Recorded in several spelling forms including Harrigan mainly from Listowel, Horgan (Cork), Horrigan (Kenmare and Mallow), Hourihane (Cork), Hourigan (Limerick),and Organ (Cashel), this interesting surname is of pure Irish origin. The meaning is obscure, but is probably 'the descendant of the son of the grey haired one'. It is claimed to be an almost exclusively Munster surname, although it seems that in the Middle Ages a sept called O' hArragdain existed in County Leix, from which the later nameholders may have descended. In 1890, of the sixty six birth registrations in Ireland, forty were in County Cork and twenty-one in County Kerry. There are four places called Ballyhorgan (the place of the Horgans), in County Kerry, all in the barony of Clanmaurice, and the 1901 census records one hundred and two families of this name in that county. The Horgans, the Gaelic O' being rarely if ever found now, is also the name of a notable family of Ross, in County Cork. Amongst the sample recordings in Ireland is the christening of Daniel Horgan on November 19th 1789 at Killarney Roman Catholic Church, County Kerry, whilst the first known recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of David O' Horegane. This recording was dated 1551, at Leix, County Leix, and during the reign of King Edward V1 of England, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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