There are many Moran families located in many countries around the world. There are Morans in Ireland (including Northern Ireland), England, Wales, Scotland, Jersey, Isle of Man, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, France, Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, , Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, St. Helena, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, Uraguay, South Africa, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Columbia, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Chistopher, St. Vincent, St. Martin, Barbados, Trinidad-Tabago, Austria, Germany, Italy, India, and Switzerland. There is even a tribe of Hindus in Assam, India known as


For more on the Morans of Assam use this link > . Moran is a given name in Korean, pronounced Mo-run. Margaret Cho, the Korean comedienne, her real first name is Moran. There is an important market twenty meters south of Seoul, Korea (or thirty minutes by subway, exit Moran Station) in Sungnam City called Moran's Market. It was named by the land developer, a retired Army Colonel, who said he named it for his mother and the Moran Peaks both of which were in Pyongyang, North Korea. In the Korean language moran is the name of a mountain peony.In Pyongyang, the North Korean capitol, there is a hill park known as Moran Hill with many memorials present.

< The second highest medal awarded by the Republic of Korea is the Moran-Jang.

A medal awarded for Civil Merit in Korea is shown to the right.

Moran is also a female first name in Israel.

In Masai the word moran means: "young warrior." It is a form of address for those who are young Masai warriors. In Kenya two of the medals awarded by the government to outstanding individuals are the Moran Order of the Burning Spear and the Moran Order of the Golden Heart. In Jewish Moran means "teacher". In Aramaic it means Strong Mount or Strength of God. In Punjabi Moran means Peacocks. In Sanskrit Moran means: Man of the inhabitants of the sky or heaven. In Coptic Moran means: Male or worshiper of the sun light. In Breton Gaelic Moran means: Man of the Sea or inhabitant of the waters.

These are asides offered to those of you interested in the name Moran. The real interest is, of course, is the family name Moran - where does it come from, where have the Morans been and where are they now?

There are more Morans in the Americas than in Europe and most of these are in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The United States has the most of these. Evidence of their number are the place names left to honor them. Moran Canyon and Moran Mountain are in the Grand Teton National Park. Moran State Park is located on the San Juan Islands off Washington state. There are seven states that have towns with the name Moran: Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. In all there are ten states with Moran place names including: Arkansas, California, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming.

Moran, Arkansas, United States [Place] is in Mississippi County; location is 35°44'28"N 89°57'49"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, California, United States [Place] is in Lassen County; location is 40°54'6"N 120°29'21"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, Georgia, United States [Place] is in Crawford County; location is 32°50'55"N 83°55'55"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, Indiana, United States [Place] is in Clinton County; location is 40°23'15"N 86°30'55"W; elevation is 805 feet [SourceGSP]
Moran, Iowa, United States [Place] is in Dallas County; location is 41°48'39"N 93°54'27"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, Kansas, United States [City]; population was 551 in 1990; housing units was 258 in 1990; location is 37°55'N 95°10'W; land area is 0.41 square miles (263 acres); FIPS code is 48125 [SourceCBP]
Moran, Kansas, United States [Populated Place] is in Allen County; location is 37°54'58"N 95°10'12"W; elevation is 1,110 feet; was named in year 1891 [SourceGSP]
Moran, Kansas, United States Postal Service Zip Code is 66755 [SourcePSZ]
Moran, Michigan, United States [Place] is in Mackinac County; location is 45°59'39"N 84°49'51"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, Michigan, United States Postal Service Zip Code is 49760 [SourcePSZ]
Moran, Texas, United States [City]; population was 285 in 1990; housing units was 150 in 1990; location is 32°33'N 99°10'W; land area is 0.43 square miles (277 acres); FIPS code is 49320 [SourceCBP]
Moran, Texas, United States [Populated Place] is in Shackelford County; location is 32°32'51"N 99°9'56"W [SourceGSP]
Moran, Texas, United States Postal Service Zip Code is 76464 [SourcePSZ]
Moran, Virginia, United States [Place] is in Prince Edward County; location is 37°13'45"N 78°15'35"W [SourceGSP]

In New York state there is a town called Moran Corner. Moran is the 444th most popular last name (surname) in the United States; frequency is 0.026%; percentile is 33.820 [SourceCBN]

There are two towns in West Virginia, Moran in Logan County and Morantown in Marion County.There is a Morantown inn Allegany County, Maryland near Mount Savage

The surname 'Moran' occurs most frequently in these states:
1.New York (2,672)
2.California (2,532)
3.Florida (1,753)
4.Massachusetts (1,536)
5.Pennsylvania (1,507)
6.New Jersey (1,185)
7.Texas (1,127)
8.Virginia (899)
9.Illinois (706)
10.Maryland (703)

There is a graphic showing the relative population of Moran families in the various United States from 1850 to 1990 at this link >

There is a Moran, India where in WWII there was a US Air Corps base called Moran Air Field and later Moran Air Force Base. There is a town in Assam, India called Moran Town and another called Moranhat. There is also a USAF AB named Moran Air Base located in Spain in the town of Moran, Spain. The town of Moran is located in the Province of Galicia just north of Portugal. There is in Australia, in New South Wales on the Snowy Mountain Highway (aka Highway 18) a town called Morans Crossing. There is a town named Moran in Macedonia, Israel, Cuba and Pakistan.An old mining town in Queensland, Australia was called Moranbah. There is a town named Morin and another called Morinville in Alberta, Canada. There is a Moren, Quebec and a town in Cornwall, England known as Lamorran. Brazil has two towns named Morrinhos. There is a village east of Paris, France called Morainvilliers. Another town named Morrinville is located in New Zealand. In Venezuela to the west of Maracaibo is Moran Municipality. There is a settlement named Morán, along the border of the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve in Eastern Guatemala. The people have farmed in the area for over a century. There is in Madagascar a town called Morandava. A place in Cornwall, England is known as Rosemorran.

