Friday, March 11, 2011

Around the World with the Ogan Surname

The Ogan surname has been found in many countries and has had several spellings, some intentional; some accidentally misspelled in records. I have yet to research all the areas.

Surprisingly, the surname is dispursed all over the world. It is found in many places in Africa, Indonesia and is also found in Germany (Nordrhein-Westfallen, Bayern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Saarland, Niedershassen, Schleswig-Holstein, Vlaanderen, Hamburg), Poland (Slaskie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie), and Argentina (The Pampas, Gran Chaco, and Cuyo) according to Public Profiler World Names. It would be wonderful to find people with the surname in some of these countries and hear from them.

OGAN from Turkey

Public Profiler World Names indicates that OGAN is a Muslim name from Turkey, and that the OGEN spelling is European. The origins of the other spellings are not known by this source.

OGAN in Ireland

According to The Internet Surname Database The Little Book of Irish Clans by John Grenham, OGAN was a descendant of an uncle of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland (1002-1014), who lived in the 10th century literally means “young man”.

The following lineage appears in John O’Hart’s Irish Pedigrees; or the Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation (1892, reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, Md., 1989, p. 307fn) for the HOGAN line up to the first indication of OGAN, thus showing an Irish connection. HOGAN derives from this OGAN. The book states:

Cosgrach, brother of Cindeidh kenneth or kenneda of the O’Brien pedigree, was the ancestor of O’hOgain, of Munster. The lineage:

104. Cosgrach: son of Lorcan: a quo Cosgrave, of Munster
105. Aitheir: his son.
106. OGAN: his son.

WOGAN and HOGAN are possible connections to OGAN

The WOGAN surname has also been recorded as OGAN according to The Internet Surname Database. Before the 7th century, the surname derived from a personal name “wagan,” and as a surname it is believed to be English, Irish, and Welsh. It is first recorded in 1292 in the county of Cumberland, England when John Wagan appears in the charters known as 'Placita de quo warranto', and later in Yorkshire in 1297 when John Wougan, who could possibly be the same person, appears in the Ministers Accounts of the earldom of Cornwall. In Ireland the name is first recorded in 1317 during the reign of the famous King Henry V (1314 - 1322).

Modern forms of WOGAN are OGAN, OUGAN, and OOGAN and are found in counties Louth and Dublin. OGAN and OWGAN appears in the 1659 census in the barony of Shelburne, Wexford. The form UGAN appears in Cork. This name is written as U’GAN in Irish (pronounced Oogawn).

Rev. Patrick Woulfe's Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall (Irish names & surnames) Dublin 1923 states that various spellings of O’HOGAN and HOGAN is from a descendant of OGAN who descended from Coscrach, the uncle of Brian Bora. The line of HOGAN was a Dalcassian family and were seated at Ardcrony, about four miles north of Negagh in Co. Tipperary. There is also a family in Corca Laoighdhe, in southwest Cork and the name is very common in Musnter, Limerick, Clare, and Cork.

He further states that UGAN, OWGAN, WOGANE, OUGAN, OOGAN, OGAN, WOGAN, and VEGAN are Welsh and derived from “gwgan” which cmes from “gwg” meaning a frown or scowl. The WOGANs settled in Kildare after the Anglo-Norman invasion with Rathcoffey being their county seat.

The Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght (Irish Academic Press, Dublin, sixth Edition, reprinted 1999) agrees with Woulfe that OGAN and OOGAN are synonyms of WOGAN in Louth and Dublin.

Coat of Arms and Motto

There are two Blazon of Arms described for the OGAN Clan. The ancient arms are described as sable on a chief gold three annulets of the field (another the tinctures reversed). Edward MacLysaght's Irish Families: Their Names, Arms and Origin, (New York: Crown Publishers, 1972) similarly describes the O’HOGAN arms as sable on a chief gold three annulets of the field. In O’Hart (1989) the arms is described: Black, three lions passant in pale gold each holding between the forepaws an esquire’s helmet proper. Crest: A dexter arm in armor embowed, the hand grasping a sword all proper. The motto Fulminus instar translates “Like Lightning”.

Future research may focus on the surnames HOGAN and WOGAN as being related to the various OGAN lineages.

Given all this, surname origins must be viewed in terms of the surname location, information found though research, and by DNA testing which determines what families are related and which evolve from the same origins. All three areas must work together to determine the source of the surname for any given family as the surname may have several origins.

Through the OGAN DNA Project, testing has determined that several families which were suspected to relate in the United States do have a common ancestor. To date, all of those tested are from a haplogroup considered Western European. In order to find the origins of the surname, more testing from other countries is needed. As I wish to find my roots in England or Ireland, I am interested in sending a free DNA test to males in those areas. Contact me at for more information.

If your surname is Ogan, share with us more about where your ancestors lived and who they were. Your story (with permission) could be posted here and you can find others who are your cousins.

copyright 11 Mar 2011

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