Clan/Family Histories
- Morrison

There are a number of different origins of this Scottish name which is currently the 21st most common surname in Scotland. Firstly, "Maurice" was an early Christian saint (the name came from "Moorish" or swarthy) and was also common in England. It became frequent in Aberdeenshire from the 14th century, possibly from a Maurice from Normandy. In 1591 the hangman in Dundee was named Michael Morris and in 1635 Alexander Morrison obtained the lands of Bognie.
Meanwhile, in the southern Inner Hebrides, mainly Mull, descendants of the O'Muirgheasains from Ireland became established. Ghille Mhuire (servant of the Virgin Mary) survived a shipwreck and has been claimed to be a natural son of King Olav and thus a half brother of Leod, the founder of the Macleod clan. Others dismiss this claim and believe that the clan were Gaelic/Irish in origin. Ghille Mhuire married the heiress of the Gows and became established in the sound of Harris. The Lords of the Isles appointed a family of Morrisons to hold the position of Brieveship, a kind of hereditary guardian and interpreter of the old Brehon Laws, in the Butt of Lewis (Dun Eistein) on a hereditary basis.

The Morrisons, as they became, were not numerous and tried to live at peace with their more powerful neighbours but nevertheless sometimes became embroiled in fueds with the Macauleys and Macleods and were eventually driven from their lands in the 16th century. In the 20th century the chieftainship was vested in the Morrisons of Ruchdi.

The Morrison tartan is similar to that of their erstwhile neighbours the Mackays, but with a red line through it.

The motto of the Morrisons is "Teaghlach Phabbay" ("Pabbay Family" - Pabbay is a small island at the north end of the Sound of Harris, now uninhabited).

There are Morrison clan Web sites here and here.

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