O'Leary History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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'Leary 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'Leary family

The surname O'Leary 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'Leary family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our O'Leary research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 117 and 1172 are included under the topic Early O'Leary History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

O'Leary Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, scribes recorded people's names as they saw fit. As a result, surnames often had many spelling variations. For O'Leary some of these variations included: Leary, O'Leary, O'Leery and others.

Early Notables of the O'Leary family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early O'Leary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Australia O'Leary migration to Australia +

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

O'Leary Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mary O'Leary, aged 35, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin" [1]
  • Mary O'Leary, aged 35, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849 [1]
  • John O'Leary, aged 35, a farmer, who arrived in South Australia in 1853 aboard the ship "Epaminondas" [2]
  • Honor O'Leary, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "South Sea"
  • Maria O'Leary, aged 19, a domestic servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1856 aboard the ship "Fitzjames"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand O'Leary 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:

O'Leary Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Dennis O'Leary, British settler, as the 2nd Detachment of New Zealand Corps of Royal New Zealand Fencibles travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Minerva" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 8th October 1847 [3]
  • Timothy O'Leary, aged 23, a labourer, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Halcione" in 1870
  • Kate O'Leary, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Wild Duck" in 1873
  • Mary O'Leary, aged 23, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874
  • Ellen O'Leary, aged 21, a servant, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Conflict" in 1874
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name O'Leary (post 1700) +

  • George Joseph O'Leary (b. 1946), American head football coach at the University of Central Florida
  • Brian Todd O'Leary (1940-2011), American scientist and a former NASA astronaut [4]
  • Charley O'Leary (1882-1941), American Major League Baseball shortstop
  • George O'Leary (b. 1946), American college football coach
  • Daniel V. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Postmaster at Albany, New York, 1885-89 [5]
  • Dan O'Leary, American Republican politician, Supervisor of Washington Township, Michigan, 2008-09 [5]
  • Cornelius J. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Member of Maine State House of Representatives from Penobscot County, 1919-20 [5]
  • Brent O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Democrats Abroad, 2000, 2008; Member of Democratic National Committee from Democrats Abroad, 2008 [5]
  • Blanca U. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Colorado, 2008 [5]
  • Arthur F. O'Leary, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Connecticut 5th District, 1926 [5]
  • ... (Another 46 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leslie S D O'Leary (b. 1920), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Hazelmere, Surrey, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [6]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Patrick O'Leary, British Petty Officer Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [7]
HMS Royal Oak
  • James D.F. O'Leary, British Leading Cook with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [8]
RMS Titanic
  • Miss Hanora "Nora" O'Leary, aged 16, Irish Third Class passenger from Kingwilliamstown, Cork who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived in the sinking in life boat 13 [9]


The O'Leary 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.


Suggested Readings for the name O'Leary +

  • 1412 From Ireland, Land of Pain and Sorrow: A Historical Chronicle of Two Cultures by Joseph L. Grady.

  1. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ELGIN 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Elgin.htm
  2. ^ South Australian Register Monday 26th December 1853. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Epaminondas 1853. Retrieved http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/australia/epaminondas1853.shtml.
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  4. ^ Brian O'Leary. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Brian O'Leary. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_O%27Leary
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 7) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  6. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  7. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  8. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  9. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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