Organ - Name Origin & Variants

Organ name origin, as far as I know the origin of the ORGAN surname is undetermined at present, (still working on this one), even though there have been a few stories passed around, The name itself has many variants and meanings, below you will see just a few examples of these:

ORGAN (Eng., Welsh) 1. English: metonymic occupational name for a player of a musical instrument (not necessarily what is now known as an organ). Originated from Late Latin 'organum' (device, [musical] instrument) and from the Greek 'organon' tool, from 'ergein' (to work, do). 2. English: From a rare medieval given name, attested only in the Latinized forms Organus (masculine.) and Organa (feminine.). Its etymology is obscure; it may represent a reworking of a Celt. name. 3. Welsh: A variant of MORGAN, most commonly from 'MORIEN' in Welsh. Could mean Bright Sea or Great Defender. Var.(of 1): Organer. [Source: A Dictionary of Surnames by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges.]

French: habitational name from a place in the Hautes Pyrénées named Organ.
[Source: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4.]

ODHRGAN, the Celtic word for pale or sallow one; ORGANER and ORGER, the old French for musician, organist or organmaker. [ I am told by oral history that the name is Danish in origin and the ORGAN'S were descendants of a Danish family in Gloucestershire. The first reference to ORGAN is in 1292, when RICHARD ORGAN is mentioned in land assessments of Berkeley as a landowner & officer of Berkeley Castle. He is also mentioned as a juror in the case of Sir John De Bohun's will.

ORGAR - ORGER, English for the Anglo-Saxon "Ordgar" a spear; front, van, rince + gdr, a spear. [Source: Henry Harrison who published just after WWI.]

HORGAN - Irish double diminutive suffix for Hoar meaning pale. (Hoar was often used to describe an elderly person with white hair. One of my Hoar relatives changed his name to Horan for some strange reason.) [Source: Henry Harrison who published just after WWI.]

King Eadgar married a girl whose father was named ORGER. He was a Devonshire Ealdorman. Marriage was recorded in the Chronicle A.D. 965.
The Domesday Book names are ORDGAR and ORGAR. These were the Anglo-Saxon forms of the name. [Source: Henry Harrison who published just after WWI.]

ORGAN - ORGANE, Robert, Thomas Organ 1210 Cur (K); This is sometimes matonymic for Organer, John Organ of TREWORIAN (Co) was the son of ORGANA wife of Ives de Treworian (1325 AD v). cf Organus Pipard 1236 Fees (0) [Source: Dictionary of English surnames by R.M. Wilson & Percy H. Reaney.]

ORGAN - Celtic for "pale."

HORGAN - Irish for "hoar" meaning pale again.

The family name is thought to have been derived from the Irish name O'Regan. The Irish and Welsh traded via cutters and because of the difference in celtic dialect, the Welsh pronounced the name Organ or Oregan. There are thousands of people throughout the world with my name and many in the USA. Apparently there is an American publication called "The Book of Organs", which could prove quite interesting.   Is there a spare copy available?

ORGAN, a surname of England and Ireland, in England from Middle English organ - (player or maker of the) organ which, however, in early times denoted a variety of musical instruments, especially wind instruments, or ? from a personal name, probably from Latin origanum - marjoram; in Ireland, a south Tipperary variant of (O)Horgan, Ó hárgdin. (Reaney, Spiegelhalter, MacLysaght). Traced by Guppy in Gloucestershire and by MacLysaght in Co. Tipperary.

In Newfoundland:
Early instances: Michael, of Isle aux Morts, 1835 (DPHW 30); ---, of St. John's, 1839 (Newfoundlander 17 Jan 1839); Michael, fisherman of B(r)azils (Burgeo-La Poile district), 1840 (DPHW 101); David, of Brunette (Island), 1840 (DPHW 109); George, fisherman of Red Island (Burgeo-La Poile district), 1845 (DPHW 101); George, fisherman of Little Bay (Burgeo-La Poile district), 1860 (DPHW 99); Mel, of St. John's Island (Northwest coast), 1862 (MUN Hist.); James, of Bonne Bay, 1866 (DPHW 93); James, of Gaultois, 1871 (Lovell); David and John, of Harbour Gulley (Fortune B.), 1871 (Lovell). Modern status: Scattered, especially at St. Veronica (Fortune B.) and St. Albans. Place names: Organ Bight 47-49 56-08; ---Island 47-41 58-07.
[Source: "Family names of the Island of Newfoundland" By E.R. Seary.]

