Morrow Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Morrow Meaning
surname had Gaelic origins and occurred in both Scotland and

  • the
    Scottish origins

    were threefold, two in the
    Highlands and one in the Lowlands.  The
    Lowland Morrows, derived
    from the Gaelic Muireadhaigh, were
    perhaps the most numerous.
  • the
    Irish origins

    were also threefold.  The best known were
    in Wexford and Cork,
    Morrow here being derived
    from MacMurrough and the Gaelic MacMurchadha.

principal concentration of the name became Ulster in Ireland, probably
of the influx of Scots Irish into that area.
Some Murrays became Morrows there or after emigration to America.

Murray would have been pronounced “Morrah” or
”Morroh,” similar to Morrow, in Ulster

Morrow Resources on

Morrow Ancestry

Morrow was a minor Lowland clan that dated back to the 13th century. 
William Morrow of Bothwell in south Lanarkshire did sign the
Ragman Rolls in 1296, Morrow support later switched to Robert the Bruce. A later William Morrow was recorded as the
guardian of Edinburgh castle in 1347 and Thomas Morrow the Abbot of
from 1418 to 1444.

Many Morrows left at
the time of the Ulster plantations.  By
the time of the 1881 census, the Morrow numbers in Scotland were less
than 500,
mainly concentrated in Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Ayrshire.

The MacMurchadas or
MacMorroughs came from Wexford.  Dermot
MacMorrough was a famous King of Leinster in the mid-12th century who
lost the
throne after a dispute with the O’Rourkes of Breifne.
His descendant Art MacMorrough successfully
defended his territory against the English in the early 15th century
and they
held sway for another two centuries.
Over time it is thought that some MacMorroughs became Morrows.

A Morrogh
family, descended from the MacCarthy Morroghs, was one of the old Cork
having been based in the city since the 16th century.

Ulster.  Many Scottish Morrows emigrated
to Ireland in the early 17th century, first during the
settlement when they came from Ayrshire and Lanarkshire and settled in
Down and
Antrim and then during the Ulster Plantation when they mostly settled
Donegal and Armagh.  By the time of Griffith’s
in the mid-19th century, more than 80 percent of
the Morrows
in Ireland were recorded in Ulster, the largest number being in county

Morrow from Ayrshire who settled in Killyleagh
in county Down in 1606 was an early arrival.  John
Morrow escaped from Scotland to Antrim in 1689.

Morrow’s party
was beaten at the Battle of
he was taken prisoner,
finally escaping with a fellow prisoner.
They got on board a coalboat off Ayrshire bound for Glenarm in

His descendants settled in Derry.

Some Morrows from Derry were originally Murray, such as Adam
one of the defenders of Londonderry in 1689, and Jeremiah
described as “Irish by birth, Scotch by blood, and Covenanter by
religion” and
grandfather of US Ohio Governor Jeremiah Morrow.

England.  English
for the name Morrow have been suggested in
Lincolnshire and
Northumberland.  But not many Morrows may
have come from these sources.

There was one pocket of Morrows in Durham.  Morrows
in Heworth dated from the
1770’s.  Robert Morrow was a coal miner
in the mining disaster at High Felling in 1813.
John Morrow, born at Low Felling in 1795, emigrated to Nova
Scotia in 1813.

There were larger numbers in Lancashire in the 1881 census, but
this may have been due to Irish immigration.

America.  Among the Scottish Covenanters captured and
sent as prisoners to Boston on the John
& Mary
in 1652 were James, John, John again, Jonas and Neile
Morrow.  But it is not known whether they
left any descendants.  Instead, the main
influx of Morrows was into the South. 

Notable Morrow Lines.  The earliest Morrow of note in America was David Morrow who was first
recorded in
Lower Norfolk county, Virginia in 1651.
Some have had him as the progenitor of many of the southern
lines.  But DNA analysis suggests that
descendency was probably limited to his two grandsons David and Daniel

Morrow aka Murray from Derry came to Adams county, Pennsylvania around
the year 1750.  His grandson Jeremiah
Morrow, born there in 1771, headed west and became Ohio’s ninth
Governor in
1822.  A related line ended up in
Kentucky where Edwin P. Morrow was Governor of the state in 1919.