The map of the northern part of Venezuela to the left shows the State of Lara with the Municipality of Moran in Orange at the bottom between the states of Trujillo and Portugesa, the map on the right shows the Parroquia Moran in the Municipality of Moran.

Just outside Buenas Aires, Argentina is the town of Moro'n. In Ecuador there is a village named Moran and in Kenya there is Ol Moran a small community. Also located in Kenya is Il Moran and Moran Camp offering safari goers luxurious accomodations under a tent after a day of viewing elephants, lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, zebra, hippos and many more fauna.

There is a Moran Oil Field in Pappau, New Guinea. In Assam, India the name Moran is famous not only as an oil field but also for tea. There is a tea called Assam Moran from the Moran Tea Estate. There are two colleges in Assam with the name Moran: Moran College in Moranhat, Sibsagar, Assam and Moran Commerce College in Lakhmipar, Assam.

In Punjab, an area that encomapasses both sides of the border between India and Pakistan there are nine locations with the name Moran: Moran, Moran Doga, Moran Kalan, Moran Talal, Moranah, Morang, Morani and two with the name Moranwalla. On the India Pakistan border, on the Indian side, there is a village named Pul Kanjri. A young girl dancer (the word for dancer in Punjabi is kanjri) by the name of Moran played a part in the development of the location. She was from Lahore and used to dance for Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Once on her way to dance at the Maharaja's Baradari (shelter or way station) her shoes fell into the canal. The piqued dancer refused to dance until a 'pul' bridge was built on the canal. When built, the bridge was named after Moran as "Pul Kanjri", and the village subsequently developed into a large trading center. The Maharaja was so taken with Moran that he made her his consort and even issued a coin in her name. The Maharaja Ranjit Singh is considered by most historians as one of the outstanding Punjabi and Sikh historical leaders. In spite of his exalted position, Maharaja Ranjit Singh underwent religious punishment for parading in the streets of Lahore, on elephant back, in the jubilant company of his queen Moran known as Moran Sarkar. Pul Kanji's name has been changedto Pul Moran to honor Moran Sarkar.

For more detail on the story of Moran Sarkar go to this link >

One of the Districts of Nepal is named - Moran also shown as Morang.

There is a Moran River in Bataan, Philippines; in India, Peru and Australia. There is another one in Michigan as well as Moran Bay. Minnesota has the
Moran State Wildlife Management Area, and a Moran Lake in Hubbard County. There is a Moran Canyon in British Columbia. Moran Basin is in Montana, Moran Creek is in California, Alaska has a MeloziMoran Creek. West Virginia

There is a Moran Street in Dallas, Texas; Minouk, Illinois; Reno, Nevada;Timrat, Israel; Paola, Malta; Salem, Virginia; Newton, New Jersey; Oil City, Pennsylvania; Halifax, New Jersey; Hughendeden, Australia; Waterbury Connecticutt; Sanford, North Carolina; Mooresville, Maryland; Gardner, Massachusetss; Herzelia, Israel; DWestminister, California; Poplar Bluff, Missouri; Noralne, Victoria, Australia; Brisbane, Australia; Kalgoorie, Australia; Freemantle, Australia; Bendigo, Australia; Picola, Australia; Blenheim, New Zealand; Gastonia, North Carolina; Venango County, Pennsylvania; Lyons, New York; Hamrack, Michigan; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Redwoodtown, New Zealand; Joliet, Illinois; Alderly, Australia; Boulder, Washington; Ottowa, Canada; Sunderland,England; Anchorage, Alaska; Detroit, Michigan; Rockaway, New York; Gainsville, Texas; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; West Warwick, Rhode Island; Roanoke, Virginia; Beaconsfield, Australia; and a Gus Moran Street in El Paso, Texas. General Moran Street is in Arequipa, Peru. There is a Moran Road in Dulles, Virginia; Arnold, California; Scarborough, Ontario; Sterling, Virginia; Avery, Dublin, Ireland; Prince George, British Columbia; Williamson County, Tennessee; Bainbridge Island, Washington and Castlega, British Columbia; Moran Drive is located in San Jose, California; Lombardy, Ontario; Rice, Virginia; Ashland, Massachusetts; North Potomac, Maryland; Columbus, New Jersey; Rockland, Maine; Dubbo NSW Australia; and Frederick, Maryland. George Moran Drive is in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. There is a Moran Avenue in Princeton, New Jersey; Louisville, Kentucky; Mullens, West Virginia; Cheyenne, Wyoming; Merced, California;Detroit, Michigan; Talcott, West Virginia,; Richmond, California; Chelsford, United Kingdom; Wappinger Falls, New York; Cumberland, Maryland. There is a Moran Circle in White Hall, West Virginia and a Jim Moran Avenue in Deerfield Beach, Florida. There is also a Moran Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Moran's Island is an anchor point for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, there is a Moran Theater in Jacksonville, Florida and there was a Moran Generating Station in Burlington, Vermont that has been made into a public facility.