(O) HORGAN This is an almost exclusively Munster surname. The 66 birth registrations for 1890 were all for that province, 40 were in Co. Cork and 21 in Co. Kerry. 1864 figures are show 86 Horgan births registered that year all except two (Dublin and Clonmel) were in counties Cork and Kerry. There is 4 Ballyhorgans in Co. Kerry, all in the barony of Clanmaurice, and the 1901 census records 142 families of Horgan there. Most notable person of the name, Rev. Mathew Horgan (1777-1849), P.P. of his native parish of Whitechurch, Co. Cork, was a poet, Gaelic scholar and antiquary. The name occured sometimes outside the borders of the southern province, e.g. pardon of David O'Horegane, a kern of Leix in 1551. This is probably a misspelling of O'Horahan (or O'Hourihan) since a sept so called was located at Dunamase, Co. Leix. This name is Ó hanradáin in Irish, better known in Thomond where it is anglicized O'Hanrahan. The Gaelic form of the name, Ó hArgáin, is said to be a corruption of Ó hAnradáin, which is the name of the erenagh family of Ross, Co. Cork, anglicized Hourihane there and Hourigan in Co. Limerick. Synonyms of Horgan used in Munster are Harrigan (Listowel) Horrigan (Kenmare and Mallow) and Organ(Cashel).

(O) Dargan / Dorgan, The Gaelic name O Deargain, the root of which is the adjective dearg (red), has taken the anglicized form Dargan in Leinster, and Dorgan in Munster. The latter is almost confined to Co. Cork (where there is a place-name, Ballydorgan) while respectable families of Durgan have long been resident in the midland counties. As a Gaelic sept they were of little importance so that they seldom figure in the Annals, the "Book of Rights", the Fiants, the "Topographical Poems", "An Leabhar Muimhneach" or any of the usual sources of genealogical information. There were two prominent nineteenth century men of the name: William Dargan (1799-1867), the chief builder of Irish railways and promoter of the Dublin International Industrial Exhibition of 1853; and Edmund Strother Dargan (1809-1879), the Irish -American judge, a remarkable character of whom many amusing anecdotes are told.

The DARGAN family Crest

We are still not sure if there is an ORGAN family crest or whether one ever exisited ... (the search goes on), the closest we have managed to get at this stage is the Crest pictured on the right), belonging to the DARGAN family which was supplied by .... Loree Organ Holliday.

In order to understand the significance of the origin of ORGAN as a name, it is important to grasp the concept of why and how naming systems developed. It was not just a matter of finding a convenient way of identifying, or attracting the attention of a particular person.

The Concept of Idenity:

Names are thought to have originated in order to associate people with a particular tribe, clan, place, village, and/or to identify their occupation, and/or to define physical features. As a word, "clan is a derivative of the Latin planta, which means "a shoot, a cutting", and was introduced into the English language via its Gaelic form: "clann", meaning "children, offspring, family, stock". The word clan" came to be applied to a tribe, race, group, class or set of people, and/or one of the familial groups of Alba, the precursor to the country known as Scotland.

In Scotland, clan names developed from the classification of the Scots, who came from the north of Ireland, separately from the picts, the earliest Celtic inhabitants of Scotland, as well as from the names of the provinces, and their governing Mormaert, or King, gradually being adopted as surnames - but, again, clan names developed around individuals as a consequence of their feats, etc. However, through continuing the Irish system, the Scots divided the clan into "septs"  (division of tribe); in Scotland, clan septs being three classes. They were defined as the important clansmen who were related by blood to the principal line, old families who were frequently related to their adoptive family and often retained their own name, and individuals or groups who sought protection of the clan yet either retaining their own name or adopting that of their protector.

Historically, though, the Chinese are considered to have been the first people to utilise surnames, circa 2852 BC, under Emperor Fushi. In that country, the surname was derived from the sacred Chinese poem Po-Chia-Hsing. In accordance with Chinese custom, the surname is followed by a generation  name, chosen  from a familial poem; those names were followed  by  the third or given name.

Similarly the Romans, who began by using only one name, adopted the use of three names. The first name, in this culture, was the given name, followed by the clan name, then the family name. Occasionally a fourth name was assigned to indicate some outstanding deed or event.

In Europe during the Middle Ages, the use of a single given name was prevalent, but gave way to adding a second name to distinguish between individuals, utilising a place name (St. Francis of Assisi), a physical characteristic (Lambert Le Tort = lambert the Twisted), occupation (Piers Plowman), or the use of the father's name.  Prior to the advent of fixed surnames the Irish used a patronymic naming system in which the prefix Mac denoted "son of" and Nic indicated "daughter of".  Using this system, surnames changed from generation to generation, reflecting the father's first name.  A similar system was used in Wales and still exists in some parts of the world today.

Eventually the use of a second name became customary and, by the 12th Century, was not hereditary or familial in origin.  Fixed surnames were now becoming increasingly accepted and were often derived from a common ancestor from whom all later generations traced their descent.

Some of the earliest in Ireland included the prefix "O" or in its older form "Ua" meaning "grandson of" and of course, "Mac".

Over time however, names changed. There are many reasons for that change. People, who do not like their name, or who wish to distance themselves from other relatives, or who simply do not wish to be associated with a name, will directly change it. Not only that, but depending on the prevailing illiteracy rate, often a name is recorded at a church, or registry office in the manner in which it sounded to the recipient. In Ireland, for instance, a reduction in the literacy rate occurred between 1841 and 1851 due to the Great Famine causing a reduction in the number of educational facilities, and through emigration. As far as has been feasible, the possibility of such changes has been taken into account both in seeking the origin of our name, and in the construction of the various family tree branches.