Last name: Geary

Recorded in a number of spelling forms including: Geary, Gery, Gerry, Jeary, Jery, Jerry, Jaray, and Jarry, this interesting surname has three possible meanings and two possible origins, English and Irish! Taking the English origin. This is a derivation of the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon and Olde German word Geri or Gari, translating as "spear". This may have described a soldier who carried such a weapon, or it may simply by a personal name at a time when any name which extolled war and weaponry was greatly treasured. The surname from this source is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century (see below). Another possibility is that the name derives from the Medieval English word "geary" meaning "fickle" and as such was given as a nickname to a capricious person. Three spellings of the name appear in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, dated 1273, as Jery, Gery and Geri. The second possible origin is Irish. The surname as Geary is fairly widespread in the Munster counties of Cork and Kerry. Whilst for some nameholders it may be a 17th century import from England, it is usually considered for most nameholders to be a form of the Gaelic O' Gadhra meaning "hound", and said to be the nickname of the first chief of the sept in the 10th century. Amongst the many interesting nameholders was Sir Francis Geary (1710 - 1796). Said to originate from an Irish family, he was the Admiral of the Blue in the British fleet in 1775, and was created a baronet in 1782. The first recorded spelling of the name anywhere in the world may be that of Richard Geri. This was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls" of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England, 1189 - 1199.

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