The name MURPHY originally appeared in Gaelic as O Murchadha or Mac Murchadha, meaning sea warrior. According to Irish lore, the Murphy family are descendants of the ancient line of Heremon, who along with his brother Heber, is the ancestor of all the ancient Kings of Ireland. Variations of the name include O Murphy, MacMurphy, Murphy, Murfree, Morphy, Morfey and many more.

The earliest record of the name Murphy was found in several places in Ireland, where distinct septs arose. Septs called Murphy were found in the counties of Tyrone and Sligo, and are now also common in Armagh and other parts of Ulster. However, the most important Murphy sept held a family seat I the county of Wexford in Leinster, where the Chief of the Name was styled OMorchoe.

The Murphys have produced many notable ecclesiastics, scholars, baards, and soliders. Two of the most famous were the Catholic priests Rev. John Murphy and Rev. Michael Murphy, both of whom were slain in the 1798 uprising. Thousands of people left Ireland for North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. A number of people bearing the Irish name Murphy or a variant arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860.


Recorded as Murphy, Murphie and the Manx form of Curphy, this surname is perhaps both the most famous and certainly most popular of all Irish surnames. It is said to derive from the pre 9th century Gaelic name O' Murchadha, meaning the male descendant of the Sea Warrior. As Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of northern England were for several centuries under Viking control, the association between a name meaning 'sea warrior', and the Vikings is surely more than coincidence.

Traditionally, Irish family names are taken from the heads of tribes or from some illustrious warrior, and this name may have even created the tradition. The great O' Murchadha (Murphy) clan of Leinster were originally centred on County Wexford where the clan chief known as "The O' Morchoe", still resides today. A section of the clan moved west to Counties Cork and Kerry in the early 17th century, and is particularly associated with the barony of Muskerry. John Murphy (1700 - 1770), better known as Sean O' Murchadha na Raithineach, was the last chief of the famous bards of Blarney Castle. Another section moved to Ulster, where they were originally known confusingly as both Mac Murchadha and O' Murchadha A chief from this section was Flaherty O' Murphy, recorded in the Annals of Tir Boghainne, County Donegal. Two heroic bearers of the name were the Wexford priests, Rev. John Murphy (1753 - 1798), and Rev. Michael Murphy (1767 - 1798) who lost their lives in the Rising of 1798.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Domhnall Dall Ua Murchadha, chief sage of Leinster. This was dated 1127, during the reign of Turlough Mor O'Conor, High King of Ireland, 1119 - 1156. Over the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.


Our Murphy family
including Wintere, Brown & Mitchell

Small numbers by a name refer to personal number in listing eg ELIZAZBETH 3 MURPHY ~ see 3


1. ~ ~ ~ WILLIAM MURPHY was born in 1805 in County Armagh, Ireland and served in the British Army 3rd Regiment. He served 22 years 5 months and gained a medal for Arva. His height was 5'10". sandy hair, grey eyes, fresh complexion, a good character, a labourer.

William married JANE MURPHY on 6th June 1844 and had they had four children. The family came to Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand with two of their children from Armagh, Ireland on the Fencible ship Ann arriving on 16 May 1848.

Children of WILLIAM MURPHY and JANE MURPHY included:

*              JAMES 2 MURPHY, born 1844 in Armagh, Ireland.

*              ELIZABETH 3 MURPHY, born 4 March 1849 in Auckland, New Zealand.

*              JANE 4 MURPHY, born 31 July 1851 in Auckland, New Zealand.

*              ROBERT FOSTER MURPHY, born 15 June 1855 in Auckland, New Zealand. Robert died on 16 August 1916 and was buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Otahuhu, Auckland.

*              DAVID MURPHY, born around 1860 in Auckland, New Zealand. David was a member of the Manchester Unity Franklin Lodge when he died in 1916. He was buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Otahuhu, Auckland.

*              ELIZA 5 MURPHY, born 9 May 1863 in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand.

William died on 23 September 1872 aged 60 years, and Jane died on 3 November 1911 also in Otahuhu. They were both buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery, Otahuhu.

From Deaths Pertaining to Early Auckland :

Died 23rd September 1872, WILLIAM MURPHY, of cancer of the neck, aged 68 years. Informant - James Murphy, son, of Otahuhu.
Letter from J McNaulty of Otahuhu, dated 27th September 1872, to the Right Honourable Lt-Colonel Haultain:

Sir, I beg leave to state to your Honour that Private William Murphy, 3rd Buffs, at 1/-, died on 23rd September 1872, and was interred on the above date. Religion, Protestant, Officiating Clergy, Reverend Mr Gold.

From "Deaths Pertaining to Early Auckland" :

On November 3, 1905, at Otahuhu, JANE, the relict of the late William Murphy, in her 83rd year. Came out on the ship Ann in 1848. The funeral will leave her late residence for the Church of England Cemetery at 4 pm tomorrow (Sunday). Friends please accept this invitation. (N Z Herald Saturday 4.11.1905.)

