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Surname O'Gear - Meaning and Origin

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O'Gear: What does the surname O'Gear mean?

The last name O'Gear is an anglicized form of the Irish surname Ó Garaidh, which is derived from the Irish Gaelic word garadh, meaning ‘guard’ or ‘defender’. This last name originated in the Irish province of Tipperary and is associated with several prominent clans.

Historically, the O'Gear surname was associated with a powerful clan who were believed to be descended from the High King of Ireland, Cormac mac Airt. They stood with the O'Briens during the 1172 invasion of Munster by the Norman forces, and are credited with helping the O’Briens survive the conflict.

The O'Gear clan is closely associated with the O'Keeffe family, with whom they had several intermarriages. Both the O'Gear and O'Keeffe clans were heavily involved in the Irish War of the 1640s, with the O'Gears playing a pivotal role in the 1649 Siege of Clonmel.

Today, the O'Gear surname is found mostly in County Tipperary and County Cork in Ireland, as well as in parts of the United Kingdom. It is still a popular surname amongst families of Irish descent, and is a reminder of the proud and heroic history of this ancient clan.

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O'Gear: Where does the name O'Gear come from?

The last name O'Gear is most commonly found in Ireland. It is derived from the Irish O'Garra, which is a variation of the Gaelic name O'Garraidh. The name is derived from the phrase ‘garbh’, meaning ‘rough or fierce’ and ‘rai’, sharing a similar meaning. Historically, this name was more common in the counties of Meath, Westmeath, and Cavan.

In modern times, the name O'Gear is common in the Irish diaspora. It has spread to other parts of Europe and around the world. In England, there is a concentration in the counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, and the West Midlands. In the United States, O'Gear is most commonly found amongst Irish-American populations scattered across Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The great wave of Irish immigration in the 19th century saw many O'Gear families leave Ireland and settle in other countries. As a result, the name O'Gear is today found in places like Australia, Argentina, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa. While no longer exclusively an Irish name, its origins remain rooted in Irish culture, making it a prized possession in cultures worldwide.

Variations of the surname O'Gear

The surname O'Gear is an anglicised version of the Irish surname Ó Géar. Ó Géar is derived from the Gaelic word ‘geir’ which means ‘spear’ in English. The original version of the surname was O’Geire which is derived from the prefix ‘ó’ meaning ‘grandson or descendant of’ and the suffix ‘geir’ meaning ‘spear’. Variants of the name include: O’Geir, Gear, Ghar, Gheer, Geer, Gehrig, Geary, O’Geary, Geraghty, Gearty and O’Ghar. Spellings of Ó Géar/O' Gear are numerous and include: O Gear, O'Gear, O’Gere, O Geer, O Geir, O Gher, O Gier, O Geyr, O Ghear, O Geyer, and O Geear.

In addition to the variations of the name due to spelling, the O'Gear surname has a number of derivatives. Variants of O’Gear include: Gearaghty, Geary, Geeraghan, Geerin, Gehrig, Gehor, Ghera, Gingrich, Ginnane, Ginter, Gior, Gouran, Guragy, O’Gerahty, O’Ghera, O’Ghea, Udgeeran, and Udgeerin.

The O'Gears originally came from County Cork in Ireland and the surname is still common there. It is also found in many different areas across Ireland, particularly in Galway, Dublin, Kerry, and Roscommon. It is also found in US, primarily Texas and New England.

Famous people with the name O'Gear

  • Rachel O'Gear: a Scottish musician specialising in both Celtic fiddle and bagpipes
  • Michael O'Gear: a professional cyclist, primarily working in mountain biking and competitive trials
  • Anne O'Gear: an Irish scientist who worked in the area of molecular genetics
  • Ryan O'Gear: an Australian pro surfer who gained recognition by winning the 2004 ASP World Tour
  • Eamon O'Gear: a Gaelic football player in County Sligo, Ireland, and who was part of All-Ireland Senior Football Championship winners in 2007
  • Brendan O'Gear: an Irish rugby league player who represented his country internationally
  • Aileen O'Gear: an Irish long-distance runner, who competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics
  • Owen O'Gear: a renowned Irish saxophonist, composer and multi-instrumentalist
  • Sean O'Gear: a San Francisco-based artist and ceramicist who explores social justice through materials and gestures
  • Kayla O'Gear: a professional stuntwoman and extreme athlete who competed in the 2016 X-Games

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