There is on Embassy Row in Washington D. C. a home that is known as the Moran House. It has had an interesting history. It was once the home of Francis B. Moran. It most recently served as the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Before that it was the Iranian/Persian Embassy and still earlier it officed the Hebrew Courte and before that the organization of the National Liberation of Palestine. The building is now empty as Pakistan built a new embassy elsewhere. The Republic of Pakistan retains ownership (2009).

< The Moran House at 2315 Massachusetts Avenue in Washington D. C. on old Embassy Row.

There is a Moran Field in McKeesport, PA; Fitchburg, MA and Westport, MD. The first two are sport fields and the later an airfield. There is a Moran Sports Complex in D'iberville, MI.

Morane is a small isolated atoll, the southernmost atoll, of the Tuamotu Archipelago, Gambier Islands, in French Polynesia. It is located 153 km southwest of Maria Est, its closest neighbor. . It measures 4.8 km in length with a maximum width of 3.2 km. It has a lagoon without a pass to enter it. Morane is uninhabited.


Punta Moran is a place name in Argentina, located just above Buenos Aires >


Place names reflecting Morans in Ireland are: Morantown, a part of Carrowkilleen in County Mayo, Ardmoran and Lismoran in Mayo, Caldrymoran in Shankill parish, barony of Roscommon in Roscommon, 2 Ballymorans in Offaly (Ballymoran in the parish of Ballynakill and Ballymoran in the parish of Monasteroris) Killormoran and Glenicmurrin (Gleann Mhac Muirinn) in Galway, Kilcummin parish barony of Moycullen and Rathmoran in Fermanagh. Placenames with a Moran connection in County Sligo, Barony of Tireragh, include:
· Dunmoran in the parish of Skreen
· Emlymoran in the parish of Castleconor
· Farranmorgan aka Knockmore in parish of Kilmoremoy
· Carrowmoran in the parish Templeboy

There are no doubt other Moran family members who have left their name on a place not listed here. Send it to me and I will post it.

Most of the Moran families, except those from Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland and Switzerland (some from these countries can make the connection), can eventually be traced back to the ancient province of Ireland known as Connacht.

To see a graphic of where Moran families are located in Ireland use this link >

The distribution of the name 'Moran' in other countries

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Canada

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in United Kingdom

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in France

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Netherlands

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Germany

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Austria

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Switzerland

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Spain

The geographical distribution of the name Moran in Poland


There were Morans on the Titanic and the Lusitania. For more details follow this link >


There were three Morans lost in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 (9/11): John Moran, John Chistopher Moran and Kathleen Moran. A fourth Moran (Jerry Moran) was lost at the Pentagon in the attacks that day.


To explain why the Irish Morans were in these many places far from home, as early as they were, I need to relate to you some general history (For a larger overview of Irish history, please see Appendix VIX A Celtic Chronology).

After the English invaded Ireland in 1169, the situation in Ireland became so bad for the Irish, many left. The English pushed off the land the Irish who remained, and rented it to others. In 1608, the recipients in Ulster, northern Ireland, were mostly Presbyterian Scottish families who were brought to Ireland to cultivate the confiscated land.

The Irish resisted as best they could. It was an unequal fight, farmers against soldiers and mercenaries, few against many. In 1691, British forces known as Williamites under William of Orange were able to defeat most of the Irish, Scottish and French forces of the Jacobites who followed James II of Scotland (From Jacobus, Latin for James). The only group that held out was led by Patrick Sarsfield and they were under siege at Limerick.

Both sides wanting to avoid further bloodshed settled for a treaty to end hostilities. The fourteen thousand armed men of Ireland watched as Patrick Sarsfield signed the Treaty of Limerick, witnessed by the Chief Justice of England (a prerequisite of the treaty made by Sarsfield). The Treaty of Limerick called for the Irish in the army:

-to lay down their arms and return to their farms

-to join the English army

-or to keep their arms and be provided free passage to France

The treaty provided for those that elected to stay (as well as for all other Irish in Ireland) to be promised security in property, civil, and religious rights. The Irish Army was then organized by units and paraded to a place where they were to turn to the English or French standard. Some members of the Irish Army, believing the English administration of their country would abide by the terms of the treaty, marched to the English banner and elected to stay. Ninety three percent marched to the French Standard.

After more than four hundred years of dealing with the English in Ireland, most of the Irish troops, about 13,000 men, elected to leave for France. Among them were several Morans. The departure of these men, all at one time and probably forever, left an indelible mark on the Irish people. Seamus MacManus in his book, The Story of the Irish Race, wrote that Erin searched all nature for its most desolate image to remind her of the wailing made in her ears by their last farewell. She called them, na Geana Faidhaine, "The Wild Geese."

Another source given for the term is that Irish smugglers would carry them on their manifest as wild geese. Since then the definition of "Wild Geese" has been stretched from its original usage to include any Irish who left Ireland and became famous in the service of or on behalf of another country. The definition has been broadened even further to touch the descendants of immigrating Irish if they made a contribution of note to the history of a land other than Ireland. See Appendix VIII, 1691 for examples of the "Wild Geese."

Leaving Ireland proved the right decision for the original Wild Geese; within the year, the English repudiated the treaty and began to confiscate the property, civil, and religious rights of the Irish. This was not restricted to the Catholic Irish, the Presbyterian Irish also were victims.

