While many Irish names are familiar, their past incarnations are often shrouded in mystery, reflecting the ancient Gaelic heritage of their bearers. The original Gaelic form of the name O'Learey is O Laoghaire, which was originally derived from Laoghaire, one of the most well-known personal names in ancient Ireland.
Early Origins of the O'Learey family
The surname O'Learey was first found in County Cork
(Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland
in the province of Munster
, where they held a family seat
from ancient times.
Early History of the O'Learey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Learey research.Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early O'Learey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
O'Learey Spelling Variations
One explanation for the many variations is that scribes and church officials frequently spelled the name as it sounded: an imprecise method at best. Understandably then, various spellings of the surname O'Learey were found in the many archives researched. These included Leary, O'Leary, O'Leery and others.
Early Notables of the O'Learey family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early O'Learey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the O'Learey family to the New World and Oceana
Suffering from poverty and racial discrimination, thousands of Irish families
left the island in the 19th century for North America aboard cramped passenger ships. The early migrants became settlers of small tracts of land, and those that came later were often employed in the new cities or transitional work camps. The largest influx of Irish settlers occurred with Great Potato Famine
during the late 1840s. Although the immigrants from this period were often maligned when they arrived in the United States, they provided the cheap labor that was necessary for the development of that country as an industrial power. Early immigration and passenger lists have revealed many immigrants bearing the name O'Learey: Daniel, Denis, George, Jeremiah, John, Michael, Patrick, Thomas and William Leary, who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1860; other Learys arrived in the ports of Boston, New York, San Francisco, Quebec..
The O'Learey 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: Laidir isé lear Righ
Motto Translation: Strong is the King of the sea.