Alexander Morrow arrived with his family from
Ulster in 1793 and eventually settled in Brooke county, West Virginia.  George Morrow’s 1993 book Alexander
Morrow and His Descendants

covered this line.  One line from
Alexander ran as follows:

  • James
    E. Morrow, born in 1837, who was the principal
    at Marshall University
  • Dwight
    W. Morrow, born in 1873, a classmate of President
    Calvin Coolidge who later appointed him ambassador to Mexico.  He was subsequently the US Senator for New
  • and
    Anne Lindbergh nee Morrow, born in 1906, who was an acclaimed author
    in her own right before she married the aviator Charles Lindbergh.

.  John Morrow, it was said, was one of three
brothers from Antrim who came to Pennsylvania in the late 1730’s and
with his wife Mary in Franklin county.
Their sons Thomas and John had moved to South Carolina by the
time of
the Revolutionary War and afterwards, towards the end of their lives,
in Tennessee and Georgia respectively.

William Morrow’s origins are uncertain, but he was apparently fleeing
religious persecution when he arrived in Pennsylvania around the year

tradition has it that William Morrow baked a Bible in a loaf of
bread to prevent it being destroyed by persecutors.
The bread was then removed when he had
arrived safely in America.” 

By 1767 he
had moved with his family to Orange county, North Carolina. 
line there was called the Crossroads/Oaks
Morrows to distinguish them from the
Flat River Morrows

David and Mary Morrow came from Baltimore to the Fishing
Creek area of
Chester county, South Carolina in 1765 where they had land grants next
David’s brother Samuel.  Son Robert who
fought in the Revolutionary War moved to Kentucky and then to Alabama.  Samuel’s line was traced in J.T. Morrow’s
1979 book The Morrows and Related

The roots of Ed Murrow the famous broadcaster were in Greensboro,
North Carolina.  He descended from John
Murrow, a Quaker who had settled in Guilford county in 1820.  John’s son Andrew was active in helping
runaway blacks escape slavery by fleeing across the Ohio river. 

From Canada.  One
Morrow family in America was French
Canadian, descended from Pierre Morin who had come to Quebec from
Normandy in
the 1670’s.  They remained in Quebec
until the 1840‘s when Jean-Baptiste Morin crossed the border into
Wisconsin and
assumed the name of John Morrow.  His son
Alexander Morrow who died in 1925 was a prominent pioneer of the town
of Sevastopol,

Canada.  John Morrow
departed Durham for Nova
Scotia in 1813 and found work at Halifax for shipping magnate Samuel
Cunard, as
did his younger brother Robert.  His son
James later became a partner at Cunard.

Morrow arrived from Ireland in 1819 and settled in French Lake, New
Brunswick.  There he had married the
daughter of a
lumberman and engaged in the lumber trade himself.
His son David, born in 1834, served in the
local Oromocto council and later in the New Brunswick Legislative

William and Mary Morrow, also from Ireland,
had come to New Brunswick in the 1840’s and made their home at St. John
William worked in a brick yard.  Their
sons James and William moved to Kennebasis Island in 1880 where they

Australia and New Zealand.  Among the
Morrow settlers from Ireland

  • the
    sons and daughters of Henry Morrow of Magheraculmoney, Fermanagh who
    came to Sydney in stages between 1841 and 1854.
  • James
    Morrow from Tyrone who
    arrived in Melbourne as a young boy in 1852.  He
    patented his invention for a grain harvester in 1884 and
    worked hard
    to make it successful, but without much reward.
  • and
    Arthur Morrow from Longford
    who came to Auckland on the Mersey in
    1861.  He joined the British army and
    fought with distinction in the Maori wars of 1863-5.
    Colonel Morrow, as he later became, died in
    Auckland at the good old age of ninety-five in 1937.


Morrow Miscellany

Scottish Origins of Morrow.  There have been three recorded origins for the Morrow name in Scotland.

The first is from the Highland area of Lochalsh that is
opposite the isle of Skye.  Here the name
came from Murchadha and was akin to the minor clan of
Murchison.  In Lochalsh the name took the
form of Morrow, Morrowson and MacMorrow.

The second, also Highland, was in Moray
where the name came from the Gaelic name Moireach or Moireabh meaning
“a sea farer” or
“a settlement by the sea.”
Variations here included Morow, Murrow and Morrewe, the last named
being found
on the Ragman Rolls of 1296.  This
branch was mostly found in Banffshire
and Morayshire.  This was the family that
the 14th century architect John Morrow was from.

