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Moore: Family Name, Meaning, History, And More

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Moore: Family Name, Meaning, History, And More

Chances are, you have met someone with the last name Moore. Perhaps Moore is your last name. This family name, also known as a surname, is the ninth most common surname in the world. In 2000, the Moore last name was the sixteenth most common surname in the United States. Furthermore, Moore is the thirty-third most common name in England and the eighty-seventh most common name in Scotland.

The Moore family name is now found primarily in America, Australia, Canada, France, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. There are also people with this family name in Switzerland. We will explore the long history of this surname, examining its origins and meaning as well as some of the most famous people with the Moore name.

Moore: Name origin and meaning

The family name Moore originates from the English name “More,” a name connected to the Old French word “maur,” which means “moor.” Some sources state that the name means “stately” or “majestic.” Others say the name came from Middle English from a word that meant “bog” or “heath” and referred to people living near the moors. It is likely a combination of all or some of these meanings.

Historians believe the name originated in Ireland after the Norman Strongbow invasion in 1172. That year, Norman forces invaded the island to establish its control over the country. This invasion would have a long-term influence on both the Moore family name and Ireland itself, particularly Ireland's turbulent history with England.

Originating from the phrase “Aimergin Ua Mordha,” the name first appeared as the anglicized “O'More” and “More.” The O'Mores were a potent family clan in the Irish province of Munster, which now includes Clare, Cork, and Kerry counties, Irish districts that have remained the same since medieval times.

From 1845 until 1850, the Irish Potato Famine, also known as the “Great Famine,” resulted in many Irish migrating to Australia and the United States. Passenger lists from this period reveal that many with the Moore family name immigrated throughout the world to escape the famine.

Notable historical figures with the Moore family name

Rory O'More and his son Rory Og O'More were leaders in the war against the English Tudor kings. Rory O'Moore, an Irish landowner, was one of the four men responsible for organizing the Irish Rebellion in 1641 against England. Donal Mór was the last King of North Munster. Alfred Moore, a descendant of Rory O'Moore, became a Revolutionary War hero in American history.

Members of the O'Moore family were the Lords of Leix, also known as Queen's County, a historic county in Ireland that existed until the late 19th century and is now part of County Laois. Another clan of the Moore family joined the O'Neill clan and defeated the English army in 1598. The Moore family played a significant role in the history of Great Britain and Ireland.

Uragh Stone circle on the  on the Beara Peninsula in County Kerry in Ireland
Research reveals the Moore family played an important role in the history of medieval Ireland.

Moore family coat of arms and motto

The Moore family motto originated as a war cry. It is “Conlan-a-bu,” which translates to “Conlan Forever.” This cry refers to Conall Cernach, a legendary hero of Irish mythology, celebrated for his courage, loyalty, and fierce fighting skills. The family crest bears this motto. It is a distinctive green and yellow coat of arms that displays a fierce lion.

Moore: Historical records

There are many spelling variations of the Moore surname due to its long history. Variations of family names typically occur because of regional dialects, immigration, and spelling errors. Here are the most common variations of the Moore surname.

  • Moore
  • More
  • Moor
  • Moors
  • O'More
  • Moores
  • McMore
  • Moir
  • Moire
  • Mooer
  • McMoir
  • Moar
  • MacMoare
  • MacMoore
  • O'Moore
  • O'Moire

Mohr, a German family name, is not associated with the descendants of these names.

The Ancestry website has a plethora of information about this last name, including over four-thousand census records, 426,00 immigration records recording the name, and 739,000 military records. Census records reveal fascinating insights into what your ancestors did for a living, where they lived, and how long they lived.

For instance, in the United States in the 1940 census, the top two occupations for Moore were Laborer and Maid. Moreover, you can also see how the quality of life improved over the decades. In 1940, the life expectancy for people named Moore was forty years old. However, by 2004, the life expectancy increased to seventy-three years old. In historical records, low life expectancy suggests that people lived and worked in harsh conditions.

People researching the Moore family name may find these genealogy websites helpful.

An famine graveyard site in Ireland features a plaque lamenting the fate and honoring the memory of the Great Hunger's victims during the misnamed "potato famine" 1845-51.
Like many Irish, the Moore family immigrated to other countries during Ireland's potato famine in the 1800s.

Moore: Famous people with this last name

Many people with the surname Moore have achieved acclaim and fame in their chosen professions.

  • Roger Moore – Also known as “Bond, James Bond,” Roger Moore is a respected British actor who played 007 in several Bond films.
  • Mary Tyler Moore – An American actress best known for her roles in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
  • Demi Moore – A popular American actress famous for her roles in the movies “Ghost,” “Indecent Proposal,” and “G.I. Jane.”
  • Alan Moore – An English writer famous for his comic books “V for Vendetta” and “Watchmen.”
  • Clement C. Moore – The author of “The Night Before Christmas,” initially called “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”
  • Michael Moore – An American documentary filmmaker and political commentator best known for his films “Bowling for Columbine” and “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
  • Julianne Moore – An American actress who won the Oscar for “The Hours,” she also starred in “Still Alice,” “Boogie Nights,” and “Far from Heaven.”
  • Mandy Moore – An American actress, singer, and songwriter, Moore appeared in the movie “A Walk to Remember” and the TV series “This Is Us.”
  • Bobby Moore – A legendary English footballer and captain of the England national team during the 1966 World Cup.
  • Dudley Moore – An English actor, comedian, and musician, Dudley Moore was nominated for an Oscar for the film “Arthur.”
  • Thurston Moore – An American musician best known for the band Sonic Youth, he ranked thirty-fourth in Rolling Stones' greatest guitar player list.
  • Gordon Moore – Co-founder of Intel, he created the world's first single-chip microprocessor.
female hand holds vintage photos, retro photography of 1940-1950 on wooden table, old books, concept of genealogy, memory of ancestors, family tree, genealogy, childhood memories, family archive
Census records often reveals the occupations and life expectancy of your ancestors.

In Summary

The family name Moore is a common surname with links to Ireland and England. The name means “stately” or “great” and refers to people who lived near the moors. It is a prominent and important name in Irish history, as many people named Moore participated in battles and conflicts against England in the Middle Ages. During the Great Potato Famine in Ireland, many with the surname Moore left Ireland and moved to the United States and Australia.

Unlike some family names, there are many resources for this family name online. Moore family researchers will find census reports, immigration records, and military records to document their family history. However, the family has such a long history that it may take a lot of time and dedication to locate your family tree in this wealth of historical documents. Moreover, the frequent spelling variations may present challenges in your research. However, if you enjoy a good genealogy quest, the Moore surname offers much to be excited about.

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