In 1708, the English raised the rents of the Scottish, now Irish families in Ulster. Often the English would put the land out for bids. Families were placed in the position of having to bid for the land they had cultivated for generations, often against the family of the dispossessed, previous Irish owner's family. The English in so doing, made a new Irish enemy, and hardened the old enemy. The bidding process also increased the enmity between the two Celtic groups who called the land home. The English called for bids again eighteen years later, and then again five years later. When the dispossessed and the oppressed rebelled, the English killed hundreds of thousands outright with the sword and millions more with the starvation that followed.

This situation among the Catholic and Presbyterian Irish triggered a round of emigration from English control. Rather than live unfree in their own land or face possible death, many an Irish man, woman, and child left. Others left because they realized that by making improvements on the land, they were in effect raising their own rents come bidding time, which was at the whim of the English.

< Percentage of Irish leaving Ireland in the period 1841 - 1851

Thousands fled Ireland. Many of these immigrants went to the new colonies in the Americas. They found the English administration in the Americas only slightly less discriminatory than in Ireland.

Hearing of this many of the Catholic Irish chose to follow the Wild Geese to France, or to other countries on the continent. There they joined the Catholic and Anti-English armies of Austria, France, Russia and Spain where they hoped to train and gain experience fighting against the English and return to liberate hostage Hibernia. Several times the Europeans, with the Irish among them pushing for revenge, engaged England to no avail.

Many of the Irish who remained in Ireland, the English "transported" to British colonies so they could take their lands or for crimes against the crown which ranged from resisting English authority, to the impertinence of owning a horse. Some Irish were forced into England's army or navy, while others joined British service to escape the shambles of their home with a view to desert on a foreign assignment and begin a new life in a new land. Not a few Irish men stayed in the British service for a military career. In the next few pages are offered ways in which members of the Moran family may have reached their many destinations beyond just emigrating from Ireland.


Things were booming in the war business. Generations of Wild Geese passed on the family business to their sons so that the great grandsons of those who left to join the armies of England, France, Spain or other countries were still in that army more than fifty years later. An example found in the records of just one of the countries the Wild Geese served, France, shows that fifty four years after the Wild Geese left Ireland, 450,000 died - for France!

The greatest number of Irish were in the armies of England, France, and Spain as individuals or in organized Irish units. Each of the countries had at least six regiments that were all Irish. Each country was building colonial empires and fighting to protect territorial gains. This situation gave expanded opportunities to the Irish in their service. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, England, France, and Spain fought so many wars among one another, historians refer to the period as the Second Hundred Years War. The theater of the war spanned the globe. Each of the wars had a counterpart in the Americas.


DATES ......NAME IN EUROPE .................... AMERICA


1689-1697 War of the League of Augsburg .......King William's War

1701-1710 War of the Spanish Succession ........Queen Anne's War

1740-1748 War of Austrian Succession .............King George's War

1756-1763 The Seven Years War .....................French and Indian War

1775-1783 Wars of Revolution .........................American Revolution

Claims for territory in the Americas were based on the results of military expeditions. Most of these expeditions, especially in the case of the Spanish were quite large. Their make up is described in the literature. A typical expedition was described as having three hundred "Europeans" or "whites" accompanied by Indians and/or people of mixed race.

The Europeans or whites are not described as Spaniards or Frenchmen per se, leading one to conclude there were mercenaries and other nationalities among them. As we have noted, there were many Irish in both French and Spanish service as well as in the army and navy of England, Austria, and Russia. The Irish were among the military these countries stationed in their colonies.

Is it not reasonable to suggest there were Irish among the many English, French, and Spanish military land and sea expeditions in the New and old World, and that among them were Morans? There were, and many of them are listed in the Moran Chronology, Appendix X.

The Irish in the service of their adopted countries won many an important battle. King Louis the XIV complained to one of the Irish officers that the rambunctious Irish unit caused him more trouble than the rest of his entire army. "Your Majesty," the Irish officer is said to have replied, "your enemies make the same complaint."

Despite the many political obstacles, many Irishmen rose to positions of importance in their adopted countries. Irishmen became Generals, Marshals, Governors, and Prime Ministers in all three countries (England, France, and Spain). One, Leopoldo O'Donnell, became a Regent of Spain, and another, Patrice McMahon became President of France.

Meanwhile, the less fortunate Irish in foreign military and administrative positions were usually kept on the battle front, or out in the provinces and colonies far from the heart of their host country. Regrettably, they were even farther from Ireland.

I know that I shall meet my fate

Somewhere among the clouds above,

Those that I fight I do not hate,

Those that I guard I do not love

William Butler Yeats

Some of these men found themselves in the Americas before or during the American Revolution. Elements of the Irish regiments of England, France, and Spain were in what is now the southern United States in the eighteenth century. The Irish in the French service were in Georgia. Irish units of Spain were in Florida and New Spain. Spanish archives show an entire battalion of Irish troops from the Ultonia Regiment was stationed in Mexico City for three years beginning 18 June, 1768. The British had Irish units in the Carolinas, Canada, Jamaica and Brazil. Officers from these units often served as officials in colonial administration.