The third origin was Lowland,
from Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire and Stirlingshire, and came
from the
Gaelic name Muireadhaigh. It was anglicized as MacMorrow,
MacMurray, Murrow and Morrow.

Irish Origins of Morrow.  The Irish Morrow came from Murchadh (muir and cath)
meaning “sea battle” or “sea warrior.”  This
anglicized as Morrogh, Murrow, Moroghoe
and Morrow. There have been three distinct Irish origins for Morrow.

The first
and most well-known was from Wexford and Cork where the name was
variously as O’Morrow, McMarrowe, Morrogh, Morrowe and Morrow in
Petty’s census
of 1659.  All here stemmed from the
Gaelic names MacMurchadha and Ó Murchadha.

second was from Leitrim where the name came from MacMuireadhaigh and
became MacMurray, MacMorrow, Murray and Morrow.

The third was from Fermanagh
where they were said to have been a branch of the MacGuires.

Morrows in Griffith’s Valuation

County Number Percent
Antrim   100
Armagh    49
Derry    34
Donegal   109
Down   169
Fermanagh    20
Tyrone    46
Sub-Total   467    81
Elsewhere 107    19
Total Ireland   574   100

English Origins of Morrow.  The Victorian
author Charles Bardsley claimed an English origin for the
Morrow name, from the lost village of Morrowe near Wisbech in

by tradition, the Morrow name was said
to have come from Northumberland where a group of people who lived in a
row of
houses on the moor were known as “the people from the moor row” – later
contracted to Morrow.

David Morrow and His DNA Descendants.  Much
research has been undertaken to indicate that a large proportion of the Morrows with
Southern roots in America were descended from David Morrow of Lower
county, Virginia.

David Morrow had showed up there on a land patent deed
of 1651 with headright.
The land he
settled on was at the mouth of the James river on Chesapeake Bay.  David may have already been living in
Virginia before 1651 as headrights were only allowed for persons living
Virginia who had paid for or had sponsored immigration of others to

of these lines of connection to David
Morrow are probably not correct.  The
Morrow DNA project has shown that descendants from a number of these
lines are genetically not related to each other at all.

There is one group of southern Morrows that
is believed to have been descended from David Morrow.
David named his son Alexander in his 1792
will.  Two men, David born around 1690
and Daniel born around 1708, were both born in Virginia and were both
to be sons of Alexander.  They have
descendants in the DNA project.  DNA
results for those descendants indicate they are related to each other. 

The Flat River Morrows of Orange County, North Carolina.  Benjamin Morrow settled on the north fork of the Flat river in the early 1750s.  He died there
around 1758.  After that time there were
several generations of Morrows living in and around the north and south
of the Flat river near Richland Spring Creek and Deep Creek.

many of
the Morrow descendants had migrated westward out of the Flat river area
to 1800.  William Morrow, born in 1750,
died in Tennessee; John and William Morrow, born a decade or so later,

John Morrow – from Durham to Nova Scotia.  John Morrow had worked as a clerk for a local newspaper in Durham, but then was dismissed
from his job.  However, he was able to
secure a new clerkship with a Mr. Bain in Nova Scotia.
He left for Nova Scotia in 1813.

On the ship was another fellow clerk by the name of John Duffus whom he
befriended.  Later he was introduced to
one of his sisters Mary Ann Duffus who eventually became his wife.  This connection was important because Mary
Ann’s sister was Susannah, the wife of Canadian shipping magnate Samuel

John later worked for Samuel Cunard in
Nova Scotia, as did his younger brother Robert.
He left Cunard’s service in 1833 to take up
the position of US Consul for Nova Scotia, a position he held for about
years until it was decided that only Americans could hold that post.  He later worked on the railways.

His son James
Bain Morrow would become a partner at Cunard.


Morrow Names

  • Dermot MacMorrough was a famous King of
    Leinster in the 12th century who lost his throne after a dispute with a rival clan. 
  • Jeremiah Morrow served as Governor of Ohio in 1822. 
  • Dwight Morrow was US Ambassador to Mexico and Senator for New Jersey in the 1920’s. 
  • Edward R. Murrow was an American broadcast
    journalist, famous for his live radio broadcasts during World War Two and for his TV broadcasts in the 1950’s critical of McCarthyism

Select Morrow Numbers Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Northern Ireland)
  • 21,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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