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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name Oleary is O Laoghaire, which was originally derived from Laoghaire, one of the most well-known personal names in ancient Ireland.

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The surname Oleary was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

During the Middle Ages, scribes recorded people's names as they saw fit. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For Oleary some of these variations included: Leary, O'Leary, O'Leery and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oleary research. Another 171 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early Oleary History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Oleary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Oleary Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary O'Leary, aged 35, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Mary O'Leary, aged 35, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849
  • John O'Leary, aged 35, a farmer, arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas"
  • Honor O'Leary, aged 21, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"
  • Maria O'Leary, aged 19, a domestic servant, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"


Oleary Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Timothy O'Leary, aged 23, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870
  • Kate O'Leary, aged 23, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1873
  • Mary O'Leary, aged 23, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874
  • Ellen O'Leary, aged 21, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874
  • Patrick O'Leary, aged 23, a farm labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hudson" in 1879


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  • William M. O'Leary, American Republican politician, Postmaster at Dallas, Texas, 1898-1904
  • Timothy O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Chair of Ohio County Democratic Party, 1917
  • Timothy O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1888
  • Thomas C. O'Leary, American politician, Representative from New York 22nd District, 1938
  • Stephen J. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1980
  • Robert T. O'Leary, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Montana, 1977-81
  • Robert A. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Member of Massachusetts State Senate Cape and Islands District; Elected 2002
  • Richard A. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New York 3rd District, 1952
  • Paul O'Leary, American Republican politician, Candidate for Hawaii State Senate 2nd District, 2000
  • Nail M. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Mayor of Waterbury, Connecticut, 2012

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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: Laidir isť lear Righ
Motto Translation: Strong is the King of the sea.

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  1. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  2. 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).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  5. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  6. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  7. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  9. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  10. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  11. ...

The Oleary Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oleary 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 April 2016 at 14:25.

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