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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. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  4. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  5. O'Hart, John. Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4).
  6. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Heraldic Scroll and Map of Family names and Origins of Ireland. Dublin: Mullins. Print.
  9. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  10. 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).
  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 1 August 2015 at 06:06.

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