The Laragy Name

Researched by William (Bill) Molone , Prof History @ American University, Washington DC, USA
W. Scott Laragy, Lieutenant Commander, JAGC, USN Assistant General Counsel, National Defense University, USA
March 2003
Over time web links in the original paper were no longer operational and were removed from this paper. January 2020.

There is a separate surname Largy, and it is possible that because Laragy is so rare that some Laragys became Largys when their names were entered into record books during emigration and such. But such a clerical error would be the exception because the spelling Laragy seems a purposeful attempt to keep three syllables to the name.

Laragy is the 89,290th most popular surname in the US with a frequency is 0.0%, in the 89.862 percentile. Matt Combs analyzing the 1990 U.S. confirmed this 0% frequency.  Compare that to my own name which ranks 397th, frequency .028%, or to Smith which ranks 1st, frequency 1.006%. with over 2,874,000 so named.

Laragy also occurs today in England. It seems to be first recorded in 1198 when a William Le Ragge is listed in Pleas before the King or Justices for Norkolk.

The Normans were primarily of Viking origin, descended from Duke Rollo and his Viking pirates who left Norway to settle in northern France. These feudal lords needed identity tags to secure their new possessions and land acquisitions for posterity. Heritable family ownership and continuity of dynasties was paramount, and became the prime motivation for the surname. The Irish argue that surnames were coming into use at the time of Brian Boru, who died in 1014 A.D. Some credit this legendary historic king with ‘inventing’ surnames.

The English word Rag is Scandinavian in origin. The Middle English word ragge meant ‘shaggy’ as unkempt hair. The Anglo-Saxon adjective raggie meant ‘shaggy or ‘rough.’ The Norwegian word was ragg meaning ‘rough hair,’ whence English ragged meaning ‘shaggy.’ The Swedish word was also ragg, but a dialect had raggi meaning ‘having rough hair’ or ‘slovenly’. The Icelandic word was rogg. The actual root of these Scandinavian words is unknown. In Middle English ragstone referred to a rough stone, but was often shortened familiarly to rag. Similarly ragwort referred to ‘moss’, but was often shortened familiarly to rag. Thus today rag refers to ‘a piece of cloth’, but ragged means ‘rough or untidy or shaggy’ as in ragged edges. Ragged edges can even mean ‘sharp’. From these words developed personal names, more likely nicknames to designate someone’s dress style, appearance or even disposition. From the personal name seems to have developed the surname. The Modern English word rage ‘fury’ that comes from Middle English rage has no connection to rag.

I surmise that the Vikings brought the word to Norman France and from there to England and on to Ireland. The Norman surname could very likely be LaRagge as evidenced from a French website entitled The Cercle Généalogique de Saône et Loire that lists the following French names that include and are similar to Laragy.


A Dictionary of Scottish Surnames claims Ragg is believed to come from the Old Danish personal name Wraghi, whence the place name Wragbi in the West Riding.

From the Old Irish word Lár comes Laraigid meaning ‘overthrow’ and sounding similar to Laragy. But I doubt that this is the derivation of your name.

There were 3 Laragy households in County Offaly in the 1842 Primary Valuation the results of which were published between 1848-64. No other Laragy households were recorded. Horseleap is adjacent to County Offaly. This information came from the Irish Times website.

I searched Laragy on www.google.com and 18 pages of entries came up. Many were citations to April L. a music critic, Jim L. a painter, and Carmel L. Many others refer to Laragys in Australia, a contemporary Senator and a cricket player. The one referring to a former outlaw of the early nineteenth century appears in the Colonial Secretary Index of New South Wales, Australia.


A Larargy started a home page on geocities, but nothing has been put on it since it opened in October 2000.

In 2002 construction of a new secondary school began at Laragy, Clones, County Monaghan. Clones is a civil parish in Monaghan, while Largy is listed as a townland in Clones, much as Cleveland Park and Dupont Circle form part of Washington, DC. The spelling Largy came from The Irish Times website of ancestry.

You might have some fun referring to Passenger Ship lists.  I was unable to get any results after several tries. But I did not exhaust my search, it would take too long.


This link reveals Patrick Laragy coming to the US in 1903 and Hugh Laragy coming in 1908.