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MORRISSEY Family History

This interesting surname has two distinct possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be of Irish origin, and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "O'Muirgheasa", descendant of "Muirgheasa", a personal name apparently derived from the elements "muir", sea, and "geas", action, and are a branch of the "Ui Fiachra", having their territory at the southern side of Sligo Bay. These are of MacDermot stock, being descended from Muiris, the grandson of a famous MacDermot. However, there is no Gaelic sept of Morrissey associated with Munster or Leinster.

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Michael Morrissey - born around 1812 or earlier and immigrated to Castle Garden, New York and arrived on May 30, 1836. He reported himself to be from the Parish of Muckalee, Kilkenny, Ireland. He left Dublin and went to Liverpool, England, then sailed to America. He reports that he was a farmer, but I'm leaning towards "laborer". He was illiterate and poor. I have no idea how he was able to come to America, being poor. He sailed on the ship "New Orleans" with no other family member I could see on the passenger list. He was reported to be 22 at the time he came in 1836, but on his naturalization intent in July of 1838, he reported himself to be 23. I'm almost certain he was Roman Catholic. He ended up coming to Indiana soon after arriving because that is where his naturalization intent was recorded, (Tippecanoe, Indiana). He was found in a census in Union, Fulton, Indiana in 1850 and was reported to be 38. He married Jane Mendenhall in Fulton, Indiana. I found a death record of a Michael Morrissey who died in 20 June1861, who was from Ireland and birthdate unknown. He is buried in St Mary's cemetary in Lafayette, Tippecanoe, Indiana.


My great x 3 paternal grand mother was Ellen Morrissey, born in County Kerry, 1841. Her mother was Honora Sullivan, I am unsure of her fathers name. Ellen married James Thomas Keane (B. 1837 County Kerry D. 1918 Temuka, New Zealand) and they immigrated to New Zealand, settling in Temuka. Ellen died in 1878. I have been unable to find anymore information beyond this and would love to make family connections also. Please contact Debi if you can help or may be family-


This history is incomplete. You say there are 2 possible sources for the name. You list one but not the second.

Patrick Morrisey

The other possible origin is the de Marisco family who arrived along with the Anglo Norman invasion around the 1170s. I've written a book about it called 'Australians of The Great Irish Famine - one clan's story'. see


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