The bureaucracy and military of the colonial provinces presented another opportunity for Irish in Spanish, French or English service to be in places other than Ireland. There was a time when the Spanish Governor of Texas was Hugh O'Connor and the Spanish Governor of Louisiana was Alexander O'Reilly. O'Reilly arrived with an entourage of three thousand "Europeans." A political protege of O'Reilly's from Natchitoches district was appointed Governor of Texas in 1779. O'Reilly went on to be Governor General of Cuba, and then the Captain General of Madrid. O'Connor moved to more responsible positions in New Spain.

Known Irish of note in Spanish Florida include: Arturo O'Neill who was Governor of Pensacola in 1787. Captain Antonio Patricio Walsh who owned an extensive plantation in West Feliciana. The same could be said for those in French service in Louisiana. For example, in 1763, the Commandant of the French fort at Natchitoches was Chevalier Macarti, who was almost certainly a McCarthy or McCarty. McCarthys were in Louisiana as early as 1731 when Charles McCarthy was in New Orleans in command of an engineering detachment. McCarthy received some extensive land grants. Celeste Macarti, daughter of a wealthy Louisiana planter married Don Esteban Rodriguez Miro, the Acting Governor of Spanish Louisiana in 1780, when Governor Galvez left on the Mobile expedition. Miro was later made the Governor in 1785.

As Governor of Louisiana, Esteban Miro formulated an immigration policy based on the activities of four Irish priests: Michael Lampert, Gregory White, William Savage, and Constantine Mackenna. To assist in the project Governor Miro sought agents. In the Spanish records of the time, the following applied to be those agents: Augustin Macarty, William Fitzgerald, Mauricio Nowland [Nolan or Knowlan(d)?], Bryan Bruin (Bruen?), James Kennedy, and William Butler. Miro's replacement, Carondelet, originally pushed for immigrants of Irish stock to settle areas of Louisiana, and many were admitted. One settlement of five hundred Irish families were to have settled on the Calcasieu River at the Gulf of Mexico.

The next Spanish territory south of New Spain was New Granada. Among its officials was Ambrose O'Higgins. He, too, rose in politics. His son, Bernado O'Higgins, and his compatriot, Simon Bolivar, were the liberators of South America. They had, as staff officers, men named: O'Leary, O'Connor, D'Evereaux, Murphy, Cochrane, and McKenna. In 1819, Bolivar had in his service the Irish Legion. It was composed of over 2,000 Irishmen, including the son of Daniel O'Connell, Morgan O'Connell.

Another group of Irishmen, over 500 strong, known as the Hibernian Regiment, was fighting in Haiti. They helped liberate South America from Spain; but that, too, is another story.

Many Irish and some Morans used this political advantage to immigrate into the New World. For example, I know there were Morans among the Wild Geese, and that several were in Spanish service. In 1562, a Moran was Mayor of Honduras. In 1589, a Moran is an administrator for the Governor of Del Neuvo Reino de León, New Spain (in Monterey, Mexico). In 1598, there were Morans with Juan de Oñates' troops in the El Paso area. A family of Morans was in Los Adaes, the capital of Texas, in 1767. Another was with an official inspection tour by officials from Mexico City of Texas in 1777.

This is an example of an Irish name appearing early in the New World as a result of the Wild Geese. Some of the family moved as the colony expanded. There were, no doubt, many others.

There are other trades to consider outside the military and government before discussing general immigration as a means of Morans leaving Ireland.


Ireland is an island nation and therefore a nation of sailors and fisherman who often ventured far from home. They could easily have gotten off the boat and elected to stay at some foreign land or were shipwrecked and forced to begin a new life in a foreign place.

Irish sailors were recruited by one or another of the competing colonial powers both voluntarily and involuntarily. Ballina in County Mayo is a Moran stronghold and a seaport as is Westport and smaller towns and villages on the Irish coast. Clew Bay is the ancestral home of one Moran family.

The Irish were not always recruited from Ireland. Some of the recruits came from the Irish in the overcrowded islands of the West Indies islands to which the English had "transported" many an Irishman. During Cromwell's time, sizeable Irish populations were on Jamaica, Nevis, St. Christopher Island, Barbados and Montserrat in the Caribbean. Many of the Irish on these islands went willingly as indentured servants with an eye to moving on after having completed their terms of service.

For more detail on the Irish of Montserrat follow this link >


Young Irish Catholic men were in foreign seminaries because they were not allowed to practice their religion in Ireland, let alone study it. Those Irish who heard the call to this vocation had to go outside of Ireland to answer it. The French and Spanish troops were always accompanied by Catholic priests. These priests were usually from the Dominican, Jesuit, or Franciscan orders, all of which had many Irish among them. Not a few Irish missionaries did the work of God and king, while exposing the natives to Celtic culture. One of these was a Jesuit missionary, Father William Moran who was known to be in San Augustine, Florida in 1726.


Another area where there may have been Irish, besides as military or religious support, to English, French, Spanish and other colonial administrations, was as agents to the indigenous peoples or traders. The French, English and Spanish all supported Irish and Scottish traders in several of their colonial areas.


In the give and take of the constant wars, the Catholic colonies of Spain and France lured some Irish from British territory (and authority) that were formerly French or Spanish. The lack of authority and supervision in the vulnerable Spanish territory had to draw others.

When British, French, and Spanish colonialism began to break up, many Irishmen saw an opportunity. Their dream of getting back to Ireland or continuing the fight against England began to fade. A new sense of nationalism burned in these men to help "free" the lands where they spent their manhood. They now wished to become a part of these emerging countries' inaugural history. Others in Ireland saw their chance to start a new life in a new land.

