Recorded in several spellings including Mairhead, Morehead, Moorehead, Moorhead, and Muirhead, this is a Scottish surname. It is of locational origin from any of the places in southern Scotland named with the northern Medieval English words "muir" meaning "moor", plus "heid", head or end of a valley. These places include Muirhead in the barony of Bothwell, and Mureheid in the diocese of Ross. The surname first appears on record at the end of the 14th Century, (see below). Early recordings include William de Murehede who witnessed a charter of lands of Cranshaw in 1401; Andrew Morheid, assizer at Lanark in 1432; David de Murhed, cleric in Glasgow (1471); Richard Murhede, dean of Glasgow (1491) and Thomas Mureheid or Moirheid, quarryman at Dunkeld (1507). On January 1st 1630 Jeane Morehead, an infant, was christened in St. Swithins London- Stone, and on August 3rd 1641 John Moorehead was christened in St. Anne Blackfriars, London. James Patrick Muirhead (1813 - 1898), educated at Glasgow College was the biographer of James's Watt. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir William Muirhead, which was dated circa 1399, "Records of Lachope", Scotland", during the reign of King Robert 111, of Scotland, 1390 - 1406. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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