Orfin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient Scottish name Orfin was first used by the Strathclyde-Briton people of the Scottish/English Borderlands. The original bearer of the name lived in the parish of Irving in the county of Dumfriesshire or from Irvine in Strathclyde. There are a variety of possible origins of the name and we will explore some of them here. One source claims the name was a "descendant of Erewine (sea friend); or one who came from Irvine (green river), in Ayrshire. " 
Another source postulates the name was from "Mac Heremon, 'Here-mon's Son.' Heremon was the seventh in descent from Milesius, and became monarch of all Ireland.  And another believes that Irwin was "the Irish form of Irvine. The singular Christian name Crinus, which prevails in the family of I. of Tanragoe, co. Sligo, is traditionally derived from Krynin Abethnas, the second husband of the mother of Duncan, King of Scotland." 
Early Origins of the Orfin family
The surname Orfin was first found in Ayrshire, at Irvine, a parish, in the district of Cunninghame, about 26 miles (W. S. W.) from Glasgow.
"[Irvine] derives its name from the river on which it is situated, and appears to have attained a high degree of importance at a very early period. The inhabitants obtained from Alexander II. a charter conferring upon the town all the privileges of a royal burgh; and a charter confirming all previous grants was subsequently given to them by Robert Bruce, in recompense of their services during his wars with England in the reign of Edward I." 
Alternatively, the name was "from Irving, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire, There are many Irvings (or Irvines as most of the Dumfriesshire families spell the name) here." 
According to voice of tradition, they descend from Duncan "the first of Eryvine," killed at the battle of Duncrub in 965. As far as records are concerned, the earliest listed was William de Irwin, an armor bearer to King Robert the Bruce. He received a grant of lands encompassing the Forest of Drum, on the banks of the River Irvine. And it was here that he had Drum Castle built which would become the family seat of the Clan for centuries. The river originally was named Lar Avon, or West River.
Robert de Hirvine, ancestor of that previous William was mentioned in a Charter dated 1226 and he was at that time tenant of the Douglas Clan. From 1331-33 the family received further grants of land and by 1400 had become a very predominant family. The Chief of the Irvines lead his Clansmen in the Battle of Harlaw in 1511. Sir Alexander Irvine was slain there, and it was said of him: 'Gude Sir Alexander Irvine, The much renowned Laird of Drum.' 
"Washington Irving (1783-1859), the American author, was son of William Irving, a native of Shapinsay, Orkney." 
Early History of the Orfin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Orfin research. Another 279 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1057, 1376, 1324, 1331, 1332, 1411, 1602, 1587, 1323, 1976, 1411, 1752, 1759, 1762, 1763, 1769, 1455, 1658, 1411, 1638, 1685, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Orfin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Orfin Spelling Variations
Spelling and translation were hardly exact sciences in Medieval Scotland. Sound, rather than any set of rules, was the basis for spellings, so one name was often spelled different ways even within a single document. Spelling variations are thus an extremely common occurrence in Medieval Scottish names. Orfin has been spelled Irwin, Erwin, Irvine, Irving, Urwin, Erwine, Ervin, Erwing, Ervynn, Ervine, Erwynn, Irwing, Irwryn and many more.
Early Notables of the Orfin family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was Adam Irvine, Burgess of Irvine in 1455, doubtless derived his surname from Aberdeenshire.
Sir Alexander Irvine of Drum (d. 1658), the Royalist, "was descended from William de Irvine, who was armour-bearer to Robert Bruce, and was rewarded for his devoted services by a grant of the forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, at that time part of a royal forest. A grandson of William de Irvine (Sir Alexander) distinguished himself at the battle of Harlaw (1411), in a hand-to-hand encounter with MacLean of Dowart, general of Donald of the Isles, in which both were slain...
Another 116 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Orfin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Orfin family to Ireland
Some of the Orfin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 144 words (10 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 Orfin family
Such hard times forced many to leave their homeland in search of opportunity across the Atlantic. Many of these families settled along the east coast of North America in communities that would become the backbones of the young nations of the United States and Canada. The ancestors of many of these families have rediscovered their roots in the 20th century through the establishment of Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Among them: Andrew Ervin, a boy of 16; landed in Barbados in 1684. Over the next two hundred years the Irving name was to settle mainly in the state of Pennsylvania. William Irwin settled in Virginia in 1642.
Related Stories +
The Orfin Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Candide et constanter
Motto Translation: Fairly and firmly.
- ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
- ^ Moore, A.W., Manx Names. London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1906. Print
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)