The first Irish immigrants to arrive in the Americas were mostly the Presbyterian Irish from Ulster, though there were healthy numbers also emigrating from the other provinces. Later, it was the Catholic Irish who arrived in greater numbers in America. So many Irish immigrants came to the United States just before the American Revolution that a large percentage of the Continental Army was Irish. Still more came when the English were defeated and driven from the United States.

Most of the Irish immigrants stayed very close to where they got off the boat, in the closest U.S. port cities to Ireland. In the northeastern United States, ethnic groups, including the Irish, were kept together by the economics of the job and housing markets. Many Americans resented this sudden influx of mostly poor Irish and openly showed it. There were constant, daily reminders of their ethnicity from the outside, so the Irish tended to become insular to take care of their own. There were church, charitable, benevolent, and other social societies or organizations which, while supporting the Irish community, reinforced their dependency on themselves and their traditions. This was not the case on the frontier where there was plenty of space and plenty of room for independent pioneers. The more hardier Irish and Morans among them were drawn to the frontier for the freedom it offered.

Discrimination was not a major problem on the frontier. When things got rough and neighbors pulled together, your neighbor's accent didn't preclude you from accepting his help or offering yours. The next time it may be you or one of your own needing assistance, and there were not that many people around for one to be choosy.

The rigors and remoteness of the frontier gave many Irish acceptability, but it took them away from any Irish support group, including their church. Lack of priest, pastor, or clan accelerated the assimilation of some Irish into a new identity that was developed locally.

In Canada, the Catholic Irish found the Ulster Irish controlled the urban areas so they headed west for the frontier. Many of them became lumbermen and miners and helped to settle the frontier west.

This was true to a lesser degree in the United States. Besides the mining and lumber country of the Northern United States, there were some Ulster and Catholic Irish moving, from generation to generation, south and west with the frontier. For many Irish this meant migrating to Pennsylvania, then to Virginia and the Carolinas, to the Ohio River Valley, then on to Kentucky, and Tennessee. From there, they began to move West. Succeeding generations wanted to do as their parents and grandparents had done by expanding their opportunities and make a new life for themselves in a new land. These pioneers moved into Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and then to Texas and on to California and Oregon. Others came later from the crowded coastal cities looking to find a better life. They followed the trail cut by the pioneers.

Still others had an easier route their port of entry was Savannah, New Orleans, Mobile, or San Francisco.

The Irish, with many Morans among them, have spread their seeds and planted themselves in places far, far from Ireland and done it for so long that there are more Irish and Morans outside of Ireland than in it.

In the late 1830's, the population of Ireland was approaching eight million. More than one hundred and fifty years later, in the 1990's, the population of Ireland is only three million. Five million people gone!

Gone too from Ireland are the children and grandchildren of those five million. This negative population growth reflects the number of Irish who died or departed Ireland, and the despair of those who stayed and refrained from bringing children into English slavery.

Generations of Erin's sons and daughters left for other lands and became fathers and mothers for their new country. In the 1990 Census; the United States recorded 42 million of Erin's children. As the name Moran is the 60th most common Irish name, it is not difficult to believe that there are Moran families in most of the lands to which the Irish traveled.

The Halbert Company, in 1995, using a network of computer sources in Europe, North America, Australasia and Africa searched a 220 million name database to locate Moran familes. Using numbers they found, they estimated there are almost 12,000 people in Ireland with the name Moran and that there are more than 118,000 outside of Ireland with the name Moran. Sixty three percent of those were in the United States.

Another 32% were in the English speaking countries of Great Britain, South Africa, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Most of these Morans are aware of their Celtic connection.

A good many of the remaining 5% named Moran in the other countries such as Spain, Austria, Italy and France may not be aware of their Irish ancestry.

Family tradition often goes back to an individual whose first name is not known nor any of their personal history. He may have been a simple Irish soldier in the service of England, France, Spain, Austria, or Russia; a deserter, shipwrecked sailor, a fisherman, trader or child from one of them. They don't know and many of them don't care. They are happy where and who they believe they are. Others among this small percentage are aware of the Celtic connection . Even if they can trace themselves back to an Irish progenitor, to what extent are they Irish if they have been "in-country" for more than four or five generations?

In San Antonio, Texas, the Morans take up three pages of that city's telephone book, but unless you speak Spanish, you can't talk to many of them. Similarly the phone book in Montreal, Quebec, Canada lists many, many Morans and unless you speak French, you can not communicate with many of them.

Many of these Quebec Morans are from truly French families such as Morand or Morant where a predecessor dropped the last consonant. Most however, in both cities, could probably trace their name to an Irish Moran who was at one time in the territory and in the service of France or England.

For you purists out there who find it hard to say a Mexican or French Quebec Moran has or could have an Irish heritage, you should know the Irish themselves are as homogenized as the United States.

Through out their history they assimilate and are assimilated, yet certain traits seem to shine through. We have said the Irish were Celts, or Gaels but those are large groupings of not entirely similar tribes. It was the custom of many of these Celtic/Gaelic tribes to raid enemy territory and bring women back, making them wives. The Celts married daughters of trading partners, allies and enemies. It was a Celtic custom to place sons or daughters in the care of allies whose allegiance might have been questioned but for the fact the Celts had the sons or daughters of their allies in return.

