Harkin / Family History
The ancient origin of the name Harkin
was found in the irishsurnames.com archives. The name Harkin is derived from the Gaelic O'hEarcain sept that was located at Inishowen in County Donegal, in the very north-west of Ireland. This sept name is taken from the Gaelic word 'earc' meaning 'red'.
A sept or clan is a collective term describing a group of persons whose immediate ancestors bore a common surname and inhabited the same territory. It is also the case that many Irish septs or clans that are related often belong to a larger groups, sometimes called tribes. For example the 'Tribes of Galway' consisted of fourteen distinct families. The 'Tribes of Kilkenny' were ten families, etc.
This name has a number of anglicized forms including Harkins, O'Harkin, Harcan and Harkeyn. An early record of the name is found in Bishop Mongomery's diocesan survey of the year 1606 in which Daniel O'Harcan is named as one of many Ulster martyrs. In the 1659 Census the name is recorded as a principal Irish name in the barony of Inishowen. Michael Harkin was the author of 'Inishowen, its History, Traditions and Antiquities' in 1830.The Harkin
family crest (or coat of arms) came into existence many centuries ago. The process of creating these coats of arms began as early as the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this, including Ireland. The new more formalized art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own family crest, coat of arms, including Harkin