The name Clearaye originally appeared in Gaelic as O Cleirigh, from the word "cleireach," which means "clerk" or "cleric." The name denotes a descendant of Cleireach, who was born around 820 AD, and descended from Guaire the Hospitable, the famous king of Connacht.
Early Origins of the Clearaye family
The surname Clearaye was first found in County Galway
. A descendent of Guaire, Cleireach, the namesake of the O'Clerys, was born around 820 AD, about two hundred
years before hereditary surnames
came into general use. CITATION[CLOSE]
MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
However, the name O'Clery first appeared around 950 AD, making it one of the earliest recorded hereditary surnames
. The O'Clerys were the dominant sept in what is now the diocese of Kilmacduagh in the county of Galway
, but declined in power until they were forced out of their original territory by the mid-13th century. The most important branch of the family settled in Counties Derry and Donegal
and became prominent historians and poets. The branch that settled in County Cavan
has seemingly all but vanished. However, the English surname Clarke has been widely substituted for O'Clery there, following the Plantation of Ulster
, and many Irish Clarkes may actually be O'Clerys, rather than descendants of English settlers. Another branch is still fairly common in the counties of Kilkenny
, and Tipperary
. The name is presently found mostly in Munster
Early History of the Clearaye family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clearaye research.Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1636, 1450, 1507, 1507, 1781 and 1860 are included under the topic Early Clearaye History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Clearaye Spelling Variations
Official documents, crafted by early scribes and church officials, primarily contained names that were spelled according to their pronunciation. This lead to the problem of one name being recorded under several different variations, creating an illusion that a single person was many people. Among the many spelling variations
of the surname Clearaye that are preserved in the archival documents of the time are Clery, Cleary, Claree, Clarey, Cleare, Clearey, Clerey, O'Cleary, O'Clery, Macchlery, Clerkin, Clark and many more.
Early Notables of the Clearaye family (pre 1700)
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clearaye Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Clearaye family to the New World and Oceana
began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine
sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland
had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name Clearaye or one of its variants: Thomas Clary, who arrived in the Virginia colony in 1642; George Cleary, who was on record in Barbados plantation between the years 1679 and 1680; Darby Cleary, who came to America in 1736.