Murdoch History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Originally, Murdoch was a nickname for a person associated with the sea. The name Murdoch derives from one of two Gaelic names which have become indistinguishable from each other. The first of these, Muireach, means belonging to the sea or a mariner. The second name is Murchadh, which means sea warrior.

Early Origins of the Murdoch family

The surname Murdoch was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Murdoch family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murdoch research. Another 142 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1175, 1214, 1296, and 1420 are included under the topic Early Murdoch History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murdoch Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Murdoch has appeared in various documents spelled Murdock, Murdoch, Murtoch, Murtough and others.

Early Notables of the Murdoch family (pre 1700)

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

Ireland Migration of the Murdoch family to Ireland

Some of the Murdoch family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 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 Murdoch migration to the United States +

Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Murdoch, or a variant listed above:

Murdoch Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Murdoch, who settled in New England in 1718
  • Robert Murdoch, who settled in New Hampshire in 1718
  • John Murdoch, who settled in North Carolina in 1774
  • John Murdoch, aged 17, who arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774 [1]
  • Archibald Murdoch, aged 17, who landed in New York, NY in 1774 [1]
Murdoch Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Sarah Murdoch, who landed in America in 1805 [1]
  • Thomas Murdoch, aged 8, who arrived in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1805 [1]
  • Thomas Murdoch, who landed in America in 1805 [1]
  • Margaret Murdoch, aged 10, who landed in New Castle or Philadelphia in 1805 [1]
  • Alexander Murdoch, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Murdoch migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Murdoch Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • William Murdoch, aged 22, a weaver, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Eweretta" in 1833

Australia Murdoch migration to Australia +

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

Murdoch Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Murdoch, a weaver, who arrived in New South Wales, Australia sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • George Murdoch, a carpenter, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • John Murdoch, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [2]
  • Margaret Murdoch, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [2]
  • Andrew Murdoch, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Indus" in 1839 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Murdoch 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:

Murdoch Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. R. Murdoch, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [3]
  • Mrs. Murdoch, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [3]
  • Mr. John Murdoch, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Derwent Water" arriving in Lyttelton, Canterbury, New Zealand on 26th November 1861 [4]
  • Mr. James Murdoch, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 5th October 1861 [3]
  • Mr. John Murdoch, Scottish settler travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Robert Henderson" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 5th October 1861 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Murdoch (post 1700) +

  • Dame Jean Iris Murdoch DBE (1919-1999), Irish novelist and philosopher, best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious including her first published novel, Under the Net, which was selected in 1998 as one of Modern Library's 100 best English- language novels of the 20th century
  • W. Crawford Murdoch, American Republican politician, Member of Pennsylvania State Senate 44th District, 1919-22 [5]
  • John J. Murdoch (b. 1847), American Republican politician, Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Huron County, 1899-1902 [5]
  • John Murdoch, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Montana, 2008 [5]
  • Allen C. Murdoch, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Parkersburg, West Virginia, 1929, 1934 [5]
  • Alexander Murdoch, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1860 [5]
  • Rupert Murdoch AC KSG (b. 1931), Australian-born, American media magnate and the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corporation
  • William Murdoch (1754-1839), Scottish engineer and inventor who built a prototype steam locomotive in 1784, recipient of the Rumford Medal
  • Stewart Murdoch (b. 1990), Scottish professional football player from Aberdeen
  • James Murdoch (1856-1921), Scottish scholar and journalist
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMAS Sydney II
RMS Lusitania
  • Miss Jessie Murdoch, American 2nd Class passenger from Westbury, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [7]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William John Murdoch (d. 1912), aged 33, Scottish Senior Sixth Engineer from Stirling, Scotland who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]
  • William McMaster Murdoch (1873-1912), Scottish first Officer on the RMS Titanic and in charge on the bridge the night when the Titanic collided with an iceberg [8]


The Murdoch 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: Omine secundo
Motto Translation: With favourable omen.


  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)
  2. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) INDUS 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Indus.htm
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  7. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  8. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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