What happened when these sons or daughters were never returned for various reasons that could occur?

At their peak the Celts spanned a large area covering the current countries of France, England, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Bulagaria, The Netherlands, Denmark, Albania, Belgium, Romania, Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Croatia, Serbia and Yugoslavia, plus outposts in Turkey, Sweden and Norway.

There were the mercenaries serving in Scythia, Egypt and Sicily. The Celts absorbed many peoples as they grew and again as they migrated. Caesar observed when the Celts were being pushed into France, or Gaul as he called it, the Celts assimilated many tribes along the way. He remarked that some of these people often became hibernis hibernoires, more Irish than the Irish themselves. You can still see that trait in Saint Patrick's Day celebrations the world over.

When the Irish took root in Ireland they again absorbed peoples and cultures: Firbolgs, Nemedians, Parthlonians, DaDannan, Melisians. Some of these tribes were literally married into extinction.

There were the also Viking raids into Ireland by Danish and Norwegian peoples. They didn't just come and go, they founded cities like Dublin, Waterford and Wexford.

Irish Celts raided Wales, Spain, England and Portugal.

The invasion of the English brought the Scotch, Normans, Angles, Jutes, Picts, Saxons, Elizabethians, Crowmwellians and Williamites. The latter brought allies of every type, including some French Hugenots, Germans, Scotch and many Dutch. Many of these people inter-married with the Irish. Some of the harshest laws passed for Ireland were to discourage the penchant the invader had to becoming Irish. Edmond Spenser wrote

Lord, how doth that country alter men.

Again the Romans had a phrase for it:

Hibernia capta ferum victorem coepit, "Ireland absorbs her conquerers."

Many of the French, Spanish and Italian/Vatican survivors of attempts to free Ireland from Protestant England were taken in by Irish families and eventually became a part of those families or formed new Irish families.

Not all of those who came to Ireland or were even born in Ireland wished to be called Irish. The Duke of Wellington was born in Ireland of English parents. He considered himself English. However, he may well have not been at Waterloo were it not for his Celtic connection. Chaim Herzog, the former Israeli representative at the United Nations and a President of Israel was born in Ireland. His father was the chief rabbi of Ireland. He might not have been President were it not for his Celtic connection. Legally, today, both men could be considered Irish. There are two sides to the point.

Matthew J. Conway in his book, Highmarket "As you Were", makes the point when reviving a conversation between Irishmen about an Englishman born in Ireland. One claimed him to be Irish and the other responded,

And I tell you that because he was born in Ireland does not make him an Irishman. Just because the cat had her kittens in the oven, don't make 'em biscuits.

To be sure, some people are more Irish than others. The point is the individual and his or her part in human history may not exist were it not for their Celtic connection.


Sometimes it is hard to make the Celtic connection. Contributing to this were many factors. In America, one of these was the pioneer's response to census takers when asked where he came from. He would reply in an Irish brogue his family came to America from England, which was technically correct as many an Irish familycaught the ship sailing to America from English ports particularly Liverpool. Some came to Texas saying they were from the United States. If he wished to give more, he might say Louisiana or Tennessee, even though he just passed through these places after he got of the boat. Eager to be a part of their new country, and often just as eager to put behind them a tragic past, many an Irish family got off the boat, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders or Canadians.

There were many other reasons confusing the issue, an example of one was Patrick Dalton, the second in command of the San Patricios who left the U. S. Army and fought during the Mexican War on the Mexican side. He was from the barony of Tirawley, the home of my ancestors, near Ballina in County Mayo, Ireland. At the time he applied to enter the United States Army he was a deserter from the British Army in Canada. The U. S. Army had a policy to not accept Britsh deserters, so Dalton told the U. S. officials he was born in Quebec.

Some Irish changed their names. Others would simply drop the, Mc, Mac or M'. Or, as in the case of O'Briens, dropped the O' and became the Briens and then later changed it to the Bryans. Still others would just take another Irish name, like Moran that could easily be from France, Spain or Italy. Some could not spell and omitted or added letters to their names.

Some Morans missed the proper pronunciation of their name as it was in Ireland where it is pronounced like the word `more' and `in' with the emphasis on the last syllable. To correct for this they changed the spelling to Morin or Moren and if they wanted the soft roll of the `r' preserved as well, they would make it Morrin or Morren.

There is also the problem of the Irish being grouped as Anglo, or from the United Kingdom, or British Empire. From 1800 until 1921, Ireland was considered part of the United Kingdom to most of the world. A part of it still is claimed by the English.

Another consideration is: Irish surnames are more difficult to ascertain than you might think. A complication was the anglicizing of Irish names by the English which began with their invasion in 1169. An example is the name Mac an Bhreitheamham, which the English made MacEbrehowne, and then through further simplifying over a period of years to MacEbrehan, then to MacAbrehan, MacAbreham, and finally to the Jewish seeming Abraham.

In 1465 the English Parliament "ordeyned" that "..every the County of Dublin, Myeth, Uriell or Kildare... shall take unto himself an English surname of one towne as, Sutton, Chester, Trym, Corke, Kinsale; or colour, as white, blacke or brown; or art or science, as smith or carpenter, or office, as cooke, butler...under payne of forfeyting his goods."

If an Irish name was just too complicated, the English anglicized the family name. Even if it was not long and complicated, many an Irish family name was massacred anyway. The family, O'Faich, was anglicized in different areas of Ireland as: Fee, Fye, Fey, Foy, and Fay. Sometimes the name was translated from Gaelic into the name Hunt. So you see, it is not easy to spot an Irish name.

