Morrisson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The story of the Morrisson family stretches back through time to the Viking settlers who populated the rugged shores of Scotland in the Medieval era. The name Morrisson was derived from the name Maurice. This comes from the Latin personal name Mauritius, which means dark. Numerous legends exist for the origins of this great Scottish Clan. One old tale holds that the Clan's Norse forbears were shipwrecked off the Isle of Lewis, and saved themselves by clinging to driftwood; hence the Clan Plant badge is driftwood. Another branch claims descent from the O'Muircheasain bards of the outer Hebrides. This latter legend is not inconsistent with a possible shipwreck of the Norsemen, as many of the bardic missionaries from Ireland were of Norse descent. Others claim the Clan is descended from King Somerled, King of the Isles, who died in 1164. Again, this is compatible with history, as Somerled was descended from the Norse Kings of Ireland and gave origin to many of the more notable Scottish Clans.

Early Origins of the Morrisson family

The surname Morrisson was first found in on the Isle of Lewis (Scottish Gaelic: Leòdhas), where the first Clan chiefs once held the hereditary office of Judges or Brieves of Lewis. They also had their stronghold in the Tigh Mor' or 'big house,' which was near Habost in Ness on the extreme northern tip of Lewis. Their claim of descent from King Somerled is also substantiated by their descent through Ceadhain Mac Mhuirich. A Chief of a junior branch of the Donalds, he was descended from Somerled, and through Gillemoire, a brother of Leod (progenitor of the MacLeods) - both were royal princes of the Norse Empire of the Isle of Man and the Hebrides.

Early History of the Morrisson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Morrisson research. Another 176 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1950, 1893, 1961, 1620, 1683, 1660, 1790 and 1852 are included under the topic Early Morrisson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Morrisson Spelling Variations

Standards used to judge the accuracy of spellings and translations did not yet exist in the Middle Ages. Spelling variations in names dating from that era, are thus, an extremely common occurrence. Morrisson has been recorded as Morrison, Morison, Morieson and many more.

Early Notables of the Morrisson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Robert Morison (1620-1683), a Scottish botanist and taxonomist; and Ruaraidh ('Roderick') Morrison; born in 1660, he is remembered as An Clarair Dall, 'the blind harper', and held the highest place of honor for players of the clarsach. His ballads and poetry still survive; the most famous of which is "Oran Mor Mhic Leoid,' which mourns the death of his patron...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Morrisson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Morrisson family to Ireland

Some of the Morrisson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Morrisson migration to the United States +

The New World was far from the oppressive regime of the old country. It was a place where there was more land than people and political and religious freedom were far easier to come by. Many Scots even got the chance to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. In recent years, interest in this heritage has been generated by Clan societies and regular highland games in North America. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Morrisson name:

Morrisson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Morrisson, aged 28, who landed in New York, NY in 1801 [1]

Canada Morrisson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Morrisson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Morrisson, aged 21, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Robert Morrisson, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland

Contemporary Notables of the name Morrisson (post 1700) +

  • Mary Foulke Morrisson (1879-1971), American pioneer in the Women's rights movement and was a prominent member of the Board of Trustees at Connecticut College for 28 years
  • Professor Andrew Morrisson, Scottish Organist and Master of the Choristers at St Andrew's Cathedral, Aberdeen


The Morrisson Motto +

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: Dun eistein
Motto Translation: Castle Eistein.


  1. ^ 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)


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