Recorded in several spelling forms including MacBrearty, McBrearty, McMurty, Murty and Murdy, this is an Irish surname. However spelt in the modern idiom it is believed to originate from the ancient pre 10th century Gaelic 'Mac Muircheartaigh', meaning the son of Murtagh, although little is known about Murtagh except that he was the first chief of the clan around the 14th century. Like many Irish surnames there is considerable confusion in regard to its origin, or even whether the MacBreaty and the MacMurty's are from the same kinship. What is accepted is that both are to be regarded as Ulster surnames, and both are intertwined in the register recordings back to 1659. At this time in the register known as 'Pettys Census' the surnames appear as MacMearty, MacMerty, and MacBrairty, so much for early spelling. To add further to the confusion it seems that in the parish of Glenties some of the MacBrearty clan changed their name to Brady, whilst others especially those called MacMurtie or Murty claim association with the Scottish MacMurdoch's, part of the famous Clan MacDonald. Early examples of the surname recording include Teag McBrairty of Milford, Donegal, in 1659, and later Joe McMurty who left Belfast on the ship 'Wrenham' on June 1st 1847, bound for New York. This was during the infamous 'Potato Famine' 1846 - 1848, which left such a stain upon Ireland.
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