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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Geary family come from? What is the Irish Geary family crest and coat of arms? When did the Geary family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Geary family history?

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

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Irish names recorded during the Middle Ages are characterized by many spelling variations. This preponderance of variations for common names can be explained by the fact that the scribes and church officials that kept records during that period individually decided how to capture one's name. These recorders primarily based their decisions on how the name was pronounced or what it meant. Research into the name Geary revealed many variations, including Geary, Gara, O'Gara, O'Geary, Gearie, Gearey and many more.

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 946 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]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Geary research. Another 191 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geary History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 25 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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A great wave of Irish migration occurred during the 19th century as a direct result of English colonial rule and tight-fisted absentee landlords. Many of these Irish immigrants boarded passenger ships bound for North America. Those who migrated early enough were given land in either British North America or the United States; those who came in the late 19th century were typically employed in industrial centers as laborers. At whatever age they undertook the dangerous passage to North America, those Irish immigrants were essential to the speedy development of the two infant nations to which they arrived, whether they broke and settled land, helped build canals, bridges, and railroads, or produced products for consumer consumption. An examination of immigration and passenger lists has uncovered a large number of immigrants bearing the name Geary or one of its variants:

Geary Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Geary, who arrived in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1652
  • Brigit Geary, aged 3, arrived in New York in 1654
  • John Geary, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • Henry Geary, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1682
  • John Geary, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1682


Geary Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Eleanor Geary, who landed in America in 1744

Geary Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Richard Geary, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Patrick Geary, who landed in New York NY in 1816
  • Mary Geary, aged 30, landed in America in 1822
  • Mary Geary, who landed in New York State in 1822
  • Alexander Geary, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1823


Geary Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Dennis Geary, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749

Geary Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Geary, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1830
  • Catherine Geary, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1831
  • James Geary, aged 28, a blacksmith, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Reward" from Cork
  • Peter Geary, aged 32, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Levant Star" from Cork
  • William Geary, aged 30, a smith, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the brig "Levant Star" from Cork


Geary Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Mary W. Geary, aged 27, a cook, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Joseph Soames"
  • Mary W Geary, aged 27, a cook, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Joseph Somes" in 1850
  • William Geary, aged 26, a schoolmaster, arrived in South Australia in 1852 aboard the ship "Standard"
  • William Geary, aged 24, a mason, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Bucephalus"
  • John Geary (aged 39), a gardener, arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Gomelza"


Geary Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Denis Geary, aged 25, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • Michael Geary, aged 23, a farm labourer, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maraval" in 1879
  • Hamilton Geary, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883
  • Eliza Geary, aged 28, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Queen" in 1883

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  • Rick Geary (b. 1946), American cartoonist and illustrator
  • John White Geary (1819-1873), American lawyer, politician, Union general in the American Civil War, 16th Governor of Pennsylvania
  • Geoff Geary (b. 1976), American Major League Baseball player
  • Anthony Geary (b. 1947), American seven-time Daytime Emmy Award winning actor for his role on the daytime drama General Hospital
  • Jarryn Geary (b. 1988), Australian rules footballer
  • Sir William Nevill Montgomerie Geary (1859-1944), 5th Baronet
  • Sir Francis Geary (1811-1895), 4th Baronet
  • Sir William Richard Powlett Geary (1810-1877), 3rd Baronet, English Conservative Party politician
  • Sir William Geary (1756-1825), 2nd Baronet, English Tory politician from West Peckham, Kent
  • Sir Francis Geary (1709-1796), 1st Baronet, Royal Navy Admiral

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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: Fortiter et fideliter
Motto Translation: Boldly and faithfully.

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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 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)

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  8. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  9. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  10. Harris, Ruth-Ann and B. Emer O'Keefe. The Search for Missing Friends Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot Volume II 1851-1853. Boston, MA: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1991. Print.
  11. ...

The Geary Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Geary 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 2 June 2015 at 19:55.

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