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Clan Murdoch


MURDOCH: As a surname its origins are at once simple and complex, for the present name may derive from either of two popular fore-names,'Muireach'and'Murchadh', both known in Scotland from time immemorial. Thus, those who now bear the surname in any of its modern guises may have descended from any of the many thousands who used them as forenames. The etymology of both old forms seem to denote an association with the sea and indeed those who appeared in the Doomesday Book as landowners in Yorkshire, Sussex and Oxfordshire are thought to have been of Norse or Gaelic extraction. In the lands of the former great sea-kingdoms of the west coast the name was particularly common, and gave rise to such additional forms as Murchie, Murchison and MacMurchie - in some cases Murphy was also included as a derivative. Here also dwelt the MacMhuirrichs (MacVurichs), hereditary bards to the Lords of the Isles, many of whom later anglicised their name to Currie. In Badenoch, the Clan Mhuireach, better known to modern history as MacPhersons, trace descent from Muriach, an ancient chief of Clan Chattan, prior to the Mackintosh inheritance. The ancient lands of that clan however were not in Badenoch, but in Lochaber, where tradition persists that the Chattan kindred had origin within the lands of the sea-kingdoms earlier mentioned. Thus, a link with the sea persists, and 'Murdo' remains a common forename in the Western Isles and the adjacent Mainland. As Murdoch, the name became established throughout the Mainland, but its origins were undoubtedly in the west and north. Although traditional links are justly given with Macdonald and MacPherson (Clan Chattan), many would equally have had affiliation with other kindreds within whose lands they dwelt. To establish where a Murdoch of today should place his clan loyalty, genealogical or geographical evidence would be required. If affiliation can be shown, then emblems of kinship of that clan, (Crest Badge, Motto and Tartan etc.) may be used. However, the strongest ties are with MacDonald which is why the TARTAN, CREST and MOTTO are illustrated here. William Murdock (1754-1839), the originator of gas lighting, has his name perpetuated in the "restricted" corporate tartan used by Scottish Gas.


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