According to the records of Ireland, this very interesting and rare surname, is of ancient Gaelic origins. It is recorded in that country in several spellings which include MacMoyer, McMoyer, Moyer, Moyers, and sometimes Moore. It would seem to originate from the pre 10th century 'Mac an Mhaoir' meaning the son of the mhair or steward. In those far off times 'steward' was a status description not for a domestic servant, but for somebody of serious and wide ranging responsibilities. This included the management of estates or in Scotland, - the whole country! Indeed the famous Stuart royal family of Scotland and later England from 1603 to 1714, derive their surname from being the hereditary stewards of Scotland. It is said that in Ireland the surname first arose in the County of Armagh where it is sometimes confused with O' Moy or Moy, from County Donegal. However Moy is the name of a river, and as far as is known, the two surnames have no direct connection. Outside of Ireland and particularly in North America, there is also a possiblity that it could be another spelling of the ancient surname Meyer, Mayor or Mayer. This is of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century origins, and has the similar meaning of 'mayor' or chief, not so different from the original meaning of steward. The earliest recording we have, and one of the earliest of Irish church records, is that of Alice Moyer. She married a John Teare at St Michan's Cathedral, Dublin, on June 9th 1685. Almost two centuries later in the records of Irish Immigrants who fled the Great Famine of 1846 - 1851 is that of two Moyer's, both called Elizabeth and who travelled together. The first was aged fifty five, and the other twenty four and they were probably mother and daughter. They sailed from Belast Lough on the ship Adam-Lodge of Liverpool, to New York on June 2nd 1847.
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