This interesting surname is of Irish origin, and is an Anglicization of the Gaelic "O' Meadhra", descendant of Meadhra, a personal name derived from "meadhar" meaning mirth or joy. The O' Mearas are originally from the north of County Tipperary, and they gave their name to a place called Toomeuara - Tuaim ui Mheadhra in Irish; the name is still very widespread in this county. An interesting point about this name is that, while in the beginning of this century, less than one third of the people of the name used the prefix "O" today it is very rare in Ireland to find Mara or Meara without the prefix. The Dermot Meara recorded below was a physician and author, who practised in Ireland; he published a treatise on Hereditary diseases in Dublin in 1619. The modern surname can be found as (O) Mara and (O) Meara. Barry O'Meara 91786 - 1836), a surgeon and author famous for his association with Napoleon at St. Helena, was a Tipperary man. In January 1865, Catherine Meara and Peter James Lawler were married at St. Andrew's Westland Row, Dublin, and on July 19th 1867, a son was born to James and Mary O'Meara in Dublin. The family Coat of Arms is a red shield with three lions passant guardant in pale per pale gold and silver, an azure border charged with eight silver escallops, the Crest being a pelican vulning herself proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dermot Meara, which was dated circa 1580 - 1630, Dublin, Ireland, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 of England, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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