Cochrane (surname)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Pronunciation/ˈkɒxrən, ˈkɒkrən/ KOK(H)-rən
Language(s)Irish, Scottish Gaelic
Region of originWestern Scotland, Ireland
Other names
Variant form(s)Cochran, Cocrane, Cocran, Cochren, Cockram, Cockran, Cockren, Cochern, Colqueran, Coughran, Cofran
Frequency Comparisons:[1]

Cochrane is a surname with multiple independent origins, two Scottish and one Irish. One of the Scottish names derives from a place in Scotland; the Irish surname and the other Scottish surname are both anglicisations of surnames from the Irish language and Scottish Gaelic respectively.


The name Cochrane originates from a habitational name derived from the "Lowlands of Cochrane", near Paisley in Renfrewshire. The derivation of the place name is uncertain. One possibility is that it is derived from the Welsh coch meaning "red"; however this theory is not supported by the early spelling of the name Coueran.[2] It is also possible the name is derived from the Welsh word "cywrain", which means "skilled". Early recorded bearers of the surname are Waldeve de Coueran in 1262; William de Coughran in 1296; and Robert de Cochrane in about 1360.[3]

In Scotland during the 18th century, the surname was used as a Lowland adaptation of the Scottish Gaelic Maceachrain.[4]

In Ireland the surname was adopted as an Anglicisation of the surnames Ó Cogaráin and Mac Cogaráin, meaning respectively the descendant or the son of Cogarán (probably a diminutive of cogar "confidant").[5]


The surname is especially concentrated in England in the counties of Durham in the North of England and Kent in the south. In Scotland, Cochrane is found in high frequency in the counties of South Lanarkshire, West Lothian and in Renfrewshire. The surname is the 224th most common surname in Scotland, 957th most common in England and ranked in the top 100 surnames of a number of former British colonies.[1] There are a number of spelling variations including Cochran, Cockren, and Coughran.

Together Scotland and England have the highest percentage of the Cochrane surname anywhere in the world. In Ireland, the surname Cochrane is especially concentrated in the northern province of Ulster where it was introduced by Protestant Scots settlers during the Plantation period of the 17th century. It was also adopted as an anglicisation by some Corcoran families.[6]

In Northern Ireland, the surname Cochrane is concentrated in the counties of Antrim, Londonderry, Down and Tyrone. James Cochrane, an Ulsterman, was a 19th-century entrepreneur who helped the Irish whiskey Bushmills and the Old Bushmills Distillery gain worldwide popularity.

In the United States, Cochranes arrived amongst the Ulster-Scots immigrants to the British North American colonies of New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.[7][8] Many Cochranes lived in Winedham New Hampshire. They eventually moved to Boston, and now some of them live in Reston, Virginia. Some of the earliest Cochranes in the United States came from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in the early 18th century after obtaining a land grant from the Governor of Massachusetts. Later Cochranes would arrive from Scotland and England.


Virtute et labore, a Latin phrase meaning "by valour and exertion".


Thomas Hesketh Douglas Blair Cochrane, 13th Earl of Dundonald

Fictional Characters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cochrane Surname at Forebears
  2. ^ "Cochrane Name Meaning and History". Retrieved 15 February 2009.
  3. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde; Wilson, Richard Middlewood (1991). A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0-203-99355-1.
  4. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde; Wilson, Richard Middlewood (1991). A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. p. xlix. ISBN 0-203-99355-1.
  5. ^ "Sloinne". Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  6. ^ Neafsey, Edward (2002). The Surnames of Ireland: Origins and Numbers of Selected Irish Surnames. Irish Root Cafe. p. 36. ISBN 0-940134-97-7.
  7. ^[bare URL PDF]
  8. ^ "Scotch Irish pioneers in Ulster and America". Boston, Bacon and Brown. 1910.

External links[edit]