Moon Surname Meaning, History & Origin
corruption of the place-name Mohun near St. Lo in Normandy. William de Mohun came over with William the
Conqueror in 1066 and was granted large estates in Somerset. It has also been argued that the name,
although brought over by the Normans, had
Danish origins. Mohun
became Moone and then Moon.
founder of the Unification Church. His
followers are often called Moonies.
Moon Resources on
- Origin of the Name Moon
Moon origins from various sources.
- Moon of Liskeard Moons in
- The Moons and Kindred Families
Moons in England and America.
- The Mystery of Henry Moon
Moons in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania.
The Norman de Mohun family was initially
established at Dunster in Somerset.
They remained there until the last of
line died in 1376. By that time the name
had spread elsewhere in SW England. The
spellings were up to Elizabethan times, and in some cases beyond, Mohun
There was an early Moone or Moon
line at Ash in Devon. Thomas
Moon, Sir Francis Drake’s best captain, was born in Bristol
line – that of Fleet House in Dorset – began at Ottery St. Mary in
1516 (and possibly there earlier) and prospered later in the 1500’s
Richard Moone and his son Robert.
Richard Moone died around the year 1548, it was said that his younger
Robert suppressed evidence of a will while his elder son was abroad. Whether a valid will existed or not, the two
brothers fell out over the inheritance and their respective families
sides in the ensuing litigation which continued for several
Inside the chancel of the old church at Fleet
is a brass plaque commemorating the lives of Robert and Margaret Mohun. Behind Robert are nine sons, behind Margaret
Moone burial records began at Liskeard in Cornwall in
1605. The will of George Moone, brother of
Theophilus, was recorded there in 1696. John
Moone or Moon married Elizabeth Rundle in 1700; while a later
married Honour Hawkey in 1754.
There may have been Moon history in SW England.
But there have been more Moon numbers
elsewhere, primarily in Lancashire and SE England.
Lancashire. The Moon
name in Lancashire has been concentrated around Preston and nearby
as Eccleston and Chorley, although there were some departures from
- a Moon family had made their home in this area
at Woodplumpton in the 1570’s. A century
or so later John Moon was persecuted for his Quaker faith and left for
Pennsylvania in the 1680’s.
- then Henry
Moon of Eccleston – who could trace his ancestry there back eleven
generations to Robert Moon who was born in 1610 – converted to
Mormonism in 1837. Three years later he
departed for Nauvoo with thirteen of his family and relatives. Henry’s home – the Horse Stone estate which
had been in his family for generations – was sold.
There were still 59 Moons recorded in the village of
Eccleston in the 1881 census.
Moon was also a name of the Kent and Sussex Weald.
The earliest reference appears to have been a John Peter Moon who was
born in Rotherfield, Sussex in the
1540’s. There were Moons in Rotherfield
and nearby Westfield
in the 18th and 19th centuries. A Moon
in Rye, Sussex in the mid-1700’s were the forebears of William and
Henry Moon who
emigrated to Australia in 1838 and 1839 respectively.
Moons were to be found in Folkestone, Kent in the
early 1800’s. William Moon who created
type, the first widely used practical reading alphabet for the blind,
was born in
Horsmonden, Kent in 1818. Keith Moon, the drummer with The
Who, had Kentish forebears.
Ireland. Moon in Ireland
could be an anglicized form of the Gaelic O’Mochain found in Connacht and
Ulster. However, this usually became Mohan. Donovan Hurst did
compile a pamphlet, Moon Surname –
Ireland, of Moons who lived in Ireland between the 1600’s and
America. There were Moon arrivals into Virginia and
Pennsylvania. Moons migrated to Georgia
as early as 1770.
Virginia. Moons appeared at an early
time at the
Jamestown colony. It is thought that
Nicholas and Churchill Moon were in Jamestown possibly by 1607. However, they did not stay.
Captain John Moon from Alverstone in
Hampshire, who had been plying ships between England and Virginia
and 1619, settled in Virginia in 1623.
He married twice, but left no sons on his death in 1655. His family line continued through his brother
Abraham who had come to Virginia in 1638.
Many think that these Moons were grandsons of Drake’s Captain
There was another Virginia Moon family, probably related,
that began with
Stephen Moon who was born in New Kent county around the year 1660. This line extended in the early 1800’s to
Edward Moon, a wealthy merchant who owned the 1,500 acre Viewmont
tobacco plantation near Scottsville. Edward
had four remarkable daughters for his
time – Orie who became a doctor, Sallie a teacher, and Lottie and
famous Baptist missionaries in China.
