Peary History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
Cornwall in southwestern England provides the original birthplace of the surname Peary. Nickname surnames were rare among the Cornish, they did occasionally adopt names that reflected the physical characteristics or other attributes of the original bearer of the name. The name Peary is a nickname type of surname for a servant employed by someone named Perry. Perry is a derivative of the ancient Biblical name Peter, meaning rock.
Early Origins of the Peary family
The surname Peary was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. By the 12th century the family had affected the Normanization of their surname to De Puryham, but it is more likely to be of Dumnonian origin, although undoubtedly that spelling is incorrect.
From Puryham the name became Perriam, and then Periam, and then Peryman, then Perriman. There is no evidence that the name Perryman has any connection whatsoever with the wine, perry, a maker or seller of perry. 
There is solid evidence, however, that Periam and Perryman are connected, both bearing a similar family name Coat of Arms from about the 15th century. This whole group of names are most likely connected with the Cornish St. Perran as we shall see later in this treatise.
Early History of the Peary family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Peary research. Another 235 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1237, 1593, 1534, 1604 and 1551 are included under the topic Early Peary History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Peary Spelling Variations
Cornish surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Perryman, Peryman, Perriman, Periman, Perrieman, Perieman, Perreman, Pereman, Peryam, Perriam, Periam, Puryham and many more.
Early Notables of the Peary family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Peary Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Peary family
Some of the first North American settlers with Peary name or one of its variants: Richard Perryman with his wife and daughter Anne who settled in Barbados in 1679; William Perryman settled in Nevis in 1670; Henry and Richard Perriman settled in Maryland in 1774.
Contemporary Notables of the name Peary (post 1700) +
- Gerald Peary, American film critic
- Harold Peary (1908-1985), American actor, comedian and singer in radio, film and television
- Danny Peary (b. 1949), American film critic and sports writer
- Robert Edwin Peary (1856-1920), American explorer who claimed to have been the first person, on April 6, 1909, to reach the geographic North Pole
Related Stories +
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)