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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Murtha family come from? What is the Irish Murtha family crest and coat of arms? When did the Murtha family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Murtha family history?

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 Murtha is O Muircheartaigh, which is derived from the word "muircheartach," which means "navigator."


During the Middle Ages, surname were rarely recorded except by clerks, priests and registrars. As a name was spelt by scribes solely based on how it sounded, one's name could have been recorded many different ways during the life of its bearer. Numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Murtha family name. Variations found include Moriarty, O'Moriarty, Murtagh, Murtag, McMoriarty and many more.

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


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murtha research. Another 239 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1172 and 1714 are included under the topic Early Murtha History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Murtha Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name Murtha:

Murtha Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Barney Murtha, aged 35, landed in New York in 1864
  • Catherine Murtha, aged 20, who landed in America, in 1896

Murtha Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Ellen Murtha, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Julia Murtha, aged 25, who settled in America from Laresboro, Ireland, in 1904
  • Bridget Murtha, aged 20, who emigrated to the United States from Cavan, in 1905
  • Jerome Murtha, who emigrated to America, in 1907
  • Daniel Murtha, aged 24, who settled in America from Castlepollard, Ireland, in 1907


  • John Murtha (b. 1951), Wisconsin politician and legislator
  • John Garvan Murtha (b. 1941), United States federal judge
  • Lydon J. Murtha (b. 1985), American NFL football offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins
  • John Patrick "Jack" Murtha Jr. (1932-2010), American politician from Pennsylvania, eponym of the USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26)
  • Andrew Murtha (b. 1965), Australian short track speed skater


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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  3. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  5. Hickey, D.J. and J.E. Doherty. A New Dictionary of Irish History form 1800 2nd Edition. Dublin: Gil & MacMillian, 2003. Print.
  6. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  7. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Murtha Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Murtha Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 18 December 2013 at 03:10.

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