The origins of the name Orme

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.


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