In honor of St. Patrick’s Day (two weeks ago), we look at Irish heritage for this week's surname, MURPHY, considered the most common surname in Ireland.
Murphy is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Ó Murchadha (descendant of Murchadh’), a personal name composed of muir (sea) + cath (battle or sea-warrior).
Traditionally, Irish surnames are taken from the leaders of tribes or famous warriors, and Murphy may be an example of this from pre-9th-century Ireland, then under Viking rule.
The surname was first Anglicized to MacMurphy and then to Murphy. Like most Irish surname’s etymology, it is a patronymic name from Mac, meaning “son of.” Other derivations include MacMurchadh and O’Murchadh (grandson of Murchadh).
The earliest recording of the name may be the 12th-century Domhnall Dall O’Murchadh from Leinster. Other important towns associated with this name include Tyrone, Cork, Wexford and Roscommon.
Over the centuries, Murphys arrived in the United States. In the American War of Independence, more than 500 were recorded among the American forces. Today, there are more Murphys in the US than in Ireland.
At MyHeritage, there are 222,948 people with the surname, and 6,169,094 records.
Of MyHeritage members with this name, 44% are from the US, 23% from Ireland and 20% from the UK. The most common given names are James, John, Mary and Catherine.
Are you a Murphy, or related to a Murphy? Search your roots and see from where your family descends.
Let us know what you discover about your ancestors and heritage. Share stories with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Search for your ancestors: