Keeray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Keeray surname is thought to be derived from the manor of Carrey, near Lisieux, Normandy. Some instances of this name come from Welsh and Cornish origins and are variations of the name Carew. Most of the Irish variations of this name are Anglicized forms of the Gaelic O Ciardha.

Early Origins of the Keeray family

The surname Keeray was first found in Somerset, at Castle Cary, a market town and civil parish in south Somerset. The place dates back to at least the Domesday Book where it was listed as Cari [1] and later in 1237, the place was recorded as Castelkary. It is generally believed that the castle was built by Walter of Douai (c.1046-1107), a Norman knight. The place was named after the River Cary. [2]

John Cary (d. 1395?), was an early English judge, son of Sir John Cary, (d.1371), knight, bailiff of the forest of Selwood in Wiltshire, knight of the shire for Devon in 1362 and 1368. The young John Cary was created Chief Baron of the Exchequer 5 Nov. 1386, but two years later was impeached. "He was condemned to death, but the sentence having been commuted for one of banishment, he was transported to Waterford and confined within a circuit of two miles round the city. He died about 1395 or 1396. His estates at Torrington and Cockington, which had been confiscated, were restored to his son, probably in 1402." [3]

Again in Devon, we find "the extensive parish of St. Giles-in-the-Wood, so called to distinguish it from St. Giles-in-the-Heath, which lies on the borders of Cornwall, and which contains the manor of Cary, reputedly the original home of the Cary family." [4]

"Castle Cary probably derived its name from an ancient castle originally belonging to a lord of the name of Carey, which was defended against King Stephen by its owner, Lord Lovell, one of whose descendants having embraced the cause of the deposed monarch, Richard II., it became forfeited to the crown. " [5]

Also in early days, the family was found at Leppington in the East Riding of Yorkshire. "The Carey family formerly possessed a castellated mansion here, and a member of it was created Baron Carey, of Leppington, in 1622, but the title became extinct about the period of the Restoration. " [5] Other early records were found in Guernsey.

Early History of the Keeray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Keeray research. Another 93 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1205, 1242, 1348, 1645, 1662, 1393, 1288, 1524, 1596, 1575, 1633, 1622, 1629, 1580, 1666, 1608, 1677, 1610, 1643, 1615, 1688, 1624, 1658, 1634, 1663, 1659, 1663, 1656, 1694, 1681, 1689, 1693, 1694, 1633, 1610, 1643, 1610, 1622, 1621 and are included under the topic Early Keeray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Keeray Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Carey, Carrie, Carrey, Cary and others.

Early Notables of the Keeray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Carey, Baily of Guernsey; Henry Carey (circa 1524-1596), 1st Baron Hunsdon, an English army officer, diplomat, and politician, and a nephew of Anne Boleyn; Henry Carey, 1st Viscount Falkland (c. 1575-1633), an English landowner and politician, Lord Deputy of Ireland (1622-1629); Henry Carey, 1st Earl of Dover (ca.1580-1666), an English peer; John Carey, 2nd Earl of Dover (1608-1677), an English peer; Lucius Cary, 2nd Viscount Falkland (c. 1610-1643), an English author and politician, he fought on...
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Keeray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Keeray family to Ireland

Some of the Keeray family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 193 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Keeray family

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Keeray or a variant listed above: James Cary, who came to Charlestown, MA in 1639; Miles Cary, who arrived in Virginia, from Bristol in 1645, and served as Burgess from 1660-1665; Christopher Cary, a servant sent from Bristol to Virginia in 1665.



  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  5. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.


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