Friday, October 31, 2008

The origins of the name Orme

Orme Coat of Arms - English


Orme derives from the Old Norse word 'Ormr' and it means Serpent or Dragon.

The earliest records of Orme are in Scandinavia carved on memorial stones in Runic lettering, though there may be others that have not come to light yet. The Runic alphabet (or more correctly the futhark) was used from approximately 300ad to 1200ad.

'Orm' looks like this in Runic lettering:orme, it can be translated as 'Orm' or 'Urm', sometimes as 'Arm'.

In Swedish Latin and Danish Latin records the name appears as Ormus or Vuormo. In British and Irish records it usually appears as Orme, Orm, Urm, Arm, Horm, Horn, Oram, Orum, Orem, Ormer, or Ormarr.

As the people of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark explored, traded, and raided, they founded settlements in many other European Countries, taking the name Orme with them.

During the Viking era (generally considered to be 798ad-1066ad.), Norwegian Ormes settled in Iceland, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, the Hebrides, The Færoe Islands, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Ireland, England, and North Wales. Written records and archæology show that there were also Norwegian settlements in Greenland and North America, but these were abandoned.

Danes settled in England and along the west coast of mainland Europe. They reached Spain and Portugal, and then continued into the Mediterranean Sea. In 1002ad, during a single day, the Saxon King, Æthelred (the unready), had all of the Danes living in England put to death. This resulted in a major invasion by King Sweyn of Denmark, and under his successor Knut the Great (Canute) England became part of a Kingdom that also included Denmark and Norway.

Meanwhile Swedes (known as the 'Rus' and the 'Varangi') explored and settled to the East, then South through Russia and Byzantium to the Mediterranean Sea. An Arabian document (written by 'Ibn Fadlan') describes them cruising along the Russian rivers to the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Once again, there would have been Ormes amongst them who may have settled in some of the countries.

Old Norse Sagas, written principally in Iceland, and concerning the history of Norway, provide records of several Ormes. The relevant stories, or extracts from them, are included on this website.

Emigration from Europe, especially from Great Britain, Ireland, and Scandinavia, has resulted in large numbers of Ormes in the United States of America, and others in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. A few adventurous individuals went to live in more exotic locations.

There were a few who did not go voluntarily and were transported from Britain as convicts. From 1615 to 1776 the destinations for transportation were North America and the West Indies, from 1787 to 1867 the destinations were Australia and Tasmania.

The most recent major migration of Ormes was in the 1950's and 1960's, when the British Government encouraged families to relocate to Australia by offering to take them there for £10 per family ('Ten Pound Poms' as they were affectionately called on arrival).

As one might expect, not all felt the urge to travel and Ormes can still be found in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
In Scandinavian countries the original name arme was often translated to the Roman alphabet as 'Arme', there are more than 30,000 'Armes' in Scandinavia.

The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burke's General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Abbey Town County Mayo; confirmed by Betham, Ulster to William Henry ORME Esq. of that place.

The name ORME was a baptismal name from the Old Norman ORMR, originally a byname meaning 'Serpent or Dragon'. The name was brought into England and Ireland by settlers from Denmark and Dauphine, France.

Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Orm (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Augustas Orumme, 1327 County Surrey. Richard Oram, registered at Oxford Univerity in 1609. John Oram married Sarah Lamb at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1778.

Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.

It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.

Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.

No comments: