The Morrison Name

The name, MORRISON, is most commonly associated with the Scottish clan of either the mainland "son of Morris" (or Maurice) of Norman origin, or from the Hebridean Isles of Harris and Lewis. 
The Wikipedia free encyclopedia - Clan Morrison provides more detail on the various origins of Morrison families. This includes how the Hebrides were settled by both Norse Vikings and Irish (or "Scottish") Gaels, who intermarried with each other and with the indigenous "Picts".

The name Morrison of Gaelic origin is said to have been an Anglicised derivation of mac Ghille Mhuire, meaning the "son of the servant of St. Mary". This Anglicisation most likely occurred during the Protestant Reformation and which also included the stamping out of the Gaelic language.

However our earliest known Morrison family hails from the Isle of Man and the Manx Morrison origins appear to be similar to the Scots.

Ms. Frances Coakley, who has edited “A Manx Note Book” (available on her web site) explains the Manx Morrison name origins. There it is indicated that the Morrison name was Anglicised from Mylvorrey or McIllvorrey meaning "the son of Mary's servant". This occurred generally in the late 1700s and early 1800s. See the Manx Note Book website for further details.

The Manx Note Book also indicates that Mylvorrey has also been traced through a dozen variants from MacGilvorra, 1513, Mac-giolla-Mhuire (Mary) and which is cognate with MacGilborr.

The "Mac" in these names refers to "the son of" as in Ireland and Scotland. Also used was "ine" meaning "the daughter of". In the 1511 Manorial Roll of the Isle of Man for the Parish of Balylagh (Ballaugh) there are a number of MacGilborrs mentioned.

Surnames tended to become established in the Island in 16th century, before which time many people were identified by a personal name and a family identifier similar to in Ireland or Scotland at the time. Parish records in the late 16th century, these names had more or less standardised to the modern forms. (Ian Killip, Manx Genealogy Bulletin Board, 15 June 2006.)

It is interesting to note that the 1511/1515 manorial roll is virtually 100% mac/ine for Manx names. By the 1703 composition book probably less than 5%. (Frances Coakley, Manx Genealogy Bulletin Board).

(Click to enlarge)

Our Manx Family

Research to-date places our early Morrison ancestors around the village of Ballaugh in the north-west of the island, and particularly in the Ballaugh Glen area.

One of our earliest known ancestors was Patrick Mylvorrey was born in Ballaugh in about 1761 to Thomas Myvorrey and Margaret Stephan.  The family lived at Glenshoggill near village of Ballaugh as farmers and agricultural labourers.  When his son Patrick married his name was recorded as Morrison and his children and were baptised variously as Mylvorrey (or Mylworrey) and Morrison between the 1780s and the 1820s. The next generation generally became known as Morrisons. Patrick's grandson William moved to Santon in the south east of the Isle when he married and it was his grandson William Ernest Morrison who migrated to Australia.

Ballaugh Glen

David Craine in "The Glen of Ballaugh" from Manannan's Isle - A Collection of Manx Historical Essays, writes:

"The Glen has many euphonious names to match its natural beauty-the treen names Carnedal, Scrondal and Glion Dhoo; field names like Breckan y Kayl and Magher ny Castal; the hill slopes of Brough ny Vannag and Ard ny Crongan; and the subsidiary gills of Glion Vorrey, Glion Shoggyl, Glion Shellagh, and Glion na Halaina.

At the Carmodil Glen foot, where its stream joins the Ballaugh River, is an interesting little group of houses, one of them with an outside stairway; and nearby is the site of Keeill Vorrey, the Chapel of the Virgin Mary. A boundary hedge crowns the chapel hill, which on the far side has been completely dug away. There is little visible evidence of the building which once stood there. From time immemorial the Mollavorras - the devotees of the Virgin Mary, and perhaps the original guardians of the keeill have clung to the slopes of the glen, and the Anglicised form of the name, Morrison, is still to be found in the neighbourhood."

Ballaugh Old Church
A Mrs Morrison outside her cottage in Ballaugh Glen 1870s (Courtesy of the
Mrs Morrison of Ballaugh Glen sitting knitting, late 19th century (photo by George Bellett Cowen)



It is not known which Mrs Morrison(s) these photos refer to, but she is most likley a relative.




Notable Morrisons

Other Manx Families

There is quite a number of unique surnames that originate from the Isle of Man and are among the most common found there, even today.

In January 2022 the estimated population of the Island was just over 86,000 compared to the 1881 census estimate of 53,558. The table below shows the most common names found on the Island in the 1881 census and the number of families of each name, with those closely related the the Morrison family highlighted.


The nature of Mann, being an island with a relatively small population, meant that the more common and unique surnames recurred often in our family tree.

Some of the more details of families closely related to the Myvorrey/Morrison family, are:

Among other related surnames (again, often of Manx origin) are: Creer, Cain(e), Callister, Stephan and Wade.

IOM Census of Morrisons



Care has been taken to include only accurate information on this site however it cannot be guaranteed. Data from many sources and contributions from fellow researchers make up this site and errors may be present.

Any corrections and additional information would be most welcome.