To all researchers:-
The ultimate origin of this name is believed to be topographic from the olde english pre 7th century "ORA" meaning a shore or slope. Several places in england are named with this element including Oare in Berkshire, Wiltshire Kent etc., and in Ore in Sussex. *The first recording of the surname in England is at the beginning of the 13th Century, (see below)*.
The surname is widely recorded in Renfrewshire, Scotland from the end of the 13th Century. One, HEW ORR rendered homage in 1296. The occurrence of the name in Ireland is comparitively modern ie mid 17th century.
On September 16th 1661 the christening of ARTHUR, son of THOMAS and SAINE ORR, is recorded at St. Michan's, Dublin. However, the majority of the namebearers reside in the Ulster counties of Antrim, Down, Armargh and Tyrone.
Family names as hereditary surnames did not come into general use until after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans introduced National Taxation to england which they called the Poll Tax(Poll=Head), in consequence the need for surnames for identification purposes.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of ALEXANDER ECTOR ORR (1831-1914), born Strabane, co. Tyrone who was the pioneer of the subways in New York City.
*Which was dtaes AGNES de (of) ORE *.
During the regin of 1210 - The Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire. Scotland, Ireland and Wales obtained formal records later than england, and this is reflected in the recordings. All surnames of every Countyh have been subject to changes owing to dialect.
If you have any comments or wish to know anymore about the family name, ie motto or crest(s) then do not hesitate to get in touch.
Peter H. Orr
B.Sc., IAP., IEEE, RAYNET