Foghan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
When the Strongbownian's arrived in Ireland there was already a system for creating patronymic names in place. Therefore, the native population regarded many of the Anglo-Norman naming practices that these settlers were accustomed to as rather unusual. Despite their differences, the two different systems eventually merged together rather insidiously. The Strongbownians, when they arrived, displayed a preference for used nickname surnames. Two of the most prevalent forms were oath nicknames and imperative names. Oath names often carried blessings or were formed from habitual expressions. Imperative names, formed from a verb added to a noun or an adverb, metaphorically described the bearer's occupations. The nick name surname Foghan is derived from a nickname for a person who wore a habitual expression of discontent or unhappiness. The surname Foghan is derived from the Welsh word gwgan, which is a diminutive of gwg, which means frown or scowl. The Gaelic form of the surname is Ugán.
Early Origins of the Foghan family
The surname Foghan was first found in Pembrokeshire in southern Wales. However, it is believed that they were descended from Gwrgyn, the Lord of Bryn in the county of Denbigh in north Wales. Very early in the family's history, an important branch were granted lands by Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in his invasion of Ireland in 1172 and thus began the dual country origins of the name. The progenitor of the family is believed to be Gwgan Ap, Lord of Brecknock, one of whose descendants married the heiress of Wiston, who was a descendant of Wizo the Fleming, Lord of Daugleddy.
One of the first on record was Sir John Wogan (d. 1321?), Chief Justice and Governor of Ireland. He was the son of "Sir Matthew Wogan (by Avicia, heiress of Walter Malephant), and great-grandson of Gwgan, son of Bleddyn ap Maenarch, Lord of Brecknock. Gwgan, whose name in course of time was softened into Wogan, married Gwenllian, the heiress of Wiston in Pembrokeshire, where his descendants were subsequently settled. " 
His son, Walter de Wogan (died after 1328) became an Irish administrator, soldier and justice of the Justiciar's Court in 1318, He later became second justice of the Court in 1324. Richard Wogan (died after 1453) was an Irish judge and cleric who held the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
Early History of the Foghan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Foghan research. Another 51 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1542, 1448, 1542, 1556, 1543, 1554, 1588, 1644, 1621, 1622, 1625, 1629, 1640, 1644, 1620, 1625, 1648, 1649, 1702, 1672, 1638, 1708, 1679, 1685, 1700, 1681, 1685, 1678, 1758, 1317, 1321, 1295, 1313, 1317, 1650, 1716 and 1654 are included under the topic Early Foghan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Foghan Spelling Variations
It was found during an investigation of the origins of the name Foghan that church officials and medieval scribes often spelled the name as it sounded. This practice lead to a single person's being documented under many spelling variations. The name Foghan has existed in the various shapes: Vogan, Wogan, Vogin, Vogen, Voggan, Woggan, Woggin, Woggen, Woggon, Voggon, Voygan, Voigan, Woigan, Woiggan, Wogand, Vogand, Vogant, Wogant, Woggant and many more.
Early Notables of the Foghan family (pre 1700)
Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Sir Henry Wogan, steward of the earldom of Pembroke in 1448; Sir John Wogan, a gentleman usher of the king's chamber and was granted certain offices in Pembrokeshire and Cardiganshire in consideration of his services in England and abroad, Sheriff of Cardiganshire in 1542 and 1556, and of Pembrokeshire in 1543 and 1554; Sir John Wogan (1588-1644) a Welsh politician, Member of Parliament for Pembrokeshire (1621-1622), (1625-1629) and (1640-1644); and his son, Thomas Wogan (born circa 1620), a Welsh Member of Parliament and one of the regicides...
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Foghan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Foghan family to Ireland
Some of the Foghan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 157 words (11 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Foghan family
Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Foghan: David, James, and John Vogan arrived in Philadelphia in 1858; Patrick Wogan arrived in New York State in 1804; George Wogan settled in Virginia in 1663.
- Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print