Meara History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Meara has undergone many variations in the time that has passed since its genesis. In Gaelic it appeared as O Meadhra, which is derived from the word meadhar, which means merry.

Early Origins of the Meara family

The surname Meara was first found in County Tipperary (Irish: Thiobraid Árann), established in the 13th century in South-central Ireland, in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times.

"The O'Mearas had an extensive territory in the Barony of Upper Ormond, County Tipperary, in which O'Meara was a Chief.The name of their principal residence, Tuam-ui-Meara, is still retained in the town of Toomyvara. The Mearas or O'Mearas are still numerous in that locality." [1]

Early History of the Meara family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Meara research. Another 91 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1619, 1614, 1681 and 1818 are included under the topic Early Meara History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Meara Spelling Variations

Many variations of the name Meara were found in archives from the Middle Ages. These variations can be somewhat explained by the challenge of translation of Gaelic names into English. Hence, the spelling and language in which the people's names were recorded was often up to the individual scribe. Variations of the name Meara found include Meara, O'Mara, Mar, O'Meara and others.

Early Notables of the Meara family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Dermod O'Meara, an Irish physician and poet, author of the first medical work printed in Dublin in 1619; Edmund...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Meara Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Meara migration to the United States +

Irish families began leaving their homeland for North America in the late 18th century. These families were usually modestly well off, but they were looking forward to owning and working on a sizable tract of land of their own. This pattern of emigration continued until the 1840s when the Great Potato Famine sparked a major exodus of destitute and desperate Irish people. These people were not leaving for a grant of land in North America because by this time the East Coast had reached its saturation point and free land was scarce. They were merely looking to escape the disease, starvation, and hopelessness that Ireland had fallen into. Although these unfortunate immigrants did not receive a warm welcome by the established populations in the United States and what would become Canada, they were absolutely critical to the rapid development that these two nations enjoyed. They would help populate the western lands and provide the cheap labor required for a rapid industrialization. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many early bearers of the name Meara or one of its variants:

Meara Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Cornelius J Meara, who arrived in Mississippi in 1840 [2]
  • Patrick Meara, aged 33, who arrived in Missouri in 1841 [2]
  • Francis Meara, who arrived in New York, NY in 1845 [2]
  • Daniel Meara, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1846 [2]
  • Fred J Meara, aged 33, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1847 [2]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Meara migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Meara Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Michael Meara, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1843
  • Mr. Martin Meara, aged 2 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Wellington" departing 29th July 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 20th September 1847 but he died on board [3]
  • Ms. Mary Meara, aged 20 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ellen Simpson" departing 11th June 1847 from Limerick, Ireland; the ship arrived on 14th August 1847 but she died on board [3]
  • Mr. Owen Meara, aged 15 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Ajax" departing 16th April 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 23rd June 1847 but he died on board [3]
  • Mr. Patrick Meara, aged 56 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Jessie" departing 18th April 1847 from Limerick, Ireland; the ship arrived on 26th June 1847 but he died on board [3]

Australia Meara migration to Australia +

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

Meara Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Meara, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Lysander" [4]
  • Ellen Meara, aged 25, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1851 aboard the ship "Catherine" [5]
  • Ellen Meara, aged 25, a servant, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Catherine" in 1851 [5]
  • Anne Meara, aged 21, a housemaid, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Emerald Isle" [6]
  • Ann Meara, aged 22, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Sea Park"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Meara 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:

Meara Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Maria Meara, (b. 1839), aged 23, Irish domestic servant from County Tipperary, travelling from London aboard the ship "Mersey" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 25th September 1862 [7]
  • James Meara, aged 28, a farm labourer, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Ann Meara, aged 18, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Oxford" in 1874
  • Mr. Michael Meara, (b. 1866), aged 17, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Forfarshire" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 26th June 1883 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Meara (post 1700) +

  • Kevin John Meara, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Jersey 4th District, 1996 [8]
  • Kenneth Meara, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indiana, 1928 [8]
  • James F. Meara (b. 1870), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Connecticut State House of Representatives from Torrington, 1906; Member of Connecticut State Senate 30th District, 1911-12 [8]


The Meara 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: Opima spolia
Motto Translation: The spoils of honour.


  1. ^ Matheson, Robert E., Special Report on Surnames in Ireland with Notes as to Numeric Strength, Derivation, Ethnology, and Distribution. Dublin: Alexander Thom & Co., 1894. Print
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ 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. 89)
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Lysander.htm
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CATHERINE 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Catherine.htm
  6. ^ South Australian Register Tuesday 17th January 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Emerald Isle 1854. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/emeraldisle1854.shtml
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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