Show ContentsMurtag History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Murtag is O Muircheartaigh, which is derived from the word "muircheartach," which means "navigator."

Early Origins of the Murtag family

The surname Murtag was first found in County Kerry (Irish:Ciarraí) part of the former County Desmond (14th-17th centuries), located in Southwestern Ireland, in Munster province.

"The name Moriarty is now largely represented in County Kerry, in which county the O'Moriartys were Chiefs in the Barony of Dunkerron." [1]

The fictional Professor James Moriarty in some of the Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was based on Doyle's discussions with a Scotland Yard inspector and his knowledge of Adam Worth (1844-1902), the German-born American criminal mastermind.

Early History of the Murtag family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murtag research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Murtag History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murtag Spelling Variations

Scribes recorded people's names as they saw fit. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For Murtag some of these variations included: Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

Early Notables of the Murtag family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Murtag family

In the 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Irish people immigrated to North American shores. The early settlers were enticed by the promise of their own land, but they were moderately well off in Ireland when they decided to emigrate. Therefore, they were merely carrying out a long and carefully thought out decision. The 1840s saw the emergence of a very different trend: thousands of extremely desperate people crammed into passenger boats hoping to find any type of opportunity. The Irish of this decade had seen their homeland severely stricken by crop failures which resulted in widespread disease and starvation. At whatever time the Irish immigrants came to North America, they were instrumental in the rapid development of the emerging nations of the United States and what would become known as Canada. An exhaustive search of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many persons bearing the name Murtag, or one of its variants: Daniel, Ellen, Eugene, Margaret, Michael, Thomas Moriarty, who all settled in Boston in 1849; James, John, Martin, Maurice, and Michael Moriarty all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860..



  1. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print


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