Last name: Kerry

This most interesting and unusual surname is of medieval Welsh origin, and may be either a locational name from Kerry in South East Montgomeryshire, so called from the Gaelic\Celtic "coire, kerry", cauldron, glen, or a derivative of the Old Welsh personal name "Cynwrig". This given name is believed to be composed of the Welsh elements "cyn", chief, and "(g)wr", man, hero, with the suffix of quality "ig", or it may be cognate with he Olde English pre 7th Century "Cyneric", a compound of the elements "cyne", royal, and "ric", power. The latter appears as "Kenricus" and "Chenricus" in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Suffolk, and in 1093, Cynwrig Hir Edeirnion freed one Gruffudd ap Cynan from Chester prison. Early examples of the surname include: John Kendrich (Cambridgeshire, 1279); John Kerrych (Suffolk, 1297) and Nicholas Kenewrec (Somerset, 1327). On November 6th 1559, John Kerrye and Joan Morse were married in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, and on January 15th 1563, Tiche Kerry, an infant, was christened at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London. In Ireland, Kerry is an Anglicized form to the North Leinster sept name, "O'Ciardha", descendant of the Dark One". A Coat of Arms granted to the Kerry family of Shropshire is a shield divided per saltire ermine and azure, the Crest being a black beehive, with bees volant gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Kerie, which was dated March 29th 1558, witness at a christening at Burford, Shropshire, during the reign of Queen Mary 1, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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