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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Morrissey family come from? What is the Irish Morrissey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Morrissey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Morrissey family history?

The Irish name Morrissey has a long Gaelic heritage to its credit. The original Gaelic form of the name Morrissey is O Muirgheasa, which is derived from the words muir, meaning sea, and geas, meaning action.

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Within the archives researched, many different spelling variations of the surname Morrissey were found. These included One reason for the many variations is that scribes and church officials often spelled an individual's name as it sounded. This imprecise method often led to many versions. Morrissey, O'Morrissey and others.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morrissey research. Another 371 words(26 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morrissey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Morrissey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A massive amount of Ireland's native population left the island in the 19th century for North America and Australia in hopes of finding more opportunities and an escape from discrimination and oppression. A great portion of these migrants arrived on the eastern shores of the North American continent. Although they were generally poor and destitute, and, therefore, again discriminated against, these Irish people were heartily welcomed for the hard labor involved in the construction of railroads, canals, roadways, and buildings. Many others were put to work in the newly established factories or agricultural projects that were so essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest nations in the world. The Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s initiated the largest wave of Iris immigration. Early North American immigration and passenger lists have revealed a number of people bearing the name Morrissey or a variant listed above:

Morrissey Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Richard and William Morrissey settled in Boston in 1823
  • John and James Morrissey arrived in Philadelphia in 1848
  • Roger Morrissey, aged 37, landed in New York, NY in 1848
  • Thomas Morrissey, aged 37, arrived in New York, NY in 1848
  • John Morrissey, aged 40, landed in New York, NY in 1848

Morrissey Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Peter Morrissey, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1817
  • Allis Morrissey, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • John Morrissey and Hannah with their six children settled in Quebec in 1848

Morrissey Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Michael Morrissey, aged 39, a blacksmith, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "John Bunyan"
  • Johanna Morrissey, aged 22, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "James Fernie"
  • David Morrissey, aged 28, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "David Malcolm"
  • Patrick Morrissey, aged 27, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "David Malcolm"
  • Anne Morrissey, aged 19, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"


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  • Paul Morrissey (b. 1938), American film director
  • Bill Morrissey (b. 1951), American folk singer/songwriter
  • Francis Joseph Morrissey (1899-1968), American football player and coach
  • Jim Morrissey (b. 1962), former American NFL football linebacker
  • Brigadier-General William Joseph Morrissey (1888-1965), American Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, War Department General Staff (1942-1946)
  • John "Old Smoke" Morrissey (1831-1878), Irish-born, bare-knuckle boxer and a gang member in New York in the 1850s who later became a Democratic State Senator and U.S. Congressman from New York
  • Sinéad Morrissey (b. 1972), Northrn Irish poet
  • Steven Patrick Morrissey (b. 1959), lyricist and lead singer of the band The Smiths from 1984 until 1987, later becoming a solo artist
  • David Morrissey (b. 1964), English actor and film director
  • Neil Morrissey (b. 1962), English actor, best known for his role as Tony in Men Behaving Badly

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Si Deus nobiscum qui contra nos
Motto Translation: If God be with us, who can be against us.

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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. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
  3. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. 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).
  6. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  8. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  9. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  11. ...

The Morrissey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Morrissey 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 9 December 2014 at 19:21.

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