Hogan Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Hogan Surname Meaning

The Irish surname Hogan derived from the Old Gaelic name of O’hOgain, meaning the descendant of Ogan, a nickname which literally translated as “young man.

The original Ogan name-bearer was descended from an uncle of Brian Boru. These Hogans were a Dalcassian family. Their territory extended over the ancient territory of Thomond, comprising most of Clare with adjacent parts of Limerick and Tipperary.

Hogan and Hagan are similar-sounding Irish surnames today. But Hagan has different roots – from the Gaelic O’hAodhagain meaning “little fire from the sun” – and was an Ulster-based clan.

Hogan Surname Resources on The Internet

Hogan Surname Ancestry

  • from Ireland (Munster) and from Holland
  • to America, Argentina, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Ireland. The seat of early O’Hogans was at Ardcroney in the barony of Lower Ormond in Tipperary near Nenagh. They were chiefs of a territory known as Crioch Cian. Records of these O’Hogans as bishops at Killaloe across the river Shannon in county Clare extended from 1250 for about three hundred years.

Hogan remained very much a Munster name. By the mid-19th century and the appearance of Griffith’s Valuation, the following were the counties with the most Hogans:

  • Tipperary – 800
  • Limerick – 256
  • Clare – 219.

The largest number at that time was at Youghalarra parish in north Tipperary. Hogans were still to be found at this time nearby at the old seat of Ardcroney. Sean Hogan, born at Greenane in Tipperary in 1901, was a local IRA leader in the War for Irish Independence.

The two townlands of Ballogan Mor and Ballyogan Beg in Clare, not far from Crusheen, were indications of the prominent position the Hogans once held in rural society there.

Hogans were also in Limerick. Galloping Hogan, as he was known, was a native of Limerick. He was one of the “Wild Geese” who fled Ireland in 1692 for military service overseas. Michael Hogan, born in Limerick in 1828, was an Irish poet known as the “Bard of Thomond.”

England.  Many Hogans migrated to Lancashire in search of work in the 19th century. Two famous sons of these immigrants were:

  • Jimmy Hogan, born in 1882, one of eleven children brought up by his parents in Burnley. He enjoyed some success as a footballer, but more as a coach after he had taken charge of the Budapest club MTK in 1914. He was to be one of the great pioneers of the game on the European continent.
  • and John Hogan a VC hero of World War One, born without a father in 1884, who was to have a distinctly up-and-down life.

America.  Some early Hogans in America have a Dutch connection or maybe even a Dutch origin.  

Dutch/Irish?  Luykas Hooghkerk from Holland was a pioneer of Albany in upstate New York, first appearing in records there around 1686. The Hogan name appeared around 1700 with William Hogan, a soldier turned innkeeper there. Both he and his son William married in the Dutch reform church. Hogans were recorded in the Albany census until the year 1800.

Some have the forefather of William Hogan who came to Brunswick county, Virginia in 1682 as being Johannes Cornelis van den Hoogen from Holland. Others have an Irish origin from Wicklow. William’s descendant Shadrack Hogan was a Justice of the Peace in Anson county, North Carolina in the 1760’s. Many of his sons joined Daniel Boone in his scouting trip to Kentucky in 1779.

Later Hogans.  Other possibly related lines led to:

  • John Hogan of Orange county, North Carolina – a planter and a colonel in the militia during the Revolutionary War. His farm near Chapel Hills is still owned by some members of the Hogan family.
  • and the Hogan families of Richland and Fairfield counties, South Carolina – starting with William Hogan who was born at Chucaw Hill on the Pee Dee river in South Carolina in 1760 and also fought in the Revolutionary War.

Among the Hogan arrivals from Ireland were:

  • William Hogan who came to New York in 1803 with his Irish shipowner father Michael. He was for a short time in the 1830’s a US Congressman.
  • Father John J. Hogan from Limerick who arrived in 1847, making his home in St. Louis. He played an important role in the early history of Missouri, organizing the “Irish wilderness” settlements in the southern part of the state (although they were later wiped out by the Civil War).
  • John Hogan from Wicklow who also arrived in 1847, in this case to Charleston. He spent the next ten or so years on mail steamers before marrying and settling down to farm in Iowa.
  • and John and Martin Hogan, brothers from Galway, who arrived in the 1850’s and settled in Indiana.

William A. Hogan, a blacksmith, had been born in Choctaw county, Mississippi in 1846. He moved with his family to Texas in the 1870’s. His son Chester took his own life in 1921. But his grandson Ben Hogan, born there in 1912, became a champion golfer, one of the greatest who ever lived. His prime years were the 1940’s and 1950’s. During that time he won all four of golf’s major championships, one of only five players to have achieved this feat.  

