Log in  | New? Register

415 KEARY members around the world

Family spelling variants includes Carey, Keaghry, Keighry, Kehery

Stay informed about KEARY Family online & offline events!

Keep me informed as to KEARY Family online & offline events

See our recent family gatherings

KEARY Family History

This interesting name is a variant of Carey, which itself comes from several origins (see also the page under “Carey”). Both were used as Anglicisations of Ó Ciardha, from “Ciardha", a personal name derived from "ciar", dark, black. This name belonged to a sept of the Southern Uí Néill who were lords of Carbury (Co. Kildare) and is now widespread in Ireland. Many present day Kearys in the midlands of Ireland, where the name still occurs most frequently, may in fact derive their name from the East Galway sept of Mac Fhiachra, from the ancient personal name “Fiachra”: elision of the prefix ‘mac’ with the lenited (disappeared) ‘F’ of Fiachra gave forms such as Keaghry, Keighry and Kehery, now obsolete. Carey may also derive from Ó Ciaráin/Ó Céirín, both from the same root word “ciar”, in Co. Cork and Co. Mayo. Etymologically distinct, Ó Carráin/Ó Corráin in Co Tipperary has been quoted as a source of Carey. This native South Tipperary sept was also anglicised Carew, which elsewhere is usually a Welsh- Norman surname.  It is indeed possible that Ó Carraidh/Ó Corraidh from the root “carra“ or “corra” - spear is the source of all these surnames in Co Tipperary.  Early anglicisations, found in the mid 17th century Tipperary Hearth Money Rolls, such as Carrigh, Carhe, Carry, Carrew and Cary indeed support that hypothesis.

The entirely distinct English and Norman-French name Carrey, of which Carey is a variant as recorded in Guernsey, C.I. may have a locational origin from "Carrey" near Lisieux, Normandy. This surname was also introduced into England after the Norman Invasion in 1066. Cary/Carey however, was the name of families claimed by genealogists and surname authorities to have taken their name from places so called in Somerset and Devon, both on rivers of a name with a very ancient Pre-Celtic or Old European etymology. 

Pat Carey (editor101)





Who have we missed?

Tell us about any famous KEARY (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!


Join the conversation with the KEARY tribe

  • Find your KEARY ancestor
  • Tell us about your KEARY Family
  • Tell us about your KEARY ancestors
  • Ask a question about the KEARY history
  • Leave a message for KEARY family members

You are not register

Join Log in

Invite more KEARY family members!

Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the KEARY tribe.

Log in or Register to invite others
Family Coat of Arms Generator

Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?

Create Crest

Discover where the KEARY Family members live around the world

Explore where tribe members live today!


Show off the KEARY Family Crest…

Wear your crest with pride...plenty of products to choose from