In his book "Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall" i.e., "Irish and English Surnames", published in 1923, Fr. Woulfe states that the name Berkery is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic Mac Bearthagra. The Gaelic prefix "Mac" means "son of", plus the personal byname Bearthagra, a compound of "bear" meaning "sharp", plus "tagra", pleading. The name, chiefly found in the Munster counties of Tipperary and Limerick, has a number of variant spellings including Berecry, Berracree, Berkerry and Berachry. On March 15th 1768, John Berkery, an infant, was christened in St. John's Church, Limerick, and in September 1837, Alice Berkerry and John Mick were married in Rathkeale, County Limerick. A daughter, Margaret, was born to Michael Berkery and Hanna Shannahan in Toomyvara, County Tipperary, on October 9th, 1864. One of the earliest recordings of the name in London is the marriage of Margaret Berkerey and James Baker in St. Anne's, Soho, Westminster, on April 26th 1841. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margarett Burkery, (christening), which was dated December 25th 1765, St. John's Church, Limerick, during the reign of King George 111 of England, 1760 - 1820. 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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