Tracing the McMORRANs around the World

This page was last updated 1 January 2003


I am conducting world-wide research into the McMORRAN surname including spelling variants such as MacMORRAN, McMORAN
McMORREN, McMORINE, McMORRINE, McMORRIN, McMORRON as well as researching my own family history (I am descended from the McMorrans of Crawfordjohn, Lanarkshire).  I have extracted thousands of historical references to individuals with these surnames from church records, censuses, birth, death and marriages registers, shipping lists, newspapers and various on-line sources and I have been in communication with and received extensive help and input from many people related to families bearing these surnames in Scotland, England, Ireland, Canada, the USA, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

I began this project after researching the roots of my own family's arrival in Australia and having always found the surname to be relatively uncommon wondered about others of the surname who lived in Australia. Although I knew none of my immediate family in Australia bear the McMorran name I wondered if there may have been some connection between those other McMorrans in Australia and my Scottish forebears from Lanarkshire (via Edinburgh).

My first contact with a non-related McMorran was around seventeen years ago when I met a gent who spelt his surname the same way (as the Brisbane phone books then listed several McMorrins as well as McMorrans).  I queried him and he said his family were definitely from Ireland. Having already begun research on the family and established the surname was Scottish I figured his ancestors although possibly from Ireland may have emigrated there from Scotland originally but my subsequent research showed the situation is not that clear-cut.

I next contacted another McMorran researcher in 1988 when I wrote to Glenys Ashton-Peach in New Zealand's Bay of Islands who had advertised an interest in the McMorran name in the Genealogical Research Directory (GRD), an Australian produced book which lists the surname interests of researchers worldwide. Although Glenys was also descended from Lanarkshire McMorrans there appears to be no immediate connection between our families (Glenys' ancestors can be seen on the Peebles/Lanark McMorrans page).

Some years later in 1994 I advertised the McMorran name myself in the English magazine Family Tree and the only reply came from John Russell of Stafford on the north side of Brisbane. Despite advertising in an English publication it is uncanny that the only reply came from just 10kms or so across town here in Brisbane, Australia! Further correspondence revealed John and I are probably related through common descent from the Glespin McMorrans of Lanarkshire.

I have also been checking telephone directories and started by checking the McMorrans in Australia incorporating all spelling variations which were listed on the April 1994 edition of the Australian white pages on CD-ROM.  Below is the breakdown state by state:
 

 
NSW
VIC
QLD/NT
SA
WA
TAS
McMorran
8
6
4
0
5
1
MacMorran
1
1
0
0
0
2
McMorrine
8
1
0
0
0
0
McMorrin 
0
0
3
0
0
0
McMorron
2
5
1
2
0
0
McMurran 
4
0
0
0
0
0

All these telephone directory listings were canvassed with a letter and questionnaire and around a quarter replied. Some of those who have responded have gone to great lengths, contacting other family members, and checking facts. Sometimes I have been referred to others with more knowledge of the family or who may have already done some research.  The information obtained from the replies and questionnaires was correlated with information I obtained from the immigration records for the various states, and also the birth, death and marriage record indexes.  There are many other records that could be searched to locate others and flesh out the details such as electoral rolls, probate records, cemetery records and tombstone inscriptions, land titles and newspapers but I have only done this in a somewhat limited way using those records that were easy to access or those that were indexed.

I next wrote to a selection of McMorrans listed in the Canadian White Pages which are available on the internet and I have also e-mailed many persons with the surname found in internet web page and white pages searches. A lot of McMorran vital record information is now available on-line, especially for the USA.

My intention has been to progressively contact as many people with the McMorran surname as I can find, in essence a complete study of the surname McMorran. Naturally there may be McMorran descendants who may no longer bear the McMorran name, and the only way of contacting them is advertising my interest in the surname, and to this end I placed an entry in the 1995 and 1998 Genealogical Research Directories which are distributed to many libraries and individuals worldwide and more recently the internet equivalent, the Roots Surname List (see link section on main page) which contains contact details for various surname researchers as well as many other genealogical web sites.

Most of the early Scottish references to McMorran were extracted from the index on microfiche of the Old Parish Registers of births and marriages for Scotland and the updated Church of Latter Day Saints International Genealogical Index (the IGI). In addition to these are the various census records for many Scottish parishes, especially the 1881 and 1891 censuses of Scotland which are indexed. The indexes to the statutory registers of births, death and marriages from 1855-1897 have become available on-line on the internet since 7 April 1998.  The LDS have also recently released Vital Record Indexes for the British Isles and North America on CD-ROM which contain additional records not available in the IGI.

I now receive regular e-mails from people with an interest in McMorran and related surnames, as many as four a week.  This has been the most lucrative source for family history information yet.  By correlating all the correspondence I have received with the records I have, many family trees have been constructed and those that I have been sent have been expanded and branches of families united.  The pattern of McMorran emigration throughout the world has slowly emerged.

This project is an ongoing one and the readily updatable nature of the internet suits the purpose ideally.  I have decided against publishing the full contents of this site in any other form but I do encourage various families to write up the saga of their own line as I hope to do for my own eventually.

Marcel Safier 2001, 2002, 2003
THE McMORRAN ONE NAME STUDY : home page | mcmorran surname index
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I welcome contact about any aspect of the site or the family surnames:
Marcel Safier, P.O. Box 539, Annerley 4103, Queensland, Australia, msafier@ozemail.com.au