Gearing History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Irish surnames are linked to the long Gaelic heritage of the Island nation. The original Gaelic form of the name Gearing is "O Gadhra," which is derived from the word "gadhar," which means "dog."

Early Origins of the Gearing family

The surname Gearing was first found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they were Chiefs of Coolavin aad Sliabh Lugha. [1]

The surname also spelled Gara, O'Gara, and Gerry is descended from Tiachleach, Lord of South Leyney who was killed in 964 A.D. The Geary family was closely associated with the O'Haras from an early time and the chiefs of the two septs alternated as rulers of Luighne. [2]

"The O'Garas were lords of the territory of Luighne, now forming and giving name to the barony of Leyney or Lieny, in the county of Sligo, whence they were expelled by the MacSurtains and the Mac Costelloes, families of Anglo-Norman descent." [1]

Once more into the archives we delved to find life in early times was fraught with battles and deaths. By example, some of the first entries of the family include: Tiachleach O'Gara, slain in 964; Rory O'Gara, tanist of Leyney, slain; Rory O'Gara, heir presumptive died in 1059; Donlevy O'Gara, lord of Leyney, killed by Brian O'Hara; O'Gadhra, lord of Layney, slain at battle of Ardee; and O'Gara, lord of Sliabh-Lugha, died. [1]

Early History of the Gearing family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gearing research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1710, 1796 and 1727 are included under the topic Early Gearing History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gearing Spelling Variations

The spelling of one's surname was not as important as it is today. Names were recorded as they sounded and in many cases, one's surname changed with each listing. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For Gearing some of these variations included: Geary, Gara, O'Gara, O'Geary, Gearie, Gearey and many more.

Early Notables of the Gearing family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts Bay (now the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), signer of the American Declaration of Independence. Sir Francis Geary (1710?-1796),was an "admiral, of a family long settled in Cardiganshire...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gearing Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gearing migration to the United States +

Irish families fled the English-colonized Ireland in record numbers during the 19th century for North America. Many of those destitute families died from disease during, and even shortly after, the long journey. Although those that immigrated before the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s often were granted a tract of land, those that arrived later were generally accommodated in urban centers or in work camps. Those in the urban centers would labor in the manufacturing sector, whereas those in work camps would to build critical infrastructures such as bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Regardless of when these Irish immigrants came to North America, they were critical for the rapid development of the young nations of the United States and Canada. Early immigration and passenger lists have recorded many early immigrants bearing the name of Gearing:

Gearing Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Francis Gearing, who arrived in Virginia in 1722 [3]
Gearing Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joh Gearing, who landed in America in 1845 [3]
  • Aaltje Gearing, aged 47, who arrived in New York, NY in 1846 [3]
  • Charles Gearing, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • John Baldis Gearing, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856 [3]
  • Jacob Gearing, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1874 [3]

Australia Gearing migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gearing Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Jane Gearing, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Calabar" [4]

New Zealand Gearing migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gearing Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Gearing, aged 40, a farm labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878
  • Elizabeth Gearing, aged 32, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878
  • James Thomas Gearing, aged 9, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Rakaia" in 1878

Contemporary Notables of the name Gearing (post 1700) +

  • John Gearing, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1888 [5]
  • F. K. Gearing, American politician, Member of Pennsylvania State House of Representatives from Allegheny County, 1879-80 [5]

HMS Royal Oak
  • Arthur Gearing, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [6]


The Gearing Motto +

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: Fortiter et fideliter
Motto Translation: Boldly and faithfully.


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 2nd August 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Calabar 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/williamstuart1853.shtml.
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 19) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html


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