Despite the fact that the Irish already had developed a system of hereditary surnames
, the Anglo-Norman invaders imported their own naming principles. The Strongbow
invasion marked the first introduction of non-Gaelic elements into Ireland
. One of the most common types of surnames at this time was the patronymic
surname, which was formed from the name of the initial bearer's father.
Often, and especially in the case of French names, this was done through the addition of a diminutive suffix to the given name, such as -ot, -et, -un, -in, or -el. Occasionally, two suffixes were combined to form a double diminutive, as in the combinations of -el-in, -el-ot, -in-ot, and -et-in. Another way of forming patronymic names used by the Strongbownians was the use of the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word fils, and ultimately from the Latin filius,: both mean son. Although this prefix probably originated in Flanders or Normandy, it is now unknown in France and is found only in Ireland. The surname Moore is derived from the personal name More. This name was in turn derived from the Old French word Maur, which came from the Latin word Maurus these both mean a Moor. In 1172, the Anglo/ Norman invasion of Ireland is considered by many to be an act of treason. Nevertheless, the history of this family name Moore has been woven into the tapestry of the chronicles of Ireland since that date.
Researchers have used books by noted historians O'Hart, McLysaght, O'Brien and other Irish chroniclers as well as transcripts from the Book of Kells, the Falaise Rolls, Battel Abbey Rolls, the Wace poem, Irish parish records, and ancient land grants, to compose this history of the name. Their conclusions are that the first record of the name Moore was found in Leicestershire where they were seated 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.
Your name, Moore, occurred in many references, from time to time the surname was spelt Moore, More, Moor, O'More, Moores, Mores, McMore, Moire, Moare, MacMoore, McMoir, Moir, Moors, O'Moore, O'Moire, McMoare, MacMoir, MacMoare and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another, and to have yet another recorded at his wake.
From Spain, the great Milesian King sent his son north to explore the coast. Finding that his son had been murdered in Ireland by the three resident Kings (the Danans), Milesius gathered an army to take his revenge on the Irish. He died before he embarked on the trip. His remaining eight sons conquered Ireland and renamed it the land of the Scoti.
More than a millennium later, in 1172 A.D., Dermott McMurrough, in his fight for the position of Ard Righ, or High King, requested Henry II of England for assistance. Henry of England commanded the Earl of Pembroke, nicknamed Strongbow, to help Dermott in his fight for the crown of Ireland. Strongbow recruited 2000 trained mercenaries of Norman, Welsh or Cornish background from south Wales and sailed for Ireland. The battles were swift and sure, and victory went to the trained soldiers. Strongbow doled out to his army commanders much of the confiscated Irish land in southern Ireland. Ironically, after several centuries, the invaders became as Irish as the native families.
This now Irish family Moore emerged as a distinguished family in Leicester where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated as Lords of the manor and estates in that shire. This distinguished family first evolved in Leicestershire with Sir William de La More was much more known after it arrived during the invasion of Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke in 1172 in Ireland. They established large territories in Munster in southern Ireland displacing many native Irish families. However in the process over the next four centuries in which they became the Earls of Drogheda, the Moores or O'Moores became as staunchly Irish as the Irish themselves. Their seat was at Moore Hall in County Mayo. The Chief of the Clann was known as O'More, Lord of Leix. Meanwhile in England they established important branches at Lincolnshire, Westmoreland, Lancashire, Shropshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire. Notable amongst the family up to this time was Lord of Leix.
The Great Potato Famine in 1845 caused widespread poverty and starvation, and the great exodus from Ireland began. Many joined the armada of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool and Glasgow, all bound for the New World. Some called these small ships the " White Sails," others, more realistically, called them the "Coffin Ships," voyaging across the Atlantic when 25% of the passengers died of cholera, dysentery, typhoid and small pox.
In North America, one of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the sept Moore, of that same family was Miles Moor settled in South Carolina in 1716 and Ann Moore settled in Virginia in 1651. Other early settlers of Virginia to bear this name include Edward 1653; Elizabeth 1637; Hugh 1760; Geoffrey 1653; John 1621; Joseph 1642; Leonard 1619 (before the "Mayflower"; Nicholas 1637; Rebecca 1650; Richard 1639; Thomas 1638; People with the name Moore also arrived at the ports of Boston, Charleston, Maryland, Philadelphia, Savannah, San Francisco, and New York.
In current history, prominent people represent the name,Moore, Thomas Moore (1779-1852) Irish poet; Albert Joseph Moore (1841-1893) English painter; Archibald Lee Wright Moore (1913-) American boxer; Brian Moore (1921-) Br/Can novelist; George Augustus Moore (1852-1933) Irish writer; John Bassett Moore (1860-1947) American lawyer; Marianne Craig Moore (1887-1972) American poet; Stanford Moore (1913-1982) American biochemist; Marianne Moore (1887-1972) American poet; Demi Moore (1962-) American actress; Clayton Moore (1908-) American actor; Dora Mavor Moore (1889-1979) Canadian teacher; Mary Tyler Moore (1937-), American actress; Dick Moores (1909-1986), American cartoonist.
The 1984 edition of the "Report of Distribution of Surnames in the Social Security" ranks the name Moore as 14th most popular surnames in the United States. For further reading, try "The Benjamin Moore Family of Burlington County, New Jersey" by Edmund E. Moore, "The Cary-Estes-Moore Genealogy" by Helen Estes Seltzer.
The Coat of Arms for the family name Moore was:
Green with a gold lion and three gold stars at the top.
The Crest was:
A hand with a sword on which there are three heads.
And the family Motto for this distinguished Irish name was: