MORRIS - Surname Meaning and Family History

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The Morris surname has several possible origins:

  1. As an English or Scottish surname, Morris may have originated as Maurice, an Old French personal name derived from the Latin Mauritius, a given name itself derived from the Old French more (Latin maurus), meaning "moorish" or "dark, swarthy." In this respect, it was often a nickname given to someone with dark skin. Morris may also have derived as an Anglicized form of the Welsh personal name Meurig, also from the Latin Mauritius.
  2. Possibly an Anglicized form of the ancient Irish name Ó Muirgheasa (variant Ó Muirghis), a personal name thought to derive from muir, meaning "sea" and geas, meaning "taboo" or "prohibition."
  3. Morris may also have originated as a variant of the German Moritz, or as an Americanized form of other like-sounding Jewish surnames.

Morris is the 56th most popular surname in the United States. Morris is also popular in England, coming in as the 32nd most common surname.

Surname Origin: English, Irish, Scottish


Famous People With the MORRIS Surname

  • Robert Morris Jr. - American merchant and banker known as the financier of the American Revolution
  • William Morris - American theatrical agent who founded the William Morris Agency, one of the foremost theatrical agencies in the U.S.
  • Lewis Morris - American landowner and developer, and signatory of the Declaration of Independence
  • Margaretta Morris - American entomologist
  • William Morris - British writer and artist; one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement

Where Is the MORRIS Surname Most Common?

According to surname distribution from Forebears, Morris is the 805th most common surname in the world—found most prevalently in the United States, where it ranks 54th, but also very common in Liberia (17th), Wales (18th), England (39th), Jamaica (46th) and Australia (55th).

Surname maps from WorldNames PublicProfiler also show the Price surname is especially common in Wales, as well as in the West Midlands region of England. Within the United States, Price is most common in the state of North Carolina, followed by South Carolina and West Virginia.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname MORRIS

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Morris DNA Project
This DNA project connects individuals with the Morris surname, or variants such as Maurice, Moris, Morres, Morress, Morrice, or Morriss, who are interested in using DNA testing to help discover common Morris ancestors.

Morris Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Morris family crest or coat of arms for the Morris surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

MORRIS Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Morris surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Morris query.

FamilySearch - MORRIS Genealogy
Explore over 11 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Morris surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. - MORRIS Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Morris.

GeneaNet - Morris Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Morris surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Morris Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Morris surname from the website of Genealogy Today.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.
  • Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "MORRIS - Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). MORRIS - Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "MORRIS - Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 24, 2023).