Hogan As An Irish Last Name

This article looks at how common Hogan is as a last name in Ireland and the United States from the 19th century to the present day.

You’ll learn the meaning and origins of the Hogan surname while exploring some notable and famous people that held it.

I use census records, emigration lists, and military archives to uncover fascinating patterns. If you’re studying your genealogy, check out my sources at the end of the post so you can do your own research.

How Common Was Hogan In Ireland In The Early 1900s?

The only complete Irish censuses that are available to the general public are those from the years 1901 and 1911. They offer two detailed snapshots of the population.

So, let’s concentrate on the early decades of the twentieth century.

I used online archives to calculate the total numbers by surname. I consider these estimates due to some percentage of transcription errors. So, I’ve rounded the numbers to the nearest fifty.

There were 7,350 residents named Hogan on the island in 1911.

Ten years earlier, Hogan had about 7,450 residents in the 1901 census.

Population Estimates In The 1890s

A study of Irish surnames was conducted in 1890 by the head of the Civil Registrations Office. It was published as a “Special Report on Surnames In Ireland.”

The survey estimated that there were about 8,600 people named Hogan in the country.

Emigration To America After The Irish Famine

The Irish have traditionally emigrated to Britain, the U.S., Canada, and Australia in recent centuries. They were driven by various factors like political upheaval, scarcity of work, and food deprivation.

The peak of this migration was driven by what’s known as the Great Irish Famine, a devastating event spanning from 1845 to 1852. Potato blight had a catastrophic effect on Ireland, wiping out the primary food source for a significant portion of the population.

I reviewed the Hogan name in the shipping passenger lists arriving in New York during this period. The departures were from both Ireland and England.

This picture shows how the numbers rose and fell in the years after the famine:

Hogan emigration after the famine

How Common Is Hogan As A Last Name In The U.S.?

Based on the 2010 U.S. census, the name Hogan ranks about 536 among Irish names in America with 63,085 bearers.

Although the 2010 census has exact numbers and rankings, the rank I assign here is my estimate. If you’re curious about how I got there, here’s a brief explanation…

Estimating Rank In The United States

Historically, some Irish families with Gaelic surnames took English-sounding names as translations under the influence of colonization.

As these names also have English origins, they will have been brought to the United States by both British and Irish immigrants. Because the census doesn’t ask about specific European origin (e.g. England vs Ireland), it’s impossible to identify the proportion with Irish heritage.

I reviewed the census to identify which names are predominantly Irish in origin. In order to estimate the relative rankings of “Irish” names, I’ve mostly excluded surnames that have varying origins.

Hogan In Historic Times

In a country as young as the United States, tracking the popularity of a surname over time can be fascinating. This reflects other demographic shifts across the country in addition to immigration. Higher child mortality rates and longer life expectancy are just two factors.

The historic census records have been transcribed and digitized. I used online archives to run counts of surname populations.

But the totals can’t be exactly accurate due to transcription errors. So, I’ve rounded the numbers to the nearest 50 in the graph below.

This picture shows the numbers every twenty years from 1860 to 1940:

how common was Hogan in the U.S. between 1860 and 1940

These are the numbers in the graph:

  • 1860: 10,300
  • 1880: 20,850
  • 1900: 27,500
  • 1920: 32,050
  • 1940: 37,950

Hogan In World War II

Approximately 8.3 million men and women joined the United States Army during World War II. Many had Irish ancestry. Some had been born in Ireland before leaving the country.

There were registration records for 81,023 soldiers named Hogan who enlisted between 1938 and 1946.

There were 62 who were born in Ireland.

Hogan Surname: Meaning And Origin

Hogan comes from the Gaelic surname Ó hÓgáin, which means “descendant of Ógán”.

The personal name “Ógán” is the pet form of the Gaelic word óg, which means young. So, the full name is akin to “descendant of the little young one”.

An early family were descendants of Coscrach, who was an uncle of Brian Boru. Brian became High King of Ireland and the Hogan family were their allies in Tipperary.

Famous Or Notorious Hogans

Here are some notable people with the family name:

  • Henry Hogan (1840 – 1916): emigrated from County Clare and joined the U.S. Army. He was awarded his first medal of honor at the Battle of Cedar Creek. He was awarded the second at the Battle of Bear Paw. He is one of only nineteen people to receive the honor twice.
  • Daniel Hogan (1880 – 1928): “Dapper” Danny was a mobster and crime boss in Minnesota during the Prohibition Era. The police chief of St Paul was in his pocket. He was killed by a car bomb.


External Research

The Ireland 1990s estimates are from Seán J. Murphy’s research paper.

The population estimates of 1890 are based on the “Special Report on Surnames in Ireland“, published in 1909.

The population figures for the 2010 U.S. Census come from a file provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Internal Research

Some of the population numbers are based on my own research and calculations using online archives. I’ve rounded those numbers to the nearest 50 to account for transcription errors and other technical issues with online databases of this type.

The Irish census estimates for 1901 and 1911 are my calculations based on the Irish National Archives

I plotted the emigration figures from 1845 to 1854 based on calculations from the archives of the New York Passenger Lists (1820-1957).