Last name: Morris

This famous surname is popular in all the counties of the British Isles. It is however arguably French, and as such derives from the personal name "Maurice", itself from the Latin word "maurus" meaning moorish, or dark and swarthy. Introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, the name was first recorded in England in 1176 when Mauricius de Edligtona appears in the documents of the Danelaw, for the city of London. The surname dates back to the end of the12th century (see below), and further recordings include: John Morice (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire; Simon Morys (1296) in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and Robert Morisse (1308) in the Chartulary of the Priory of St. Thomas, the Martyr, near Stafford, Staffordshire. Early London church registers include exasmples such as the christening of William Morris, the son of John Morris, on August 15th 1563, at St. Andrews Undershaft, and the christening of Sara, the daughter of Robart Morris, on June 21st 1590, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. Davie Morris, aged 18 years, was an early emigrant to the New World. He embarked from London on the ship "Truelove" bound for the Bermudas, in June 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jasce Mauricii. This was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2014

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll
Share |

MorrisDescendentPatricia

Hello Holly, Re "dark and swarthy", we have those in our English family (of Irish descent) too. Often wondered where they came from. Great to know. Patricia

Phillip R. Morris
Hello, I just started looking into my fathers name (Phillip Dale Morris) he was born around Roswell, NM in the early 1950's. My father wasn't close to his family so I don't have much info to go on, just wondering if anyone of the Morris's here any have additional information.

William Patrick Allen
Want more about welsh Morris's,please.

Holly Morris Johnson
I am a Morris (married now so I am a Johnson too I guess). My father is Phillip Morris and his father is Charles D. Morris (from upstate NY). My grandfather's father ended up in Canada as an indentured servant when he was a tween after his parents (John Morris and Mary Ann Cripps) both died in England just outside of London. He and his brother were willed to an orphanage and I have no idea why since both sides of the family had relatives in the area. Their sons, my G-grandfather Charles E. Morris and his brother David Morris, were separated and never saw each other alive again.

My grandfather's family ended up in New York and I have been told we still have family there. My father grew up in Cali (near LA) and I still have family down there. I have two brothers who are carrying on the Morris name and they are in WA state. I thought it interesting that Morris can mean 'dark and swarthy" because those of us that look like the Morris side are just that.

MorrisDescendentPatricia

Hello Holly, Re "dark and swarthy", we have those in our English family (of Irish descent) too. Often wondered where they came from. Great to know. Patricia

Mario Morris G.
Morris Clan from Ireland and Wales through my maternal grandfather Hugh R. Morris, son of Joseph Morris. Ontario, Canada

Jasmine
My great grandfather whose name I am not sure of moved to Canada from Ireland. He was a Morris as am I. Unfortunately I'm the last person in my family to have the Morris name. It's so nice learning about family background.

Mario Morris G.
Jasmine, Strange, my great grandfather was of Ireland and Wales, and moved to Canada from Wales with his mother in his youth. Unfortunately my Grandfather had two daughters and no sons. I am the last of my house to bear the namesake in some way.

John
I am a Morris. My grandfather has traced back our family tree into the 1700s. I have found out through him that we are related to Robert Morris, who signed the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution. He was a very influential man during this time. I have been wanting to try and trace back my family farther than that.

Jon Adam Morris
Where do you live? I am of the same Morris lineage, tracing further to the Morris' of Morristown NJ and those who arrived on the Mayflower settling later in the Amsterdam, NY area (all the same direct line). I currently reside in southeastern Pa and we have family in Georgia.

thomas penney
my mother was a morris from scotland she married my father during the second world war then cace to live in newfoundland canada she had 2 boys bill and me tom i am the only one remaining of the family would like to fend out something about my family in scotland mom s father was John she had 3 brothers john joseph and bill her sisters wer margeret catty sadie easter bett and agnes if anyone can help me pleas feel fre to email me

JudyS
Mary Lou, I am in New York State. My grandfather was a MORRIS who immigrated from Dunfermline .... came from a long line of linen weavers and descended from the MELDRUM weaving family. Now, I am wondering why I received a "thumbs down" on my post! LOL

mary lou oxley
aha. actually the scots were celtic too. celtic is a language group rather than a landed group. the celts settled in the whole british islands. so the welsh, the scottish, and the irish were for the most part celts until the romans came in and the norse. but even some of the romans were more celtic than italian because the celts had gone thru and settled in parts of italy before rome was officially an empire. the celts defeated a very infant rome. it appears that the morris clan travelled into the british isles early on and mingled with the celtic tribes, if in fact they were not a part of them. and then they moved into scotland and then over to ireland as well. but considering that it has been found that the begining of all started with the dna of a woman in africa, who knows. I count myself as welsh on the morris side. irish on the dyer side, anglo saxon on my maternal two branches. Judy, where do you live? I am in the states and have traced back to the 1400s. LOL to T Morris. it is amazing what you can find when you start putting pieces together. btw, the branch of morris that seems to be mine comes from Charles Morris, son of Anthony Morris born in 1530 in glamorgan wales

T Morris
Quite interesting. For your amusement, my surname is Norman. I married a Morris. I am a Norman-Morris living in the United States.

