Kearny History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname derives from the Gaelic "O Catharnaigh," derived from the word "cearnach," meaning "warlike" or 'victorious'.

Early Origins of the Kearny family

The surname Kearny was first found in County Meath (Irish: An Mhí) anciently part of the kingdom of Brega, located in Eastern Ireland, in the province of Leinster and County Clare where O'Kearney, were chiefs of Avon-Ui-Cearney or O'Kearney's River, a district about Six-Mile-Bridge, in the baronies of Tulla and Bunratty.

Early History of the Kearny family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Kearny research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Kearny History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Kearny Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Carney, Kearney, O'Kearney, O'Carney and others.

Early Notables of the Kearny family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Kearny Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Kearny migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kearny Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Kearny, who arrived in Maryland in 1679 [1]
Kearny Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Larry Kearny, aged 34, who landed in New York, NY in 1806 [1]
  • Mary Kearny, aged 30, who arrived in New York, NY in 1806 [1]
  • Patrick Kearny, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [1]
  • James Kearny, who landed in Maryland in 1815 [1]
  • John Kearny, who arrived in South Carolina in 1830 [1]

Canada Kearny migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Kearny Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Kearny, aged 26, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the barque "Pallas" from Cork, Ireland
  • Jane Kearny, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834
  • Mary Ann Kearny, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Perseus" in 1834

New Zealand Kearny 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:

Kearny Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Kearny, aged 29, a shoemaker, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Catherine Kearny, aged 26, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Mary Kearny, aged 3, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874
  • Ellen Kearny, aged 3 months, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Woodlark" in 1874

Contemporary Notables of the name Kearny (post 1700) +

  • Cresson Kearny (1914-2003), American author of Nuclear War Survival Skills
  • Stephen Watts Kearny (1794-1848), American General in the Mexican War, eponym of Fort Kearney, Nebraska; known for his Conquest of California and his Kearny Code which established the law and government in the newly acquired territory of New Mexico
  • Philip Kearny (1815-1862), U.S. Army officer, known for his leadership in the Mexican-American War and American Civil War; he was killed in action in the 1862 Battle of Chantilly
  • Lawrence Kearny (1789-1868), U.S. Navy officer and second cousin of Stephen W. Kearny
  • Warren Kearny, American Republican politician, U.S. Collector of Customs, 1932; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Louisiana, 1932 (alternate), 1936 (member, Committee to Notify Presidential Nominee), 1940, 1944 [2]
  • Lawrence Kearny, American politician, Mayor of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, 1848 [2]
  • Jo Ellen Kearny, American Democrat politician, Member, Credentials Committee, Democratic National Convention, 2008 [2]
  • J. Watts Kearny, American Republican politician, Postmaster at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1902-05 [2]
  • J. Kearny Rice, American politician, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, 1896-1900 [3]


The Kearny 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: Sustine et abstine
Motto Translation: Sustain and abstain


  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 6) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  3. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, February 24) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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