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Surname:  Moore
Branch:  Moore
Origins:  British
More Info:  England

Background:  The name Moore is one of the leading surnames from the English speaking world. This is an english and an anglo-norman name and may not necessarily describe a nationality, but more of a nickname.

When the French wanted to indicate that a man was exceptionally dark, they frequently launched into a metaphor and called him a 'Moor' in the form of le Maure or Maurice. This latter was the name of a saint and could be used as a Christian name or as an adjective. The English had had little direct contact with Moors before the Crusades, but the French, brought up on legends of Charlemagne's victories, knew all about them. Besides, Vikings, from whom the Normans as well as the Scandinavian element in England were descended, had raided Mediterranean coasts in their long boats, and so Moor, though a remote figure, was quite well enough known by hearsay to be used as a byword for a very dark man. One of the landowners in Domesda Book is 'Matheus de Mauretania', the Latin conceling the real name. It is possible that he had been to North Africa, but far more likely that he was very dark and his Norman friends called him 'Maurice.' In plain English his name would become Matthew Morris.

The personal name More is from old France - Maur (Latin Maurus), in the vernacular More, either 'a Moor' or swarthy as a Moor. There was a 6th century saint of this name. Le Mor is a nickname. From Moore (Ches), More (salop) or from residence in or near a moor (OE mor, moor, marsh, fen).

A Moore is a sparsely inhabited wasteland anywhere from Yorkshire to Devon, and a man who lived even on the edge of it, probably a shepherd or herdsman, was apt to be identified with it in other men's minds. But in connection with this name we have only to remember the tendency to call a dark man a 'moor', or even 'as black as a moor', which produced the common word 'blackamore' and the surname. Blackmore (which can also be local), to realize that in this case geography and personalities are hopelessly mixed together.

Motto:  Spectemur agendo, Let us be viewed by our actions.
Arms:  Ar. on a fesse, az. three mullets, pierced of the field, within a bordure, invecked, gu.
Crest:  A Moor's head, in profile, couped a the shoulders, ppr. turban ar.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

We are unable to locate the history for this surname. If you can provide us with this information, then please contact Arms & Badges!

Name Variations:  Moor, Moore, Moores, Moors, More, Mores.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
English Surnames; C.M. Matthews - 1966.
A Dictionary of English Surnames; P.H. Reaney - 1958.

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