Muir History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Muir is an ancient Scottish name that was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. It is a name for someone who lived near a moor, or heath. [1] In Gaelic, Mor means great or big; therefore, a scribe may have mistaken the adjective Mor as a surname More or Muir. This may explain the occurrence of the surname Muir, or a variant in Northern Scotland.

The name Muir would seem out of place in that region because it holds a meaning of "living by a moor or heath," not the typical landscape of the highlands. Judging by its meaning, Muir is a local name of the south that described the area, in which the original bearer lived or held land. [2]

Early Origins of the Muir family

The surname Muir was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland. Thomas de la More was the executor of the will of Devorguilla de Balliol in 1291. While the first spelling of the name was More, it gradually evolved to Muir which became more popular, and by 1300 the name Muir had become the preferred spelling. Donald, Adam, Renaud, Gilchrist and Simon Muir, all rendered homage on behalf of their Clan to King Edward I of England on his brief conquest of Scotland in 1296.

"Adam de la More and William de la More were jurors on the lands of Lady Elena la Zuche in Conyngham, 1296. Ade More who held lands of Reltone in Rerwickshire, in 1315-1321 may be Adam More or Moire, knight, who witnessed charters by Bruce in 1328-1329. Elizabeth Mere, daughter of Sir Adam Mure of Rowallan, became queen of King Robert 11, 1347. Adam of Mwre was juror on inquest in Kirkwall, 1369. John Mvr of Enerothyll was witness, 1460, and John Mur or Muyr was vicar general of the Predicant Order in Scotland, 1469-1470 ." [2]

Early History of the Muir family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Muir research. Another 178 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1458, 1526, 1541, 1559, 1760, 1700, 1594, 1657, 1887, 1959, 1765, 1798, 1765, 1753, 1787, 1869, 1787, 1800, 1812, 1810, 1812, 1822, 1829, 1740, 1793, 1740, 1771 and are included under the topic Early Muir History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Muir Spelling Variations

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Muir has been spelled Muir, Mure, Moor, Moore, Mure, More, Moorman and many more.

Early Notables of the Muir family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir William Mure (1594-1657), Scottish writer and politician; John Muir, a Sanskrit scholar, and his brother Sir William Muir, who was an Arabic scholar and biographer of Mohammed; and Edwin Muir (1887-1959), a noted poet and critic. Thomas Muir (1765-1798), parliamentary reformer, was born at Glasgow on 24 Aug. 1765, being the only son of Thomas Muir, a flourishing tradesman, who in 1753 published a pamphlet on England's foreign trade. He was educated at Glasgow grammar school and at the university, intending at first to enter the church, but ultimately deciding on the bar...
Another 156 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Muir Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Muir World Ranking

In the United States, the name Muir is the 3,585th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3] However, in Canada, the name Muir is ranked the 827th most popular surname with an estimated 6,487 people with that name. [4] And in Australia, the name Muir is the 330th popular surname with an estimated 10,850 people with that name. [5] New Zealand ranks Muir as 180th with 3,021 people. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Muir as 454th with 14,342 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Muir family to Ireland

Some of the Muir family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Muir migration to the United States +

Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Muir Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Adam Muir, who landed in New Jersey in 1685 [8]
  • George Muir (Moore) who was banished to New Jersey from Scotland in 1685
  • William Muir, who landed in New Jersey in 1685 [8]
Muir Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Muir and his wife and children, who settled in Georgia in 1732
  • James Muir, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1733 [8]
  • John Muir, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1766 [8]
  • Alexander Muir, aged 21, who arrived in Virginia in 1773 [8]
  • Robert Muir, his wife, and children, who settled in New York in 1774
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Muir Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Sophia Muir, who arrived in New York in 1836 [8]
  • Walter Muir, who arrived in Iowa in 1848 [8]
  • Christina Muir, who arrived in Iowa in 1848 [8]
  • Dorothy Muir, who landed in Iowa in 1848 [8]
  • Mary Muir, who landed in Iowa in 1848 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Muir migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Muir Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • James Muir, who landed in Canada in 1820

Australia Muir migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Muir Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Gilbert Muir, Scottish convict who was convicted in Glasgow, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Burrell" on 22nd July 1830, arriving in New South Wales [9]
  • Mr. David Muir, British Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Mr. Thomas Muir, British Convict who was convicted in Edinburgh, Scotland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [10]
  • Marion Muir, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [11]
  • J. Muir, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Camilla" in 1849 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Muir migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Muir Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Muir, aged 31, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Mary Muir, aged 31, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Isabella Muir, aged 11, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Alexander Muir, aged 9, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • Robert Muir, aged 7, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duchess of Argyle" in 1842
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Muir (post 1700) +

  • William W. Muir, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Bay County 1st District, 1916; Farmer-Labor Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 10th District, 1920 [13]
  • William M. Muir, American politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives from Bay County 1st District, 1918 [13]
  • Thomas M. Muir (b. 1879), American politician, Member of New Jersey State House of Assembly from Union County, 1923-49 [13]
  • Robert Muir, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Presidential Elector for Pennsylvania, 1900 [13]
  • Percy F. Muir, American politician, Independent Candidate for New York State Assembly from Queens County 6th District, 1933 [13]
  • Mary L. Muir, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Wyoming, 1940 [13]
  • M. D. Muir, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1908 [13]
  • Larell D. Muir, American politician, Mayor of Murray, Utah, 1978-85; Defeated, 1985 [13]
  • Joseph Z. Muir, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1924 [13]
  • John Muir, American politician, Mayor of Alexandria, Virginia, 1853-54 [13]
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Charles William Muir, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [14]
Hillcrest Coal Mine
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. B Muir, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Matthew Muir, American 2nd Class passenger from Philadephia, Pennsylvania, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [17]
Winter Quarters coal mine
  • Mr. Daniel Lockhart Muir (b. 1885), American mine worker from Richfield, Utah who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [18]
  • Mr. George Wilson Muir (b. 1883), American mine worker from Almy, Wyoming who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [18]
  • Mr. John L. Muir (b. 1852), Scottish mine worker from Lanarkshire residing in Richfield, Utah who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [18]


The Muir 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: Duris non frangor
Motto Translation: I am not disheartened by difficulties.


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 5th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/burrell
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1837
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Fairfield.htm
  12. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CAMILLA 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Camilla.gif
  13. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  14. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  15. ^ List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from http://www.hillcrestminedisaster.com/data/index.php?title=List_Of_Miners
  16. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  18. ^ Miners killed in Winter Quarters (retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from http://www.carbon-utgenweb.com/miners.html


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