Show ContentsMcGarry History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name McGarry has changed considerably in the time that has passed since its genesis. It originally appeared in Gaelic as Mag Fhearadhaigh, derived from the word "fearadhach," possibly meaning "manly." [1]

Early Origins of the McGarry family

The surname McGarry was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they held a family seat from ancient times. [2]

Over in Devon, England, "The ' Domesday ' manor of Kari, in the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Heath, was the first recorded seat of the Gary family ; and one branch continued to reside there so late as the reign of Elizabeth. As early, however, as the reign of Richard II. it ceased to be their principal home. Sir William Gary then settled at Clovelly, and his brother Sir John, Chief Baron of the Exchequer, acquired, with many other manors, that of Cockington, only to lose them all by deciding for Richard against the Commissioners. His attainder was reversed in favour of his son Robert, who gained the favour of Henry V. by vanquishing an Aragonese knight in Smithfield. Two generations later the family were again in difficulty. Sir William Gary, grandson of Robert, was an ardent Lancastrian ; and one of those who, after the fatal battle of Tewkesbury, took refuge in the Abbey Church. Two days later the refugees were treacherously beheaded. The usual forfeiture followed; but Sir William's eldest son, Robert, obtained restoration from Henry VII. He was the ancestor of the present stock of Devonshire Carys. From his half-brother spring the ennobled Carys, represented by Lord Falkland." [3]

Early History of the McGarry family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGarry research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1585, 1667 and 1668 are included under the topic Early McGarry History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGarry Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, a standardized literary language known by the general population of Ireland was a thing of fiction. When a person's name was recorded by one of the few literate scribes, it was up that particular scribe to decide how to spell an individual's name. So a person could have several spelling variations of his name recorded during a single lifetime. Research into the name McGarry revealed many variations, including Garry, Garrihy, Hare, O'Hare, O'Heihir, MacGarry and many more.

Early Notables of the McGarry family (pre 1700)

Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early McGarry Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGarry Ranking

In the United States, the name McGarry is the 6,068th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]

United States McGarry migration to the United States +

Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name McGarry or a variant listed above:

McGarry Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter McGarry, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [5]
  • Daniel McGarry, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [5]
  • Ann McGarry, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1854 [5]
  • Mary McGarry, aged 30, who arrived in New York in 1864 [5]
  • Ann McGarry, aged 2, who immigrated to the United States, in 1895
McGarry Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Annie McGarry, aged 23, who landed in America from Leitrim, in 1900
  • Annie McGarry, aged 36, who immigrated to the United States from Castlebar, Ireland, in 1907
  • Alice McGarry, aged 17, who settled in America from Leitrim, Ireland, in 1907
  • Annie McGarry, aged 29, who landed in America from Cootehill, Ireland, in 1910
  • Annie McGarry, aged 17, who immigrated to America from Doomihar, Ireland, in 1916
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada McGarry migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

McGarry Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William McGarry, aged 45 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Marchioness of Bute" departing 10th June 1847 from Belfast, Ireland; the ship arrived on 31st July 1847 but he died on board [6]

Australia McGarry migration to Australia +

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

McGarry Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Mcgarry, (b. 1812), aged 25, Irish house maid who was convicted in Limerick, Ireland for 7 years for receiving stolen goods, transported aboard the "Diamond" on 29th November 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]

New Zealand McGarry 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:

McGarry Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Jacob McGarry, aged 36, a farm labourer, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • Louisa McGarry, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • William G. McGarry, aged 5, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • John W. McGarry, aged 3, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • Sarah J. McGarry, aged 1, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Chile" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name McGarry (post 1700) +

  • Maurice James "Mac" McGarry (1926-2013), American host of the television quiz show It's Academic
  • William D. McGarry, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the American Volunteer Group, during World War II, credited with 10¼ aerial victories
  • John J. McGarry, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from New London; Elected 1930, 1932 [8]
  • John J. McGarry, American politician, Mayor of Putnam, Connecticut, 1909, 1917 [8]
  • John McGarry, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1956 [8]
  • Frank McGarry, American politician, Representative from New York 18th District, 1908 [8]
  • Everett J. McGarry, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for New York State Assembly from Kings County 9th District, 1956, 1958 [8]
  • Eugene L. McGarry, American Democratic Party politician, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 9th District, 1918 (primary), 1920 [8]
  • Edward McGarry, American politician, Member of California State Assembly 20th District, 1853-54 [8]
  • E. F. McGarry, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Nevada, 1956 [8]
  • ... (Another 22 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Samuel Mcgarry, British Boy Telegraphist, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking [9]

The McGarry 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: Fear garbh ar mait
Motto Translation: Here is a good rough man.

  1. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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)
  6. Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 87)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 1st July 2021). Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 21) . Retrieved from
  9. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook