Recorded as MacMurray, McMurray, Murray, Murrie, Moray, Merries and Merry, this interesting surname is of Irish, Scottish and Anglo-Saxon origin. It has four possible sources, the first being locational from Moray in North East Scotland. This is thought to be named from the Old Celtic elements meaning "sea", and "settlement". The second source is a development of the Gaelic "MacMuireadhaigh", mraning son of Muireadheach, a personal name derived from "muir", sea. The third source is also Gaelic from "MacGiolla Mhuire", meaning the son of Giolla Mhuire, a personal name meaning "servant of (the virgin) Mary". The fourth source is English and a variant of Merry. This was a medioeval nickname surname for someone of a blithe or cheerful disposition and ultimately from the Olde English pre 7th century word "myrige", meaning pleasant. The sound represented by the Olde English "y" developed in various ways in the different dialects of Middle English, such as "u" in the West and Central Midlands. The Scottish family of Murray can be traced to a Flemish settler, Hugh Freskin, who in 1130 obtained extensive grants of land in Morayshire from which the name was taken. Lord George Murray famous for his part in the 1745 uprising, came from this family. Had he been left in command of the Scottish army, he may well have won the battle of Culloden, and thereby changed the whole face of Scottish and British history.The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Moravia. This was dated 1203, when he was a witness at the abbey of Holyrood, Scotland, during the reign of King William, the Lyon, of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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