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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Geary family come from? What is the Irish Geary family crest and coat of arms? When did the Geary family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Geary family history?

Irish surnames are linked to the long Gaelic heritage of the Island nation. The original Gaelic form of the name Geary is "O Gadhra," which is derived from the word "gadhar," which means "dog."


Irish names recorded during the Middle Ages are characterized by many spelling variations. This preponderance of variations for common names can be explained by the fact that the scribes and church officials that kept records during that period individually decided how to capture one's name. These recorders primarily based their decisions on how the name was pronounced or what it meant. Research into the name Geary revealed many variations, including Geary, Gara, O'Gara, O'Geary, Gearie, Gearey and many more.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they were Chiefs of Coolavin aad Sliabh Lugha. [1] The surname also spelled Gara, O'Gara, and Gerry is descended from Tiachleach, Lord of South Leyney who was killed in 946 A.D. The Geary family was closely associated with the O'Haras from an early time and the chiefs of the two septs alternated as rulers of Luighne. [2]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Geary research. Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geary History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 25 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Geary or one of its variants:

Geary Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Geary, who arrived in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1652
  • Brigit Geary, aged 3, arrived in New York in 1654
  • John Geary, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • Henry Geary, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • John Geary, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682

Geary Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Eleanor Geary, who landed in America in 1744

Geary Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Richard Geary, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Patrick Geary, who landed in New York NY in 1816
  • Mary Geary, aged 30, landed in America in 1822
  • Mary Geary, who landed in New York State in 1822
  • Alexander Geary, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823


  • Anthony Geary (b. 1947), American seven-time Daytime Emmy Award winning actor for his role on the daytime drama General Hospital
  • Geoff Geary (b. 1976), American Major League Baseball player
  • John White Geary (1819-1873), American lawyer, politician, Union general in the American Civil War, 16th Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Rick Geary (b. 1946), American cartoonist and illustrator
  • Benjamin Handley Geary, British recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • George Reginald Geary, Canadian politician, Mayor of Toronto, Ontario, from 1910 to 1912
  • Major Benjamin Geary, Sergeant-at-arms for the Ontario Legislature
  • Sir Francis Geary (1709-1796), 1st Baronet, Royal Navy Admiral
  • Sir William Geary (1756-1825), 2nd Baronet, English Tory politician from West Peckham, Kent
  • Sir William Richard Powlett Geary (1810-1877), 3rd Baronet, English Conservative Party politician



The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Fortiter et fideliter
Motto Translation: Boldly and faithfully.


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)

Other References

  1. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  2. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  7. McDonnell, Frances. Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 A Transcription of the report of the Irish House of Commons into Enforced emigration to America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1331-5).
  8. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Geary Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Geary Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 4 February 2014 at 13:48.

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