Select Morrison Surname Genealogy

Here are some Morrison stories and accounts over the years:

Morrisons in the Outer Hebrides

The Morrisons of Lewis established a fortress named Dun Eistein on the northern tip of the island. They gave rise to ten generations of hereditary judges or brieves who were well briefed in Gaelic law and held sway from their seat at Habost in Ness near the Butt of Lewis. 

Their power was broken in 1616 when Hutcheon Morrison confessed on his deathbed to being the natural father of Torquil MacLeod.  Torquil overcame the MacLeods and then turned on his allies, the Morrisons, and drove them from their lands. 

One tradition has it that the line of brieves was originally descended from the Morrison heiress of legend and the Macdonald of Ardnamurchan she had married in the 1340's.  The Morrisons of Harris have laid claim to be of this original Morrison line.  Their seat was at Pabbay, a small island off the coast of Harris.  It has been from these Morrisons of Pabbay that the current Morrison clan chief descends.

The Morisons of Bognie

Alexander Morison had obtained the lands of Bognie in Aberdeenshire in 1635.  His son George built Bognie House and lived there in some splendor with his wife the Viscountess Frendraught: 

"The household of Bognie, besides the Laird and Viscountess, consisted of their son and two daughters - Barbara Morison, a sister of the laird's; Elizabeth Blair, his niece; and Christian Ramsay, a niece of the lady's. 

There was also a chaplain, a steward, the laird's page, a man cook, a footman, and a groom; likewise, a farm grieve, five male and three female servants - in all twenty-three persons, which bespeaks the importance and affluence of the family at the close of the 17th century." 

Bognie House was a tall four storey rectangular unvaulted palatial structure, with crowstep gables and possibly corner turrets. The window facings appeared to have been removed for use elsewhere, leaving only the relieving arches.  It is just a ruin today. 

There is a faded memorial panel to George Morison who died in 1699 in Forgue parish churchyard.

Mylvorrey to Morrison in the Isle of Man

Patrick Mylvorrey was born about 1761 in Ballaugh and he and his family lived at Glenshoggill near Ballaugh as farmers and farm laborers.  When Patrick married his name was recorded as Morrison.  His children and were baptized variously as Mylvorrey and Morrison between the 1780ís and the 1820ís.   The next generation generally became known as Morrisons. 

Patrick's grandson William moved to Santon in the south east of the Isle of Man.  It was Williamís grandson William Ernest Morrison who migrated to Australia in 1910.

Morrison House in Londonderry, New Hampshire

The Morrison House is one of the few pre-revolutionary homes existing in Londonderry and it is considered to be a landmark.  It was originally owned by the Morrison family who had escaped Ireland and come to Londonderry (the name of their home town back in Ireland). 

The Morrison House was originally built on Rockingham Road in Londonderry in 1760.  Its many original features included a large center chimney fireplace with beehive ovens and brick hearth, Indian shutters, a borning room, wide pine floors, nine over six pane windows, feathered clapboards, and 18th century door latches.  Now completely restored, the Morrison House is a fine example of an 18th century farmhouse as it would have appeared in the mid-19th century.

William Morrison, Early North Carolina Settler

William Morrison was one of four brothers who left Ulster for Pennsylvania with their father James in 1730. William and brother Hugh settled in Chester county where William secured the plum job of tax collector.  The other brothers, Andrew and James, were to be found in Lancaster county, probably Drumore township. 

William Ė and possibly one of his brothers - moved onto North Carolina in the early 1750ís.  He was recorded as being among the first settlers of what was to become known as the Fourth Creek Settlement.  He built a mill on his land in 1752 and lived on for another nineteen years, dying there at the age of sixty seven in 1771.

Morrisons - Father and Son

Brought up in Bradford, William Morrison started selling butter and eggs there on a wholesale basis in 1899.  Shortly afterwards he opened a stall.   By the 1920ís his business had flourished enough to allow him to open his own retail stores offering counter service.  The operation remained a small, Bradford-area focused business throughout his lifetime, the company's warehouse being in the garage behind the family's home. 

Morrison had six children, the youngest of whom, Ken, the only boy, was born when Morrison was already 57 years old.  In 1950, with his health failing, William Morrison offered the family business to Ken after he had just joined the company. 

Ken Morrison approached the grocer's trade with a new perspective.  Rather than the small, urban center shops run by his father, Morrison saw the future in larger-scale supermarkets, particularly in ex-urban and suburban locations.  At the same time, improvements in packaging and increasing branding of grocery products were occurring, coupled with a growing trend toward self-service shopping.  Taking over as company chairman in 1956, Ken Morrison steered the family company into the newly developing supermarket industry, placing prices on all of its goods and adding checkout lines, a first for the Bradford area. 

Morrison next turned his attention to opening new stores.  In 1962, he bought an abandoned theater in Bradford and converted it into a supermarket.  Once transformed, the theater offered some 5,000 square feet of retail space and a parking lot for the company's increasingly mobile customers.  The success of that store encouraged Morrison to begin opening new stores.  In 1967, the company backed its expansion with a public offering on the London Stock Exchange. 

Morrison's focus remained on its northern England region.  By the late 1970ís the company had succeeded in establishing itself as the region's top supermarket and one of the top chains in the country.

Return to Top of Page
Return to Morrison Main Page