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Surname Carey - Meaning and Origin

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With curiosity about my family lineage, I took a DNA test at iGENEA. Discovering that the Carey's, my ancestors, were Scandinavian instead of Irish, has reshaped my understanding of my family history and its influence on my personal identity.

C. Carey

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Carey: What does the surname Carey mean?

The last name Carey has multiple origins and meanings. In Ireland, it has been derived from the Gaelic "Ó Ciardha," meaning "descendant of Ciardha." The name Ciardha itself signifies "dark" or "black," indicating a person with dark hair or complexion. Another Irish derivation comes from the Gaelic name "MacFhiachra," meaning "son of Fiachra." Fiachra signifies "raven," again potentially referring to a person with dark hair. There is also an English origin; in Sussex and Hampshire, the name is locational, derived from Carew, meaning "fort" or "enclosure," indicating families that lived near such structures. In Wales, it could be a variation of "Cary," meaning "from the castle," and in France, it could be derived from "Carey," meaning "from Carey in Nord." Therefore, depending on its origin, the surname Carey could denote a person with dark physical attributes, someone hailing from a specific location, or a dweller near a fort or castle.

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Carey: Where does the name Carey come from?

The surname Carey is of both Irish and English origin.

In Irish context, it derives from the Gaelic "Ó Ciardha" meaning descendant of Ciardha (‘dark’ or ‘black’) which was a personal name originally offered to those with darker features. The family was primarily based in County Kildare.

The English version, however, is rooted from multiple sources: from the forts called ‘Castle Cary’ and ‘Carey’ in Somerset and Devon respectively, from the manor of 'Carey’ in the parish of St. Giles-on-the-Heath, and even has links to the Norman-French name Archary. The term itself means 'dweller at the castle' or 'dweller near the River Cary'.

Today, the surname is most prevalent in the United States, followed by England, and Ireland. In the United States, it is most densely populated in New York. It’s also fairly common in Australia, Canada, and South Africa. The alternative spelling, Cary, is also quite common in the United States.

Variations of the surname Carey

The surname Carey has various variants and similar spellings that can be attributed to the difference in regional dialects and spelling variations over time. Some of these variations include Cary, Cairy, Carrey, Carry, Kery, Karry, Karrey, Kearie, Kerie, Keary, Kearry, Karie, and Carie.

Furthermore, the surname Carey is derived from several origins that have been absorbed into English-speaking societies through immigration. These include the Irish O'Ciardha and the Welsh Caer.

In the Irish variant O'Ciardha, the surname has been anglicized into different forms. These include Keary, Kerry, Caraher, and Carey. Similarly, the Welsh origin surname Caer has variations such as Keir, Kerr, Kerrie, and Karry.

Finally, the surname Carey is shaped under various nameplates in different countries. For example, in France, it may appear as Carrey while in Spain it may appear as Cari or Carri. The pronunciation and spelling may vary, but the surname's root remains homogenous across various cultures. It's also worth mentioning that, as with most surnames, specific family lines may have their unique spellings or variations.

Famous people with the name Carey

  • Mariah Carey- American singer, songwriter, and actress known for her five-octave vocal range.
  • Drew Carey- American actor and comedian famous for "The Drew Carey Show" and hosting "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
  • Harry Carey- a renowned American actor and one of silent film’s earliest superstars.
  • Harry Carey Jr.- popular American actor known for appearing in westerns.
  • Jim Carey- Also known as James Carrey, a famous Canadian-American actor, comedian, and writer.
  • Mary Carey- a stage name for Mary Ellen Cook, an American former pornographic actress.
  • Timothy Carey- an American film and television character actor.
  • Ron Carey- an American film and television actor.
  • Alyvia Alyn Lind- Known for her role as Faith Newman in "The Young and the Restless", she uses the stage name Alyvia Alyn Carey.
  • Macdonald Carey- an American actor best known for his role in the NBC soap opera "Days of Our Lives".
  • Philip Carey- an American actor best remembered for his role in the soap opera "One Life to Live".
  • Michele Carey- an American actress who was best known for her role in the film "El Dorado".
  • Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis- an American fashion model and singer who uses Gabriel-Kane as his first name and Day-Lewis Carey as his last name.

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