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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


While the Anglicized 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 Hourihan is O hArgain.

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The surname Hourihan was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they were part of the main tribe in prehistoric times, known as the Corca Laoidhe.

During the Middle Ages, a standardized literary language known by the general population of Ireland was a thing of fiction. When a person's name was recorded by one of the few literate scribes, it was up that particular scribe to decide how to spell an individual's name. So a person could have several spelling variations of his name recorded during a single lifetime. Research into the name Hourihan revealed many variations, including Horgan, O'Horgan, Horgon, Hourigan, Horrigan, O'Hourigan, O'Horrigan, Arragan, O'Arragan, Aragan, Harrigan, O'Harrigan and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Hourihan research. Another 308 words (22 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1715, 1849, and 1880 are included under the topic Early Hourihan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Hourihan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The 18th century saw the slow yet steady emigration of Irish families to British North America and the United States. Those early Irish settlers that left their homeland were typically moderately well off: they were enticed by the promise of a sizable plot of land. However, by the 1840s, this pattern of immigration was gone: immigrants to North America were seeking refuge from the starvation and disease that the Great Potato Famine of that decade brought. The great numbers of Irish that arrived to the United States and the soon to be Canada were instrumental in their quick development as powerful industrial nations. An examination of early immigration and passenger lists uncovered many early immigrants bearing the name Hourihan: John Horgon, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853; Michael and Mary Horgan settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1847; John Horgan settled in Frederick Co. Maryland in 1798.

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  • Joseph J. Hourihan, American naval officer, captain of USS Merrick on Operation Highjump, 1946-1947, led by Admiral Byrd, eponym of Hourihan Glacier, Antarctica
  • Chip Hourihan, American film producer and director
  • Michael F. Hourihan, American Democrat politician, Member of Massachusetts State House of Representatives Fourteenth Suffolk District, 1923-24
  • Mary A. Hourihan, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1944
  • James L. Hourihan, American Republican politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Massachusetts 10th District, 1916


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  1. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  2. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  3. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  4. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Read, Charles Anderson. The Cabinet of Irish Literature Selections from the Works of the Chief Poets, Orators and Prose Writers of Ireland 4 Volumes. London: Blackie and Son, 1884. Print.
  7. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  8. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  9. Land Owners in Ireland. Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1203-3).
  10. Tepper, Michael Ed & Elizabeth P. Bentley Transcriber. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia 1800-1819. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986. Print.
  11. ...

The Hourihan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Hourihan Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 14 January 2016 at 09:30.

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