There was a large attendance, especially of the old settlers of Otahuhu and neighbourhood, at the funeral of the late Mrs Murphy, which took place in the Anglican Cemetery, Otahuhu (writes our correspondent). Mrs Murphy was the widow of Colour Sergeant William Murphy, one of the old fencibles, the original pensioners who, under the Administration of Sir Godfrey, founded the pensioner settlements of Otahuhu, Onehunga, Panmure and Howick. Mrs Murphy was the last widow remaining of three old pensioners. She was 83 at the time of her death. She came out with her husband to Otahuhu in 1848 by the ship "Ann", and lived there continuously ever since, being highly respected and esteemed by all who knew her. Mrs Murphy leaves 7 sons, 2 daughters and many grandchildren.

> Refer to the Royal New Zealand Fencibles for more information on families who came to NZ under this scheme, including the ships they arrived on and villages they settled.


2. ~ ~ ~ JAMES MURPHY (WILLIAM) was born in 1844 in Armargh, Ireland and was the eldest son of WILLIAM MURPHY and JANE MURPHY. James arrived in New Zealand with his parents on the Fencible Ship Ann on 16 May 1848. He died on 30 January 1932 in Otahuhu, aged 88 years and was buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery.

From The Royal NZ Fencibles: Copy of article from The Otahuhu Record entitled Pioneer's Death:

On Sunday evening, after a lingering illness, Mr James Murphy, a pioneer of this district, as well as a veteran of the hectic militia days of the North Island settlement passed peacefully over the "Great Divide". He was in his eighty-eighth year. The deceased was well known in Otahuhu, which, by reason of long family association, he elected to make his final home. In recent years he demonstrated that affect by acts of public benevolence which his success in life had made possible. His handsome donation of a thousand guineas to Holy Trinity church some four years ago was a notable gift to the church to which he gave allegiance, and the issue of the "Recorder" of January 28th, was able to announce Mr Murphy's last tribute to the town, prior to his demise. This consisted of the presentation of four acres of land, near the heart of the borough, for the purposes of a public playground, to be known as "Murphy Park". It is possible that his estate will reveal other bequests worthy of his living judgment.

With his parents from North of Ireland, he arrived in New Zealand by the ship "Ann", and lived at Otahuhu. In the militia, as a youth, he served at Clevedon, a storm centre about 1863, and also in other parts of the province. Later, when strife with the natives developed in Taranaki, the spirited young man was again in the van. There, he took up land and proved a good farmer, though he had to contend with all the native vicissitudes of that time and place. Just over twenty years ago, he returned to Otahuhu and took up a holding at Mangere for a time, before retiring and residing in this town, in his own shop property, opposite Hall's Building, the site of the Otahuhu military barracks during the Maori War. He was not married.

The obsequies took place on Monday afternoon. The service at Holy Trinity Church, conducted by the Rev. B Palmer, was attended by relatives, representatives of local bodies, old identities of the district, and friends. There were may beautiful wreaths. The Mayor of Otahuhu, Mr H T Clements, representing the Borough council, attended the funeral.

3. ~ ~ ~ ELIZABETH MURPHY (WILLIAM) was born 4 March 1849 in Auckland, New Zealand and was the eldest daughter of WILLIAM MURPHY and JANE MURPHY. Elizabeth married FRANCIS MARSHALL WINTERE in 1872. Francis was born around 1836.


o                WILLIAM JOSEPH WINTERE, born 1878; died 1956.

Elizabeth died on 1 April 1891 and Francis on 17 October 1911. Elizabeth and Francis were both buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Otahuhu, Auckland.

4. ~ ~ ~ JANE MURPHY (WILLIAM) was born on 31 July 1851 in Auckland, New Zealand and was the second daughter of WILLIAM MURPHY and JANE MURPHY. Jane married FREDERICK BROWN in 1876. Frederick was born around 1848

Children of JANE MURPHY and FREDERICK BROWN included:

o                WILLIAM JOHN BROWN, born 1877.

o                FREDERICK JAMES BROWN, born 1879.

Frederick died on 3 November 1933. Jane died on 12 April 1913. They were both buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Otahuhu, Auckland.

5. ~ ~ ~ ELIZA MURPHY (WILLIAM) was born on 09 May 1863 in Otahuhu, Auckland and was the youngest child of WILLIAM MURPHY and JANE MURPHY. Eliza married HENRY MITCHELL in April 1884 in Auckland. Henry was the son of HENRY MITCHELL and MARY McMULLEN and was born in Auckland on 22 May 1855.

> Refer to the MITCHELL family for more information about the family of Henry and the children of Eliza and Henry.

The Mitchell and McMullen families were also Fencible families arriving in New Zealand on the Fencible Ship Ann on 16 May 1848.

Eliza died on 19 January 1927 in Otahuhu and Henry on 11 February 1922. They were both buried at Holy Trinity Cemetery in Otahuhu, Auckland.

Please note that in keeping with genealogy protocol I have not included information about later generations which may include living persons.
If you have a family connection please contact me for further information

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