Orr in Ireland
to Barbara Holt in New Zealand for a new claimant for the
first Orr in Ireland, who appeared in an
Index of Wills in the
Salt Lake City Library of the Latter Day Saints. This
gives a Richard Orr having lodged a will (or his
executors/family did) in 1563. His residence is given as
Clontarf in the Diocese of Dublin, site of a famous
victory by King Brian Boru over the Vikings in 1014.
Richard is an unusual name in Scotland and at first guess
he may well have a different origin. In
Land Of Urr I remarked on the
possibility of a Norse origin from their word `Orri `
meaning `blackcock` ( a bird ) and that a link appeared in
the Lincolnshire Assize Roll of 1298 with reference to a
Roger Orre in 1202. That the name Orre should turn up so
early on the East coast of England where Norman knights
from William the Conqueror's time had lands, raises all
sorts of possibilities. A new twist to the origin and the
Norse men has appeared in recent DNA
tests by Orrs that is throwing up a
Viking/Norsemen/Scandinavian link. This includes the Norwegian Vikings who
founded Normandy in France, and were the ancestors of William the
Richard, he may have been a merchant or trader or a
dealer in cattle from south west Scotland - Wigtownshire
and the Mull of Kintyre is about 110 miles as the crow
flies from Dublin but a mere 21 miles from the coast of
north County Down. Perhaps he was an adventurer from
England. In 1556 Mary, Queen of England, began a
plantation scheme for most of the old counties of Leix and
Offaly which were renamed Queens and King`s County. At
this time some 160 families mainly from England and
the Pale (the secure district around Dublin) were granted
estates there. The settlers had to face resistance from
the native Irish and a century of risings of varying
degrees of seriousness. Whatever Richard`s origin he
was a resident in 1563 and had an estate of some kind to
pass on to his heirs.
As far as I
know James Orr and his wife Janet McClement, were the
first to come to the province of Ulster in about 1607 as
part of the settlement by Hugh Montgomery in County Down.
It is likely that other Orrs came to Ireland in the
Plantation period 1610 - 1630 and settled in County
Donegal; Co Londonderry, and Co Tyrone. We know of John
Orr of Raphoe who was granted denization (citizenship so
that he could then legally own land) in 1617 during the
Plantation, and of an Orr family in Co Tyrone in 1655.
several Orrs mentioned in the Hearth Money Rolls (HMR) and
Poll Tax Returns for County Antrim 1660 - 1669.
(2) Antrim Town 1666 and 1669 HMR.
Widow Orr, Parish of Raloo, townland of Ballywillin. 1669
Robert Orr, Parish of Raloo, townland of Ballyrickard
More. HMR 1669.
Pat Ore, Parish of Ballymoney, townland of Ballymoney.
1666 and 1669 HMR
John Ore, Parish of Ballymoney, townland of Greenshields
Pat Oar,Parish of Billy, townland of Liscolman. 1660 Poll
John Ore, Parish of Kilwaughter, townland of
Ballykeel,1666 and 1669 HMR.
John Oure, Parish of Larne, townland of Larne Town,1669
John Orre, Parish of Finvoy, townland of Knockans.1669 HMR.
John Orr, Parish of Ballinderry, townland of New Park.
valuable source for tracing ancestors are the Tithe
Applotments and Griffiths Valuation which took a number of
years to complete. The original records for Northern
Ireland are in PRONI (ref VAL 1B/ ) and for the rest of
Ireland in the National Archives, Dublin but they have
been filmed by the LDS and an Index is also available on a
commercial CD. An Index for Ireland at the Ulster
Historical Foundation shows that there were some 518 Orr
in the Valuation,
It is well worth the effort
to have a look at the Public Records Office at
www.proni.gov.uk which has a
number of indexes on line. They also have a considerable volume of records
from the large landed estates on which most of the population lived in the
introduction advice and follow the links that will explain what records
are available in the 17th,18th and 19th centuries. They also provide
information leaflets in pdf format which are worth downloading for
There are a wide range of
web sites for Family History in Ireland, some restricted to particular
districts and counties. See Ulster parishes
for details of the counties that formed the ancient Province of
Ulster. For the Counties of Antrim and Down there are substantial BMD
records at the Ulster History Foundation / Ulster Historical and
Genealogical Guild at
www.ancestryireland.com . Their Free Search facility will produce a
listing of references in a wide range of records. It is however, a Pay
Site if you want the full details of a record. Charges are half price for
members of the UHGG.
An excellent site, which
includes a full Griffiths Valuation facility, is
Ros Davies` Co Down web
site is well worth a visit - mountains of information and no less than 26
pages of Orrs in the Surnames Index.