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HORGAN Family In Australia -Introduction - Their Irish Origins

Horgan Family Crest

This is the HORGAN Coat of Arms. The origin of the HORGAN name throughout Ireland is explained by the following information obtained from Genealogy sources. The coat of arms for a bearer of the HORGAN surname did not include a motto. Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and many families have chosen not to display one. While the Anglicised versions of Irish names are familiar to most people, many Irish names have a long and proud Gaelic heritage that is often unknown. The original Gaelic form of the name HORGAN is O hARGAIN.

The Irish are famous for their poets, scholars, playwrights, authors, artists and statesmen, and evidence of the age of Irish culture is exemplified by the oldest standing building in the world and many pieces of fine jewellery predating biblical times. Researchers have compiled the history of the name Horgan using books by O'HART, McLYSAGHT, and O'BRIEN & W0ULFE, baptismals, parish records and ancient land grants. Historians have concluded that the family name HORGAN was first found in County Cork where they were part of the main tribe in prehistoric times known as the Corca Laoidhe.

The name HORGAN has undergone many changes and variations in its spelling over the years. The surname was recorded HORGAN, O'HORGAN, HORGON, HOURIGAN, HORRIGAN, O'HOURIGAN, O'HORRIGAN, ARRAGAN, O'ARRAGAN, ARAGAN, HARRIGAN, O'HARRIGAN, ORGAN and these changes in spelling frequently occurred within this Irish sept. It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another, and have yet another at his wake.

The ancient Kings of Ireland were descended from King Milesius of Spain, the grandson of Breoghan (or Brian) King of Galicia, Andalusia, Murcia, Castile and Portugal. Milesius sent his uncle northward from Spain with his own son Lughaidh to explore the Western Isles. This was to fulfil an ancient Druidic prophecy. On finding that his son had been murdered by the three resident Irish Kings (The Danans) in Ireland, Milesius gathered an army to take his revenge on the Irish. Milesius died before he embarked on the trip. His succeeding eight sons conquered Ireland.

The distinguished Irish name emerged in County Cork. By the 13th Century the name had branched north to Leix where it was predominately spelled HARRIGAN, and to Kerry where it assumed the name HORRIGAN. The spelling Hourigan was predominant in Limerick and ARRAGAN was assumed in Waterford, in Ballybrack parish and in Tipperary the name became ORGAN. The Gaelic was O h ARRAGAIN. This ancient sept was dispersed throughout Cork, Kerry and Tipperary in 1172 with the invasion of Strongbow of the Anglo Norman intrusion. Many of their estates were forfeited.

In county Cork the HORGANS intermarried with the WALLS of West Muscry and Walter WALL married Mary HORGAN of Cbh, called Queenstown between 1849 and 1922. They had many children most of whom migrated to North America. Meanwhile the ORGANS were also confiscated and Don Pedro (Peter) ORGAN was a Lieutenant of Wauchop and fought in the Spanish Army in 1715 whence the family had fled from Cromwellian oppression.

In 1172 Dermott McMURROUGH, King of Leinster, requested assistance from King Henry 11 of England. This led to the 12th century Anglo Norman invasion of Ireland. Many native Irish families lost their lands and possessions. Five centuries later came Cromwell's invasion, in 1640, when further loss of land befell the unfortunate Irish people. In 1845, the great potato famine caused widespread poverty. Many Irish joined the Armada of sailing ships which sailed from Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Holyhead, Liverpool and Glasgow all bound for the new world. Some called these ships the white sails, others more realistically, called them the "coffin ships" where 25% of the passengers died of cholera, dysentery and small pox.

There is no real evidence that my HORGAN ancestors were on these ships. However a cousin to Ellen CARROLL named Mary CARROLL arrived in Melbourne, Australia during 1867 and settled at Coree NSW in about 1874. I was advised by a family source she did so because of the potato famine in Ireland. On tracing Daniel HORGAN, who arrived in Australia in 1860, via a South Australian Port. Even though I know when and where they were born and who their parents were, tracing these roots has not yet commenced.

The documents and history researched thus far in Australia only goes back to the early and late 1870's in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Therefore, this narrative will resume as facts are discovered. However, information obtained from death certificates show that the HORGANS and CARROLLS of County Kerry were farmers, blacksmiths and farriers, living off the land. They would have been greatly affected by the Irish famine and injustices incurred by their British masters. The skills learnt by their children in their Irish upbringing held them in good stead to begin a new life in Australia where these skills were applied to farming, stock raising and land management.

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