The name Clerray 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 Clerray family
The surname Clerray 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 Clerray family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clerray 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 Clerray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Clerray Spelling Variations
Lacking standardized spellings, scribes and church officials recorded people's name according to how they sounded. This practice often led to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations
of the surname Clerray are preserved in the archival documents of the period. The various spellings of the name that were found include Clery, Cleary, Claree, Clarey, Cleare, Clearey, Clerey, O'Cleary, O'Clery, Macchlery, Clerkin, Clark and many more.
Early Notables of the Clerray family (pre 1700)
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clerray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Clerray family to the New World and Oceana
Irish immigrants began to leave the English-controlled Ireland
in sizable numbers during the late 18th century. Many of these Irish immigrated to British North America or the United States in the hopes of gaining their own tract of farmland. This pattern of migration grew steadily until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine
caused a great exodus of immigrants to North America. These immigrants differed from their predecessors in that they were desperately fleeing the disease and starvation that plagued their homeland, and many were entirely destitute when they arrived in North America. Although these penniless immigrants were not warmly welcomed when they arrived, they were critical to the rapid development of the United States and what would become known as Canada. Many went to populate the western frontiers and others provided the cheap labor the new manufacturing sector and the building of bridges, roads, railways, and canals required. A thorough examination of immigration and passenger lists has revealed some of the earliest people to arrive in North America with name Clerray 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.