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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

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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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.

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.


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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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  • Charley O'Leary (1882-1941), American Major League Baseball shortstop
  • Brian Todd O'Leary (1940-2011), American scientist and a former NASA astronaut
  • George O'Leary (b. 1946), American college football coach
  • George Joseph O'Leary (b. 1946), American head football coach at the University of Central Florida
  • John O'Leary (1830-1907), Irish poet who was imprisoned in England during the nineteenth century
  • Mark O'Leary, Irish guitarist and composer
  • David Anthony O'Leary (b. 1958), Irish football manager and former player
  • Tomás O'Leary (b. 1983), Irish rugby union player
  • John O'Leary (b. 1949), Irish professional golfer
  • Miss Hanora "Nora" O'Leary, aged 16, Irish Third Class passenger from Kingwilliamstown, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13

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

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  1. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  7. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  10. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  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 25 January 2015 at 12:48.

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