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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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.


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.

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.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Worthy research. Another 237 words (17 lines of text) covering the year 1506 is included under the topic Early Worthy History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


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

Worthy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Worthy, who came to New York in 1794

Worthy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Worthy, who settled in New York in 1831
  • George Worthy, who arrived in New York in 1831

Worthy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • L. C. Worthy, who settled in Prince Edward Island in 1809

Worthy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Worthy arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "City of Auckland" in 1871


  • Jerel Worthy (b. 1990), American NFL football defensive end for the Green Bay Packers
  • William Worthy Jr. (b. 1921), African-American journalist and civil rights activist
  • 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)


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.


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  3. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  4. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
  6. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  7. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Worthy Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Worthy 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 26 March 2015 at 02:18.

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