Canada.  The Maritime Provinces were home to a number of Hogan families from Ireland in the early 1800’s:

  • John and Susan Hogan from Cork arrived in New Brunswick in 1818 and made their home in Renous, Northumberland county.
  • Patrick Hogan from Belfast, Presbyterian, married Martha Clark at Granville township in Annapolis county, Nova Scotia in 1821. Meanwhile Michael Hogan from Tipperary had arrived in Nova Scotia around 1816, settling in Colchester county. His descendants held a reunion party in 2016.
  • while Dennis Hogan from Tipperary, losing his wife on the voyage across, came to Prince Edward Island with his two children in the 1830’s. They made their home in Rocky Point, Cumberland county.

Australia.  The Maitland, NSW database holds 83 entries for the Hogan name at its Catholic cemetery on Campbells Hill. Most of these entries would appear to relate to Patrick Hogan and his extended family who had arrived there from Tipperary in the 1880’s.

New Zealand.  Some Hogans from the Ballindooley district of Galway had emigrated to New Zealand’s South Island in the 1850’s and gotten involved in horse-racing there.

It was, however, a later arrival, Tom Hogan, who came in 1914 when he was just nineteen who really set the horse-racing world alight. He founded a bloodstock dynasty there that became phenomenally successful. This success eventually led to his son Patrick being knighted by Queen Elizabeth.

Hogan Surname Miscellany

Early O’Hogans.  Cosgrach, second son of Lorcan the king of Thomond who died in 942, was – according to the O’Hogan family pedigrees – the ancestor of the family.

They were the chiefs of Crioch Cian, a territory in the principality of Ormond, and had a fortified residence at Ardcroney near Nenagh in Tipperary.  It would appear that a branch of this family settled in Kildare soon after the Anglo-Norman invasion as a Dominican priory was founded at Athy by some members of the family in 1253. O’Heerin said:

  • “O’Hogan of Crioch Cian rules over
  • Clan Ionmanain of the fair lands.”

In 1281 Matthew O’Hogan, a native of Ballyhogan, was the dean of Killaloe.  He was advanced to that see in 1267, died, and was interred in the Dominican convent at Limerick.  He was succeeded by his kinsman Maurice O’Hogan who was concreted in 1282 and governed the see for seventeen years and, dying, was interred in the cathedral. Thomas O’Hogan, canon of Killaloe, was consecrated bishop of that see in 1343. He died in October 1354 and was interred in the Dominican friary of Nenagh.

Richard O’Hogan, a native of Limerick and a Franciscan friar, was consecrated bishop of Killaloe in 1525.  His move to Clonmacnoise where he died in 1538 was the last record of this ancient family.

Hogans in Ardcroney.  The following are some early gravestone inscriptions found in the parish of Ardcroney in Tipperary.

  • Erected by William Hogan in memory of his father Mallachy Hogan who departed this life on October 9, 1787 aged 73 years. May he rest in peace.
  • Erected by Mary Hogan alias Grace for her husband Patrick Hogan who died on November 23, 1797 aged 43.
  • Lord have mercy on the soul of Patrick Hogan who departed this life on June 17, 1821 aged 50 years. Erected by this brother Morgan Hogan.
  • Erected by John Hogan in memory of his affectionate wife Margaret Hogan alias Toohy who died on November 20, 1832 aged 55 years.  May the Lord have mercy on her soul.

Galloping Hogan.  Michael Hogan was born in the parish of Doon in east Limerick and was possibly a relatively wealthy landowner before becoming a rapparee or brigand at the time of English occupation of Ireland.

In 1690 Patrick Sarsfield and his 500 Jacobite troops blew up the Williamite siege train at Ballyneety in county Limerick.  One eyewitness account reported that Galloping Hogan, as he was then known, was given the honor of lighting the fuse.

The war with England continued until the Treaty of Limerick was signed in October 1691.  But Galloping Hogan refused to accept the Treaty and carried on the struggle for a further six months, finally leaving Ireland with the last contingent of Wild Geese to sail from Cork in the late spring of 1692.

Galloping Hogan left Ireland for France where he became a General in the French Army. In 1706 he was forced to leave France because he killed a fellow officer in a duel in Flanders.  He fled France for Portugal where he continued his military career.

Known there as Miguel Hogan, he began teaching his cavalry tactics and in May 1712 contributed to the victory of the Portuguese Army against the Spanish at the Battle of Campo Maior.  The battle made Miguel a hero.  A grateful king promoted his to major general and awarded him a villa and an annual allowance.  His son Dennis also served in the cavalry and became a major general too.

Miguel Hogan remained in Portugal until his death and reared a distinguished family whose descendants still live in Portugal to this day.

Hogans to Kentucky.  It was said that there were six sons of Shadrack and Silence Hogan in North Carolina – William, James, John, Richard, Edward and Philip – who were members of Daniel Boone’s second scouting party into Kentucky in 1779-80.

William married Sarah Grant, the orphaned girl raised by Daniel and Rebecca Boone.  He afterwards settled at Bryan Station where their first child David was born in 1781, making him the second white child born on Kentucky soil.  David, a farmer, moved from Kentucky to Missouri in 1832. A later son Elijah, born in 1794, settled in Okibbeha county, Mississippi where he established himself as a merchant and innkeeper.

