Cochrane (surname)

Cochrane (surname)
Family name
Pronunciation /ˈkɒkrən/ Spelled Pronunciation kok-ruhn
Meaning Derives Cochrane in Scotland, meaning "red brook" (residential); Anglicisation of corcair, meaning "crimson"
Region of origin Western Scotland, Ulster
Language(s) of origin Scottish Gaelic
Related names Cochran, Cocrane, Cocran, Cochren, Cockram, Cockran, Cockren, Cochern, Colqueran, Coughran, Corcoran
Clan affiliations Clan Cochrane
Footnotes: Frequency Comparisons[1]

Cochrane is a surname with multiple independent origins, two Scottish and one Irish. One Scottish version originates from a place in Scotland, and both the Irish surname and the other Scottish surname are anglicisations for a Gaelic language surname.


Origin of the surname

The name Cochrane originates from a habitational name derived from the lands of Cochrane in Renfrewshire, near Glasgow. 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] 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 Irish Ó Corcráin.[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 784th most common last name in the United Kingdom.[6] 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.[7]

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 Northern Irish whiskey Bushmills and the Old Bushmills Distillery gain world wide popularity.

In the United States of America, the first Cochranes arrived amongst the Ulster-Scots immigrants to the British North American colonies of New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. 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.


See also


  1. ^ British Surnames
  2. ^ "Cochrane Name Meaning and History". Retrieved 15 February 2009. 
  3. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde; Wilson, Richard Middlewood (1991) (PDF). A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. p. 695. ISBN 0-203-99355-1. 
  4. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde; Wilson, Richard Middlewood (1991) (PDF). A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. p. xlix. ISBN 0-203-99355-1. 
  5. ^ Neafsey, Edward (2002). The Surnames of Ireland: Origins and Numbers of Selected Irish Surnames. Irish Root Cafe. p. 36. ISBN 0-94013-497-7. 
  6. ^ Frequency of Cochrane surname in the UK
  7. ^ Neafsey, Edward (2002) [2002]. The Surnames of Ireland: Origins and Numbers of Selected Irish Surnames. Irish Root Cafe. pp. 36. ISBN 0-94013-497-7. 

External links

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