The shame of all this is an Irish family name can be represented in a variety of ways due to corruptions in their use, ignorance, translation, and anglicizing. The best of example of this is in the book by Edward MacLysaght, Supplement to Irish Families, where he cites the case of a MacEnaney family. Six members of the same family, father, mother, and four children, had on their tombstones different spellings of their name: McEneaney, McAneaney, McAneny, Mc Enaney, McEneany, and the pseudotranslation, Bird. MacLysaght goes on to list 38 variants of the name in all.

Sometimes the English took many vaguely similar names and rolled them into one. The name, Moran, for example, can be traced backwards to include: MacMurrone, MacMouran, MacMoran, MacMorin, MacMorran, McMorran, M'Morran, Morayne, Moeran, Murran, Morren, Murren, Murrin, Morin, Moarn, Moraign, Moraine, Morane, Mourn, Muran, Mughron, Morrin, Muiren, O'Moran, O'Morahan, O'Moghrain, O'Moirin, O'Mughroin, O'Muireain, O'Murchadhains, MacMorine, O'Morone,Morran, and Moran.

The Irish in French and Spanish service had their names Francocized or Spanishcized. Examples are Ceridan, Macarti, Donoju for Sheridan, McCarthy and O'Donaghue.

Finally, I wish to make an oblique Irish connection in the lives of some people. These are the people who carry an Irish name and are not necessarily Irish. This list would include people from other cultures who took Irish names for a variety of reasons. Examples include immigrants who came after the Irish, such as the Poles and Italians, who wanted to be a boxer or policeman when these fields were dominated by the Irish (and their complexion allowed for it).

An example is Diamond Jim Moran. When he was a young Italian boxer, the Irish controlled the sport, so he took the name Moran to be able to continue his boxing career. He went on to other things but kept the name. He became very successful, enough so to sport diamonds whenever and where ever he could. In the 1930s, he bought a famous New Orleans French Quarter restaurant. The restaurant is still there, still famous and named Moran's Roman Restaurant. It was operated by his sons, Jimmy and Tony for many years. Today it is owned by just Tony and the restaurant is called Tony Moran's. Bugs Moran of Chicago gangster fame who escaped the massacre on Valentine's Day that was meant for him was Polish. He took the name Moran because at the time the Irish controled the area he was living in and he wanted to get ahead on the street.

Many Negro families have Irish names because of paternal connections, but some have the name for other reasons. When slavery was abolished and the need to have a last name became more important, many adopted a name they had been associated with, or admired. Often, they took the name of their overseer or plantation owner who was Irish. As they were previously known as Mr. Reynold's Bob, for example, the transition to Mr. Bob Reynolds was a natural. Where ever the name came from, for what ever reason, the fact is: a percentage of surnames in the Black community is of Irish origin. There are many Black familes in the South, particularly in Texas and Louisiana with the name Moran. Many of their descendants have migrated to other areas.

The last group to consider are the wives of Irishmen whose own families before marriage had no Irish connection. The custom throughout most of our history was for a woman to go by her husband's name, for example, Mrs. John Moran, or more simply Mrs. Moran. Though not Irish themselves, many of these women became, as they say, more Irish than the Irish themselves. In other cases they had nothing to do with things Irish, but just by carrying the name, there was an Irish connection. Still others had children who did have an Irish heritage. Those children that became prominent shed some of fame's light onto their mother. Though these mothers had an Irish last name, they had no Irish heritage save their own immediate family. There is also the converse to consider. The Irish woman who marries outside her culture. Isn't she still Irish and are not her children nonetheless Irish to some degree. Two names that come to mind as examples of this are De Valera and Markiewicz, two of Ireland's greatest patriots.

All this is to inform you it is not easy to find out from whom you came. Added to all that which has already been mentioned is above is the fact that the many rebellions in Ireland destroyed many of the records. Many counties have records that can take genealogists or interested members of Moran families back to only about 1820's. There are other records dated earlier that mention Morans such as tax records and probate records but piecing them together with later birth, marriage and death records is no easy task. Some families send a representative to Ireland to seek out cemeteries to see if they can find a link. This is a low return proposition as many gravestones are worn away, gone, unreadable, in Gaelic or lacking in information beyond the last name and a phrase.

What follows, then, is only part of the story that which is supported by records or oral history of the Irish in general and of the Moran families. In particular the Morans of my family who are from the area of the former province of Connacht in northern County Mayo between Clew Bay and the river Moy, particularly just east of Crossmolina in a little area known as Carrowkeel.

For those of you from other Moran families, I have included in the appendices information I hope will help you including genealogical charts of Morans not related to my Morans. Check also the bibliography to get leads such as Patrick Edward Moran's work on Moran's from Offaly, T. Whitley Moran's genealogical work on Morans from Fermanagh and Leitrim, John Bell Moran's book on French and Canadian Morins that became Morans ;or the Cowherd, Barber and Gardner family genealogies that all have Morans in them. These family histories show Morans in Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina. Patrick Moran's book covers a lot of Morans in those areas as well as Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. John Bell Moran's Morans stayed mostly in the Michigan and Illinois area. There are other Morans mentioned as well in the Moran Chronology.

Go to the Table of Contents

Go to a section on the Wild Geese