Murfree History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Many of the oldest Irish surnames were originally in the Gaelic language native to Ireland. The original Gaelic form of the name Murfree is O Murchadha or Mac Murchadha, which are both derived from the word "murchadh," meaning "sea warrior."

Early Origins of the Murfree family

The surname Murfree was first found in County Wexford (Irish: Loch Garman), founded by Vikings as Waesfjord, and located in Southeastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster, where they held a family seat from very early times.

Early History of the Murfree family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murfree research. Another 96 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1127, 1172, 1650, 1716 and 1798 are included under the topic Early Murfree History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murfree Spelling Variations

Many spelling variations of the surname Murfree can be found in the archives. One reason for these variations is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. The different spellings that were found include Murphy, Morchoe, O'Murphy, Murfie, Murfree, Morfie, Morfey and many more.

Early Notables of the Murfree family (pre 1700)

Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Murfree Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Murfree migration to the United States +

Irish families left their homeland in astonishing numbers during the 19th century in search of a better life. Although individual reasons vary, most of these Irish families suffered from extreme poverty, lack of work opportunities, and exorbitant rents in their homeland. Many decided to travel to Australia or North America in the hopes of finding greater opportunities and land. The Irish immigrants that came to North America initially settled on the East Coast, often in major centers such as Boston or New York. But like the many other cultures to settle in North America, the Irish traveled to almost any region they felt held greater promise; as a result, many Irish with gold fever moved all the way out to the Pacific coast. Others before that time left for land along the St. Lawrence River and the Niagara Peninsula, or the Maritimes as United Empire Loyalists, for many Irish did choose to side with the English during the American War of Independence. The earliest wave of Irish migration, however, occurred during the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists has revealed many people bearing the Murfree name:

Murfree Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Arthur Murfree, who landed in Virginia in 1699 [1]

Contemporary Notables of the name Murfree (post 1700) +

  • William Hardy Murfree (1781-1827), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from North Carolina (1813-1817), Member of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1805, son of Hardy Murfree
  • Hardy Murfree (1752-1809), American lieutenant colonel from North Carolina during the American Revolutionary War, eponym of Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Mary Noailles Murfree (1850-1922), American fiction writer of novels and short stories from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who wrote under the pen name Charles Egbert Craddock, great-granddaughter of Colonel Hardy Murfree


The Murfree 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: Fortis et hospitalis
Motto Translation: Brave and hospitable.


  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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