The name O'Clearey originally appeared in Gaelic as O Cleirigh, from the word "cleireach," which means "clerk" or "cleric." The name denotes a descendant of Cleireach, who was born around 820 AD, and descended from Guaire the Hospitable, the famous king of Connacht.
Early Origins of the O'Clearey family
The surname O'Clearey was first found in County Galway
. A descendent of Guaire, Cleireach, the namesake of the O'Clerys, was born around 820 AD, about two hundred
years before hereditary surnames
came into general use. CITATION[CLOSE]
MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
However, the name O'Clery first appeared around 950 AD, making it one of the earliest recorded hereditary surnames
. The O'Clerys were the dominant sept in what is now the diocese of Kilmacduagh in the county of Galway
, but declined in power until they were forced out of their original territory by the mid-13th century. The most important branch of the family settled in Counties Derry and Donegal
and became prominent historians and poets. The branch that settled in County Cavan
has seemingly all but vanished. However, the English surname Clarke has been widely substituted for O'Clery there, following the Plantation of Ulster
, and many Irish Clarkes may actually be O'Clerys, rather than descendants of English settlers. Another branch is still fairly common in the counties of Kilkenny
, and Tipperary
. The name is presently found mostly in Munster
Early History of the O'Clearey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Clearey research.Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1172, 1636, 1450, 1507, 1507, 1781 and 1860 are included under the topic Early O'Clearey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Clearey Spelling Variations
The recording of names in Ireland
in the Middle Ages was an inconsistent endeavor at best. The standardized literary languages of today were not yet reached and the spelling of surnames often changed through a bearer's lifetime. Research into the name O'Clearey revealed spelling variations
, including Clery, Cleary, Claree, Clarey, Cleare, Clearey, Clerey, O'Cleary, O'Clery, Macchlery, Clerkin, Clark and many more.
Early Notables of the O'Clearey family (pre 1700)
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early O'Clearey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Clearey family to the New World and Oceana
In the 18th and 19th centuries hundreds of thousands of Irish people immigrated to North American shores. The early settlers were enticed by the promise of their own land, but they were moderately well off in Ireland
when they decided to emigrate. Therefore, they were merely carrying out a long and carefully thought out decision. The 1840s saw the emergence of a very different trend: thousands of extremely desperate people crammed into passenger boats hoping to find any type of opportunity. The Irish of this decade had seen their homeland severely stricken by crop failures which resulted in widespread disease and starvation. At whatever time the Irish immigrants came to North America, they were instrumental in the rapid development of the emerging nations of the United States and what would become known as Canada. An exhaustive search of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many persons bearing the name O'Clearey, or one of its variants: Thomas Clary, who arrived in the Virginia colony in 1642; George Cleary, who was on record in Barbados plantation between the years 1679 and 1680; Darby Cleary, who came to America in 1736.