JudyS
Let's throw my MORRIS into the mix from Scotland! I have traced that lineage back to the early 1600's so far. Interesting theories!

mary Lou
the moors came over way before William the conqueror . they moved and became blended in with the welsh and the irish. they most likely immigrated in with the romans and early people. perhaps even moved in with the celts. we have to remember that celtic is an indo european race. they moved from that area thru rome and then up into the area of britian, ireland and scotland. that is why Celtic is not just one place but can be found in many. the morris's felt that they were welsh and irish. some celts may have stayed in France. therefor the spelling differences. But Morris was a clan name in Wales. and therefore can be called welsh. They often moved back and forth from Ireland and wales to avoid the english which adopted welsh cities when they were doing well and then abandoned them and made they wales when they were in need of help. if you explore the cities of Herefordshire and others you can see that it goes back and forth alot. all because of the english. the welsh were closer to their traditions and their legends then the english. King Arthur and Merlin and the Lady of the Lake and Morgaine were from wales. French to me is not cooler. the olden ways of the welsh and the irish is much more cooler to me but to each his own. France is a very christian country and I prefer the ones with the older beliefs. just me.

Charlotte
I'm confused. Other sites say it's Irish origin although I have to admit French sounds cooler!

Cherys
Surely this discussion shows the name can have a variety of sources. Because they all sound alike, the spellings of the different meanings have, over time, become standardised. This doesn't mean they have a single root. There seems little point in trying to pin down a single, sole root, when several different ones are more likely.

greg
hey threr my last name means moorish or dark and swarthy

annakay
do all person name morris is family?

Ms Morris
I'm a very-confused Morris who is starting on a quest to discover my heritage - i'm completely lost now!

miss morris
my last name is morris, im british, irish, scottish, greek, and ojibway indian and this helped me alot with my school project

Jimbob
De Se Maurice is a Swiss/German region of pre-crusade red-heads, not moors(See Tuetonic knights), who then moved through France towards Brittany arriving in the UK sometime after 1066. This would have them joining up with the Morris's that had arrived with the Cymru about 1000 years earlier. Therefore the meaning could be 'leader of the sea'. The Welsh have been made up of two tribes(dark haired Basques and red haired Swiss, hazel eyes and not been moorish for at least 35,000 years so it is unlikely it is taken from either route, however the old celtic being closer than the latin who used Celts to talk to the Cymru.

steven
i think kwikki is correct, in recent history names and the movement of them is unprecedented because of mass immigration, but there has always been a large concentration of Morris's in Wales

anonymous
you should do some research on the moors who were black people thats why alot of scottish, irish and welsh people have dark complexions & hair

Sandy
Yes that is true. The Moors also came into France which is why my husband was French but very dark and had black curly hair. His French name was Mars.

Molly Morris
My last name is Morris. My grandmother, Mary Kate Lewis Morris supposedly settled on Mission Hill in Boston MA around 1900 when my father, George Lewis Morris was born. She was from County Galway Ireland. We are told her husband's name was Nicholas, but not positive of this. All of my family is deceased now, and I long to know more about my ancestors.

Tony Morris
I am located in Central Victoria, Australia and have a relative named Samuel Morris who ran a general store in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. I understand that he emigrated in the 1850's from Guildford in the United Kingdom. I also understand that there are many 'sandy haired' Scots with the Morris surname along the northeast coast of Scotland.

Joanne morris
Wow, i can see we morris's have gone everywhere!!! My morris side as far as i know came from kilkenny in ireland over to manchester in arou d the 1880's. my dad ( gerald morris) said his grandfather had come over from kilkenny when he was young. I would love to find out more! There is a "morriscastle" beach near to gorey in wexford. Anyone out there know anyhing about it? ( fab beach as well ;-)

Tomi Sapp
My grandmother was Irene Morris, 10 children in her family from the Anthony Morris of PA line. What has been handed down in stories is a relationship also to Robert Morris signer of the declaration. 2 Anthony's were mayors of Philadelphia. Still don't know about Robert Morris link, but families don't usually pass along those stories if they are not true. So, does anyone know if the Anthony's of Philadephia were related to Robert Morris. Definitively? I see hints that someone thinks they are not, but no proof one way or another. I have found my name in the geneological papers in the 13th generation, I think. My grandmother would have been in the 11th.

Morris
There's an awful lot of nonsense on here. There is no Welsh Morris clan, the surname is a patronimic one like Jones, Williams, etc.. I am a Morris from Wales, but that does not mean that I am related to all other Morrises here at all.

Charles William Morris.
A fair bit of ranting here, almost impossible to trace origins of a name like Morris. Best proved belief is them arriving in 1066 as Normans, then spreading across Britain with the Norman invasion. My family tree tells me my branch are from Hertfordshire, Barnet to be exact, good luck to you all.