Pennsylvania. James Moon was a Quaker
from Bristol who came with his wife Joan and six children to
county in 1682. One of his sons Jasper moved onto Virginia and
North Carolina. Another son Roger lived in
the same place for nigh on seventy years, dying at the ancestral home
1759. And Roger’s descendants were still
there a century or so later. It was said
had never fired a gun or quarrelled with any man in his life.
A later Moon line began with Henry Moon, an apparent deserter
to the American cause during the Revolutionary War. After the war
he ran an inn at McCandless township in Allegheny county.
Georgia. Moons from Virginia descended
on Georgia in
the late 1700’s.
a descendant of Jasper Moon in Virginia, migrated to Columbia county in
around the year 1770 and became part of the Quaker community in that
son Thomas was a prosperous farmer with a large plantation there who
1855 at the good age of ninety six. Of
- Lewis Moon served two terms in the lower house of the
Assembly of Georgia and one term in the Georgia Senate.
- Jesse Moon moved to
Randolph county in Alabama in the late 1840’s where he had bought
- whilst the youngest son Joseph
Moon remained in Georgia. He
the third time at the age of seventy five and died in 1893 at the age
The family history was
recounted in William
Moon’s 1920 book History of the Moon
Meanwhile Jacob Moon – from New Kent county and
a descendant of Abraham Moon – was rewarded for furnishing supplies and
services during the Revolutionary War with land in Georgia. He and his family moved to Greene county,
Georgia in 1786. His sons William and
Pleasant settled in Elbert county.
Elsewhere. Robert Moon came to New
England and was
recorded as a tailor working in Boston in 1644.
He moved to Rhode Island in 1651 where his descendants lived for
generations. One branch later settled in
Vermont and then in upstate New York.
Judge Walter Moon, born there, was one of the early settlers of
Nebraska in 1873.
Canada. Two brothers
and Henry Moon left Cornwall for Simcoe county, Ontario in 1832 at
same time as two of their cousins departed for Australia.
Australia and New Zealand. Philip Moon,
also from Cornwall, was an earlier settler in New Zealand, arriving
his family on the Blenheim in 1842. He
lived and died as a stonemason in New
Australian Moon immigrants included:
Moon and his family from Kent who
came to Sydney on
the Maitland in
1838. They were assisted emigrants who
managed to survive the crowded and unhygienic conditions on-board the
the voyage. On their arrival they moved
south to farm, eventually settling in Ulladulla.
James Moon and his family from Hampshire, also assisted emigrants,
who came to Sydney on the Bussorah
Merchant in 1853.
A Danish Moon Origin. It was said, although this has been disputed, that
the Moons came originally from Denmark.
They were a crack fighting troop that the King of Denmark loaned
William the Conqueror in 1066. They were
called the Order of the Crescent and their banner was a Crescent. They were known especially for fighting by
the light of the moon.
William was so pleased with them that after his
reclamation of England that he offered land grants to anyone who would
in England. Some returned to
Denmark. But several stayed.
Legend has it that some of the clan had
become guards to the Queen due to their great height.
People called them the Moon Men, possibly a
holdover from their fighting days but also because they were so tall
said they were “tall as the moon.”
When it became the custom to take
last names they took the name of Moone (spelled at that time with an e).
The Mohuns of Dunster Castle. In the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066 William de Mohun had been
granted extensive landholdings in SW England.
By 1086 he had established a castle on a hill overlooking the
Dunster in Somerset to protect these lands.
It was also strategically placed to help guard the coast against
threat of any seaborne attack, as well as controlling the coastal road
from Somerset to Gloucestershire.
William de Mahun held Dunster Castle against a
siege by the usurper Stephen in 1138 and was made Earl of Somerset as a
result. Later, Reginald de Mohun took a
prominent part in the invasion of France in 1206 and accompanied King
Ireland in 1210. The Mohuns prospered at
that time as many of them were successful in marrying wealthy women.
A survey of the castle in 1266 described the
Upper Ward on the top of the motte as containing a hall with a buttery, a pantry, a kitchen, a bakehouse, the chapel of Saint Stephen and a knight’s
hall, guarded by three towers. The Lower
Ward, which Reynold Mohun had rebuilt in stone, included a granary, two
and a gatehouse. One of the towers,
called the Fleming Tower, was used as a prison.
In 1330 Sir John de Mohun, the
tenth of the line, inherited the castle.
John, although a notable knight, was childless and fell into
considerable debt. When he died in 1376,
the senior line of Mohun ended and the castle was sold.
Thomas Moon, Drake’s Captain. Thomas Moon
was born in Bristol in 1520 and went to sea as a young man initially as a ship’s carpenter. However, he soon
became one of Sir Francis Drake’s most trusted sea captains.
Drake said that
Captain Moon struck the first blow against the Spaniards in the South
the war that resulted in transferring the supremacy of the seas from
England. He continued with Drake through
this long naval conflict and was with Drake on his voyage around the
world. In 1570 he set foot in America at
a time when there was no English settlement there.
