Show ContentsWorthy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Worthy family come from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada. The family name comes from the personal name Murdo. The Gaelic form of the surname was Mac Mhurchaidh, meaning son of Murdo. The name Murdo is equivalent to Murdock, and means sea warrior.

Early Origins of the Worthy family

The surname Worthy was first found in south Uist, in the Outer Hebrides (Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Siar), in the present day Council Area of Western Isles, a region controlled by the Norwegians prior to the Treaty of Perth in 1266, 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 Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Early History of the Worthy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Worthy research. Another 102 words (7 lines of text) covering the year 1506 is included under the topic Early Worthy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Worthy Spelling Variations

Historical recordings of the name Worthy include many spelling variations. They are the result of repeated translations of the name from Gaelic to English and inconsistencies in spelling rules. They include MacMurchie, MacMurchy, MacUrchie, MacWurchie, MacWorthy, MacVurchie, Murchie and many more.

Early Notables of the Worthy family (pre 1700)

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

Worthy Ranking

In the United States, the name Worthy is the 3,135th most popular surname with an estimated 9,948 people with that name. [1]

United States Worthy migration to the United States +

Dalriadan families proliferated in North America. Their descendants still populate many communities in the eastern parts of both the United States and Canada. Some settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists, in the wake of the American War of Independence. Families on both sides of the border have recovered much of their heritage in the 20th century through Clan societies and highland games. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Worthy or a variant listed above:

Worthy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Damaris Worthy, who settled in Virginia in 1663
  • Dammaris Worthy, who landed in Virginia in 1664 [2]
Worthy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Worthy, who settled in New York in 1794
Worthy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • George Worthy, who arrived in New York in 1831 [2]

Canada Worthy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Worthy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • L. C. Worthy, who settled in Prince Edward Island in 1809

New Zealand Worthy 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:

Worthy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Worthy, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1871

Contemporary Notables of the name Worthy (post 1700) +

  • William Worthy Jr. (b. 1921), American journalist and civil rights activist
  • Jerel Worthy (b. 1990), American NFL football defensive end for the Green Bay Packers
  • James Ager Worthy (b. 1961), retired Hall of Fame American college and professional basketball player
  • Rick Worthy (b. 1967), American actor
  • Christopher John "Chris" Worthy (1947-2007), retired Canadian professional ice hockey player
  • Calum Worthy (b. 1991), Canadian actor, singer and musician from Victoria, British Columbia
  • Trevor H. Worthy (b. 1957), New Zealand paleozoologist
  • Dave Worthy (1934-2004), Canadian politician, Member of the Canadian House of Commons (1988-1993)
  • Colonel John Worthy Chaplin (1840-1920), English recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Worthy L. Churchill, American Democratic Party politician, Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1892; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 10th District, 1894 [3]

The Worthy 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: Per mare per terras
Motto Translation: By sea and by land.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from on Facebook