Recorded as Morshead, Moorhead, Morehead, and possibly others, this is a name chiefly to be found in Ulster, Northern Ireland. It is a dialectal of the Scottish locational surname 'Muirhead', which originates from any of the several places in Scotland so called. Research suggests that most nameholders originated from Muirhead in the barony of Bothwell, near Glasgow. The place name derives from the word "muir", a variant of "moor", and "heid", the head or end (of the moor). The surname was first recorded towards the end of the 14th Century, (see below) and early recordings include William de Murehede, who witnessed a charter of the lands of Cranshaws in 1401, and David de Murehead, cleric in the diocese of Glasgow, who appears on record in 1471. The Irish nameholders formed part of the 'Plantation of Ireland' from the time of King James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland (1587 - 1625). Examples of the Irish recordings include Nathaniell Morehead, who was christened at the church of St. John the Evangelist, Dublin, on April 13th 1655, whilst on November 1st 1694, Jane Moorhead and William Knight were married at Clones, County Monaghan. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir William Muirhead, which was dated Circa 1399 - in the "Records of Lachope", Scotland, during the reign of King Robert III of Scotland, 1390 - 1406. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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