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Muir Name Study

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Surnames/tags: Muir Mure
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Surname Origins

The Scottish surname Muir may have originated as a name denoting someone who lived beside a moor. The name is derived from the Scots form of the Middle English more, meaning "moor" or "fen". The name may alternately derive from the Scottish Gaelic word muir, meaning sea, or mòr meaning of great size, tall and important, as in duine mòr, a great man or considerable personage.

Clan Muir

Rooted in Ayrshire, Scotland, the claim is that Clan Muir is a Scottish clan that is armigerous (it has no chief recognized by the Court of the Lord Lyon). This being said, and despite an effort made by several, in more recent years, to suggest Clan Muir is an ancient clan, in fact, primary sources from as early as the 16th and 17th centuries show no indication of this Lowland Scot family identifying itself as a clan, or associating as a sept of another clan. Instead, it may be that one of the branches of the Muir lines began using the title "clan" in the early 19th century, following a surge of nationalism brought on by the writings of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) and the visit of King George IV, in the early 1820s. "The effect of the event (King George IV's visit)... was an increase in new-found Scottish national identity, unifying Highlander and Lowlander in sharing the iconic symbolism of kilts and tartans". It is that which has left us, even today, with the "concept" of a "Clan" Muir. Yet, apart from the Muir tartan predating 1888, there is no record, or "history" of the supposed clan, documented to any primary resources, prior to the 20th century.

Perhaps the most glaring reality of the matter is that, in his reflections on the Muir line, in Historie and Descent of the House of Rowallane, Sir William Muir (1594-1657) makes no reference, whatsoever, to a clan system for the Muir family. Additionally, while the book was not published until 1825, the written work itself was produced prior to Sir William Muir's death in 1657. There is no written history of the Muir line known to exist prior to the publication of this work. Note also, the claimed tartan of Clan Muir is actually a registered tartan... not to Clan Muir, but (as per the official Tartan Registry) to "Muir and Moore". While the actual legitimacy of an "ancient" Clan Muir is questionable, the history of the Muir/Mure/Moore lines of Southwest Scotland more than compensates.


Related Surnames and Surname Variants

About this Project

The Muir Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Muir name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Muir name.

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual team studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (Ayrshire Muirs, Orkney Muirs, etc.), by time period (14th Century Muirs), or by topic (Muir DNA, Muir Occupations, Muir Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Also see the related surnames and surname variants.

How to Join

To join the Muir Name Study, first start out by browsing our current teams to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team page, and then dive right in!

If a team does not yet exist for your particular area of interest, please contact the Name Study Coordinator: Robert Moore for assistance.

... ... ... is a member of the Muir Name Study Project.

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:


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  • Private Messages: Contact the Profile Managers privately: One Name Studies WikiTree and Robert Moore. (Best when privacy is an issue.)
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Categories: Muir Name Study