He died in 1585, killed by a
Spaniard in Cartagena harbor.
The Mystery of Henry Moon. Larry Pearce who penned the account The Mystery of Henry Moon was, in doing
so, trying to decipher the life of his ancestor Henry Moon, six
who had fought in the Revolutionary War.
Some have given his birth, either in Ireland
or England, as 1718. This looks
unlikely. Other records show him being
a little before 1755. He fought in the
Revolutionary War. He was initially
serving under British General Burgoyne. But
by the time the war was over, he had apparently
deserted and was fighting on the American side.
After the war, sometime around 1796, he established
himself at McCandless
township in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. There
he ran an inn and raised a large family.
He died in 1821 and was recorded as being
buried on Sugar Loaf Hill at North Lake Park near the Moon Lodge.
This house stood back in the hollow
where the present day Moon Grove picnic pavilion is located.
His inn stayed in Moon hands. But
there was a gap in the records until 1858 when
Joseph M. Moon, Jr, his grandson, came on board at the inn at the age
of 23. Joseph lived until 1905.
Joseph Moon in Georgia. Joseph Moon was born in Columbia county, Georgia in 1796 and died in Walton county in 1893 at the ripe age of ninety seven. During that period he was married three times
and raised eighteen children. He was a
prosperous farmer, but lived simply in the log cabin that he had built
for himself in
1840 near the Sharon Baptist church where he worshipped.
He was an ardent Democrat and voted for
every Democratic candidate from Andrew Jackson to Grover Cleveland. His grandson William recalled marching up to
the polls with him, Joseph voting for the last time and William for the
time. Several remarked that this would
elect Cleveland, and sure enough it did.
He was a very stout and active man in
his later years. William recalled that
he was picking cotton for him when it was threatening to rain. His grandfather simply got out a washtub and
picked twenty pounds in an hour.
Among his possessions was an old Bible that had
been in the family for over a hundred and fifty years.
His father Thomas had failed for some reason
to place the date of the month on which he was born in the family
record. His father had simply recalled the
day that he
was digging potatoes. Joseph later
celebrated this day of digging potatoes as his birthday.
The Moons’ Voyage to Australia on the Maitland. The
Maitland had been used for the
transport of convicts to Australia. In
1838 the vessel was converted to barque rigging for its one and only
Australia with emigrants.
ship was chartered under Admiralty control, the unscrupulous charter
organizers – with an eye on the profit potential – were able to cram 205 adults, 111 children and some livestock for fresh food on board for the journey.
Most of the passengers had little choice in
the matter. They were being assisted to
emigrate from England by their parishes who paid around five pounds in
sponsorship in order to remove their commitment to support these poorer
families. This was in fact the case with
the family of William Moon, his wife Hannah and their five children
Benenden in Kent.
The Maitland departed from Gravesend in Kent
on June 24, 1838. Newspaper reports show
that it arrived in Sydney, Australia four and a half months later on
November 5. During the voyage, because of
the crowded and
unhygienic conditions, the typhus and scarlet fever infections among
passengers resulted in a very high mortality rate.
In Sydney the vessel was placed in
quarantine at Manly Cove, some passengers and crew on board there and
“under canvas” ashore.
the Moon family survived these hardships and later departed Sydney for
south at Shellharbour.
- William de Mohun who came over with William
the Conqueror is considered to be the progenitor of many of the Moons in England.
- Thomas Moon was one of Sir Francis Drake’s most trusted sea captains.
- William Moon was
the English creator in the 1840’s of Moon type, the first widely used practical
reading alphabet for the blind.
- Lottie Moon was a pioneer American
Baptist missionary in China, from 1873 to 1912.
- Rev. Sun Myung Moon was the
Korean founder of the Unification Church that has spread globally.
- Keith Moon was a distinctive and wild drummer who played for the English rock band the Who in the 1970’s.
Select Moon Numbers Today
- 10,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 15,000 in America (most numerous in Georgia)
- 7,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
Select Moon and Like Surnames.
The Norman Conquest brought new rulers to England and they brought their names and language, a form of French, with them. Over time their names became less French and more English in character. Thus Hamo became Hammond, Reinold Reynolds and Thierry Terry and so forth. The names Allen, Brett, Everett, and Harvey were probably Breton in origin as Bretons also arrived, sometimes as mercenaries.
The new Norman lords often adopted new last names, sometimes from the lands they had acquired and sometimes from places back in Normandy. Over time the name here also became more English. Thus Saint Maur into Seymour, Saint Clair into Sinclair, Mohun into Moon, and Warenne into Warren.
Here are some of these Norman and Breton originating names that you can check out.
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