Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Moss Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Moss has origins in both England and Ireland, and it is widespread throughout both of the islands. There are two possible origins of this surname of Moss. Moss has been used as a surname in Ireland for centuries, as a form of the Old Gaelic name “O’Maolmona” which can be translated to mean a “descendant or devotee of Maolmona.” The “O’” denotes that the original bearer is the son of, grandson of, or also another male heir of. The “maol” can be translated as “tonsured one”. In this specific case the meaning would be “devotee of” or “follower of.” The saint’s name is another variation, which here would be “Mona” which derives from “Munnu.” St. Munnu who died in 635, served for some duration of time on the Island of Iona in the country of Scotland, and then founded a monastery at Taghmon, in County Wexford. “Moss” has been substituted for “Maol” and “Maolmona” because of the sloppy translation of “mona” as meaning “moorland” or “turf bog.” In Counties Fermanagh and Donegal, the surname is more correctly Anglicized as “Mulmona” and “Malmona.” In England, the surname is believed to be a topographical surname, meaning that it is used to describe one who lives on or near a man-made or natural phenomenon. In this case, the surname of Moss is used to describe someone who lived on or near a swamp or a peat bog. This comes from the Old English “mos” which can be defined as “bog” or “morass”. It could also have come from “Moss” or “Mosse”. Both of which are more normal medieval form of the personal name “Moses.”
More common variations are: Mosse, Moass, Mossy, Mossa, Mossi, Mosso, Mouss, Moiss, Mossu, Moess
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Moss is found in the country of England in the year 1153. This person, recorded as being named on Almer Mosse, was mentioned in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. This document was ordered, written and decreed under the reign of King Stephen, who was known as and commonly referred to throughout history as the “Count of Blois” and ruled from the year 1135 to the year 1154. Those who carry the surname of Moss in England and Wales. This name is found in almost al of the counties throughout these countries, but the places with the highest concentration of people who bear the surname of Moss are in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Essex counties, as well as the city of London.
Those who bear the surname of Moss can be found mostly in the counties of Lanarkshire and Midlothian.
United States of America:
Throughout the 1700’s the European Migration was bringing settlers to the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World or The Colonies. The first people with the surname of Moss to land in this new country were Richard Moss, Joe Moss, Jane Moss, and Jo Moss who all settled in the state of Virginia in 1635. Those who bear this name live in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.
Here is the population distribution of the last name Moss:
United States 86,888, England 26,447, South Africa 10,082, Australia 7,643, Canada 4,745, Germany 3,161, The Bahamas 2,392, Brazil 2,019, Kenya 1,569, Wales 1,388
Thomas Warren “Tom” Moss Jr. (1928-2015) who was the 52nd Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates in the years 1991 to 2000, and was a politician from America
Larry Moss (died in 2014) who was an actor and director as well as an acting coach who wrote Intent to Live which was an acting textbook
Jerome S. “Jerry” Moss (born in 1935) who was a recording executive from America, and was also the co-founder of A&M Records, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the year 2006
Santana Terrell Moss (born in 1979) who is a football wide receiver in the NFL who is from America
Randy Gene Moss (born in 1977) who is a professional wide receiver in football from America
Frank Edward Moss (1911-2003) who was a politician from America, and was a United States Senator from Utah in the year 1959 to the year 1977
Mr. John Barrow Moss (died in 1915) who was an English Second Waiter from Crosby, Liverpool, England who was working aboard the RMS Lusitania when it sank, and who did not survive the sinking of the vessel, and whose body was never recovered
Moss Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the Moss blazon are the billet, cross pattee, pineapple and horse’s head. The two main tinctures (colors) are argent and azure.
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The bright, strong blue color in Heraldry is known in English as azure, and similarly in other European languages – azul in Spanish, azurro in Italian and azur in French. The word has its roots in the Arabic word lazura, also the source of the name of the precious stone lapis lazuli . Despite this, those heralds who liked to associate colours with jewels chose instead to describe blue as Sapphire. According to Wade, the use of this colour symbolises “Loyalty and Truth” .
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the billet is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. In form it is a simple rectangle though sometimes has a slightly rounded or ragged appearance to reflect one possible origin as a block of wood cut by an axe. . Wade groups the billet with the other square charges as symbols of “honesty and constancy”.
No other symbol appearing in heraldry is subject to as much variation as the cross . Mediaeval Europe was a deeply religious and Christian and many of the nobility wanted to show their devotion by adopting the symbol of the cross as part of the arms. Since no two arms could be identical there arose many variants of the cross, typically involving patterning along the edges , or fanciful, decorative endings to the arms of the cross . The cross pattee is typical of these, pattee meaning “spreading”, and so the ends of the arms of the cross curve gently outwards to rather pleasing effect.
The pineapple is not the tropical fruit (virtually unknown in mediaeval Europe) but litterally the “apple” found on a fir tree, otherwise known as a fir cone or pine cone. Wade suggests that it symbolises “life”, perhaps due to the promise of new birth from the seeds contained with the cone.