The 1881 Census in the locality of Lochwinnoch 

By 1881 the number of Orrs in the Parish of Lochwinnoch had declined dramatically with just 47 names ( including wives and one grandchild). What is striking is the number of men who remain unmarried, some of mature years; and the numbers of `retired`. The lack of marriages would have contributed to the further reduction of numbers in later years, but it wasn`t the only reason. By the mid to late nineteenth century the industrial revolution had moved on apace and mills of all kinds (Lochwinnoch had flax and linen manufactures)  were no longer constrained to locations for water power for driving the looms, or for associated activities such as bleaching. Steam driven power looms had taken over, the growing chemical industry had produced powdered bleach (lime), and the centres of work for textile related trades had progressed from Paisley and Lanarkshire. The latter had become the industrial centre and here are found the greatest concentration of Orrs in the Census.

The sad truth was that either you went to where the work was; struggled in another occupation; retired if you could afford it, or, became a dependent (annuitant ) of a son or daughter. The infrastructure of the Parish changed and with it came a return to agrarian occupations.   The Orrs generally seemed to go where the work was to be found which is illustrated in the national picture - there there is a presence in all but a handful of counties in England, Scotland and Wales. Where we were located in the 1881 Census . The greater number of Orrs outside Scotland are in Lancashire with a quite high proportion of small farmers, but inevitably there is a wide spread of occupations with hands turned to engineering, textiles and iron working.

A similar pattern emerges in the nearby parishes of Kilbarchan, Beith  and Kilbirnie where there had long been Orrs, many of them from Lochwinnoch. Here too, the numbers unmarried are high with daughters remaining at home with elderly parents. Quite a number are hanging on to jobs in the mills but one wonders for how long.

Orrs residing in Beith

Orrs residing in Kilbarchan

Orrs residing in Kilbirnie


Dumfries and Galloway Region

The deep south west of Dumfries, Kirkcudbright and Wigtown where it is likely that we originate (see Land of Urr ) was another area of dwindling numbers, where residual family groups are mainly associated with agriculture. At least the distillery in Langholm was still going.

Orrs in Dumfries & Kirkcudbright 1881

Orrs in Wigtown 1881


Orr Name Study Ulster Scots Reference material