling variations, including Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

Early Notables of the Morriarty family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Morriarty family

The 18th and 19th centuries saw many Irish families immigrate to North America in search of land and opportunities. The largest influx of Irish immigrants to the United States and British North America came during the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine laid waste to their homeland. Hundreds of thousands left the island in an attempt to escape the starvation and disease it brought. Although the arrival of such a large number of destitute Irish was not welcomed by the established population in the United States and what would become known as Canada at the time, these Irish were an essential element to the rapid development of these growing industrial nations. They filled the demand for the cheap labor needed for the work in factories and in the construction of bridges, roads, canals, and railways. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many immigrants bearing the name of Morriarty 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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