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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish

The Irish name Cary originally appeared in Gaelic as O Ciardha. However, "Carey" and its spelling variations have also been used as the Anglicized forms of six other Irish patronymics: O Ceinin, O Ciarain, Mac Giolla Ceire, O Carra, Mac Giolla Chathair, and the nearly-extinct MacFhiachra.


The surname Cary was first found in the county of Kilkenny (Irish: Cill Chainnigh), the former Kingdom of Osraige (Ossory), located in Southeastern Ireland in the province of Leinster. Today Cary is a barony in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Before widespread literacy came to Ireland, a name was often recorded under several different variations during the life of its bearer. Accordingly, numerous spelling variations were revealed in the search for the origin of the name Cary family name. Variations found include Carrie, Carry, Carre, Carie, Carrey, MacCarry, MacHarry, Mac Harris, O'Carey, Cary, M'Carrie, Kearey, Kearrie, Keerie, Keery, Keerey, M'Harrie, M'Harry, M'Hary, M'Harie and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cary research. Another 347 words (25 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1300, 1620, 1784, 1761 and 1834 are included under the topic Early Cary History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notable amongst the family name at this time was Patrick Carrie, notable Irish patriot. Also, three famous brothers of the Carey name, John Carey, the inventor of the distress rocket for ships, went to London and taught school, becoming a most prolific writer, writing over 50 classics, including short stories and...

Another 75 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


During the 19th century thousands of impoverished Irish families made the long journey to British North America and the United States. These people were leaving a land that had become beset with poverty, lack of opportunity, and hunger. In North America, they hoped to find land, work, and political and religious freedoms. Although the majority of the immigrants that survived the long sea passage did make these discoveries, it was not without much perseverance and hard work: by the mid-19th century land suitable for agriculture was short supply, especially in British North America, in the east; the work available was generally low paying and physically taxing construction or factory work; and the English stereotypes concerning the Irish, although less frequent and vehement, were, nevertheless, present in the land of freedom, liberty, and equality for all men. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine during the late 1840s. Research into passenger and immigration lists has brought forth evidence of the early members of the Cary family in North America:

Cary Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Nicholas Cary, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1637
  • James Cary, who arrived in Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1639
  • James Cary, who came to Charlestown, Massachusetts in 1639
  • Miles Cary, who arrived in Virginia in 1645
  • Francis Cary, who landed in Maryland in 1647
  • ...

Cary Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • William Cary, who arrived in Virginia in 1700
  • Cornelius Cary, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Warren Cary, who arrived in Virginia in 1711
  • Eleanore Cary, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Jacques Cary, aged 40, landed in Louisiana in 1719
  • ...

Cary Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Isaac Thomas Cary, who landed in America in 1804
  • Lucius Cary, aged 30, arrived in Massachusetts in 1812
  • Patrick Cary, aged 25, arrived in America in 1821
  • States T Cary, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1849
  • T L Cary, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • ...

Cary Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Bernard Cary U.E who settled in Canada c. 1783

Cary Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Mary Cary, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1838
  • Ellen Cary, aged 25, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1838 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
  • B I Cary, who landed in Victoria, British Columbia in 1862

Cary Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Cary, a sawyer, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832

  • Charles S. Cary (1827-1906), American lawyer, politician and railroad executive, Solicitor of the United States Treasury
  • Samuel Fenton Cary (1814-1900), American politician and prohibitionist, eponym of Cary, North Carolina
  • Phoebe Cary (1824-1871), American poet
  • Lott Cary (1780-1828), African-American Baptist minister
  • Liam Cary (b. 1947), American Catholic bishop
  • Hetty Carr Cary (1836-1892), American wife of Confederate General John Pegram, best remembered for making the first three battle flags of the Confederacy
  • Glover H. Cary (1885-1936), American politician, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky (1931-1936)
  • Frank T. Cary (1920-2006), American businessman, CEO of IBM (1973-1981)
  • Dick Cary (1916-1994), American jazz pianist, trumpet and alto horn player
  • Diana Serra Cary (b. 1918), known as Baby Peggy, a major American silent movie era child star who made over 150 shorts for Century Studios and received 1.2 million fan letters in 1922, dubbed "The Million Dollar Baby" for her $1.5 million a year salary in 1924
  • ...

  • Senior Line of Virginia Carys by Boyd Balford Cary.

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    Other References

    1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    2. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
    3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    4. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    5. Kennedy, Patrick. Kennedy's Book of Arms. Canterbury: Achievements, 1967. Print.
    6. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    7. 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).
    8. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
    9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    11. ...

    The Cary Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Cary 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 6 February 2016 at 17:39.

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