James and John ran a ferry at the mouth of Hickman Creek across the Kentucky river in Garrard county.  James later operated a tobacco warehouse there.  The line from John who had married Elizabeth Pinnix in 1781 extended many generations later to Norma Jean Mortensen, better known as the actress Marilyn Munroe.

Richard and Edward had settled in Sumner county, Tennessee by 1792.

Reader Feedback – William Hogan from Georgia to Louisiana.  Looking for ancestors of William Hogan who was born in Georgia in 1784.

He migrated across Georgia in 1814 to the Western Florida parishes east of the Mississippi River near Baton Rouge with his wife, Narcissa (born Goza), daughter and Tabitha (his or her mother). His Louisiana militia was called to action by Andrew Jackson for the defense of New Orleans. He was inducted on Christmas Day 1814 at the New Orleans shipyard.

Keith Hogan (keith@keithphogan.com).

John Hogan, Victoria Cross Hero.  John Hogan was born illegitimately at Royton near Oldham in Lancashire in 1884.  His mother was Sarah Hogan, a cotton speed tenter.  His father was unknown.   Sarah went on to marry Matthew Creagan in 1888 in Oldham and sailed for Boston in 1895. She was widowed by 1901 and was back in Oldham with three girls from her marriage.  John meanwhile was working locally as a piecer in the cotton industry.

In 1903 he enlisted in the army and was to serve in South Africa before the outbreak of World War One in 1914.  On October 29 of that year it was reported:

“After their trench had been taken by the Germans, John Hogan and James Leach voluntarily decided to recover the trench themselves.  Working from traverse to traverse at close quarters with great bravery, they gradually succeeded in regaining possession, killing eight of the enemy, wounding two, and making sixteen prisoners.”

John was wounded in the face by shrapnel later that year and almost lost an eye.  He was evacuated to England and recovered in Manchester and Macclesfield.  He heard of his award of the Victoria Cross from the matron while he was helping to put up the Christmas decorations on the ward.  John was given a hero’s welcome at this time.

But when he returned to the front he changed battalions and was demoted to private after a court martial for drunkenness.

After the war he struggled to find employment.  He sold matches on the streets of Manchester.  He was also a valet to the variety star Benny Ross for a short time. He later was an in-pensioner at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.  He died in 1943.

There was some confusion over what happened to his medal.  Hogan’s family had maintained that the medal had been stolen from his bedside after he died in hospital.  But John Hogan had in fact sold it in 1942 for £60. The medal was later purchased back and presented to the Oldham Civic Centre where it can now be seen. 

Tom Hogan in New Zealand.  The Hogans of Ballindooley in Galway were small farmers who had won a high reputation as producers of good horses.  Tom Hogan’s brother Timothy was a supposed horse whisperer. When Tom set off for New Zealand in 1914 in his late teens he was thus knowledgeable and practiced in the handling of horseflesh.  And in New Zealand was a cousin of Tom’s, PT Hogan, who was born there and was its leading trainer in 1919.

Tom set up his own farm and first dealt in Clydesdale work horses.  It was said of him that you could sell him a horse on Friday and you would want to buy it back on Monday.  He later abandoned Clydesdales and turned his attention to thoroughbreds.  Soon he was exercising an electrifying influence on bloodstock and horse racing in New Zealand.

In 1968 his sons John and Patrick conspired to send their dad to England to buy a stallion. But their real purpose was to enable him to make his first visit back home to Galway. Tom arrived at the pub of his brother Paddy at the top of Bohermore in Galway City for a reunion that was overflowing with emotion.

Tom died in 1972 after issuing one last diktat: “No goddamn flowers.” His ritual every Christmas Day of locking himself in his room and playing Irish music on an old phonograph was continued by his son Patrick.

Hogan Names

  • Galloping Hogan, as he was known, fled Ireland in 1692 and ended up as a Major General in the Portuguese army. 
  • John Hogan was an Irish sculptor of international repute in the mid-1800’s. 
  • Jimmy Hogan, a football coach, became one of the great pioneers of the game on the European continent in the 1920’s and 1930’s. 
  • Ben Hogan was an American golfer of the 1940’s and 1950’s generally considered as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. 
  • Paul Hogan is an Australian comedian/actor who became famous for his portrayal of Crocodile Dundee in the 1986 film of that name.

Hogan Numbers Today

  • 10,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 24,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 31,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)

Hogan and Like Surnames 

The Irish clan or sept names come through the mists of time until they were found in Irish records such as The Annals of the Four Masters.  The names were Gaelic and this Gaelic order was preserved until it was battered down by the English in the 1600’s.

Some made peace with the English.  “Wild geese” fled to fight abroad.  But most stayed and suffered, losing land and even the use of their language.  Irish names became anglicized, although sometimes in a mishmash of spellings.  Mass emigration happened after the potato famine of the 1840’s.

Some surnames – such as Kelly, Murphy and O’Connor – span all parts of Ireland.  But most will have a territorial focus in one of the four Irish provinces – Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connacht.

Munster in SW Ireland covers the counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford.  Here are some of the Munster surnames that you can check out.



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Written by Colin Shelley

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