Orr Family History & Genealogy

24,467 biographies and 95 photos with the Orr last name. Discover the family history, nationality, origin and common names of Orr family members.

Orr Last Name History & Origin



The name is also from the Norse, Orri, meaning Black Grouse. There is developing evidence that we were Vikings who came to Scotland on one of the raids and stayed. According to oral history, an Orr sailed with Erik the Red in 1000 A.D.


ORR NAME (From a family history researched by Howard G. Orr, 1908 - 1996)

Traditions say that the name, Orr, is of Scotch origin.

One tradition says that it comes from the French name D'Or, becoming Dorr and then Orr in Great Britain. The story is that the D'Ors came to Scotland with William the Conqueror in 1066 and were given lands for their services. (The French "d'or" means "of gold." A range of hills southeast of Paris is named Cote d'Or - hills of gold.)

Another tradition is that the name, Orr was originally MacGregor and all of the name was dropped except the last syllable following the defeat of the MacGregors by the clan Campbell. These defeated people named the river Ayr or Orr in their retreat and set it as a deadline.

Much discussion has taken place over the years with regard to the origin of the name Orr. It has swayed to and fro between England, Ireland and Scotland. It is generally agreed that the name is a corruption of the Gaelic "odhar" which indicates "one of pale complexion", but records do not show the name as being of Irish origin.

There is little doubt that the surname Orr is an appellation of a group of Scottish inhabitants who claim descent from the same ancestor. Records show that they originated in Renfrewshire, Scotland, and the ancestor in question was of fair or pale complexion.

The name is prominent in the Northeastern part of Ireland, which is the point nearest Scotland and it is generally believed that these Orr families stemmed from there.

In the year 1296 a Hew Orr "rendered homage" in return for a piece of land. In those days when a man "rendered homage" he became a Vassal to a King or Nobleman and in return for his promise to fight forty days in any one year to protect the King from his enemies, help pay ransom money in the event his master might be kidnapped or captured by the enemy, he would receive land and a house which he could hand down to his son when he died. The ceremony of "rendering homage" was elaborate and solemn and was an honor in those days when many people were serfs.

In the year 1503 four persons named Orr were summoned to Court to answer serious charges of "bad conduct" made against them by the Abbot of Paisley.

The ancient coat-of-arms granted to the name Orr is blazoned "Gules, three piles in point argent, on a chief or a tortears between two crosses crosslet fitchee of the field." The background of the shield is red on which is three points of silver. A gold band across the top is charged with a red circle between two crosses pointed at the bottom.

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Gregory Orr commented on Jan 02, 2011
I noticed some discussion about Luke Orr. He is my great-grandfather. His son, Irving Orr, is my grandfather. Irving Orr married Cora Kiefer and their second child was Edgar Orr, my father. We don't have any information about Luke Orr after he left the family and presumably moved to Seattle??
Kathy Orr Singh commented on Feb 23, 2015
Looking for relatives of William. Fred.Duane and Eugene Orr from South Dakota

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