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Surname O'Geary - Meaning and Origin

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

The last name O'Geary is an anglicized version of the Irish Gaelic name Ó Géibheannaidh, which roughly translates to "descendant of the small-forked one." This name is thought to have originally referred to a person with a very specific physical attribute, likely a cleft chin.

The O'Geary surname is of old Irish origin and dates back to the 11th century when they were a powerful sept, or group, in south and west County Galway. The name is also found in Counties Tipperary, Limerick, and Cork.

The original form of the name, Ó Géibheannaidh, is composed of two distinct elements. The first element "ó" means "grandson" or "descendant" of and the second element "géibheannaidh" is thought to mean "one with a small-forked beard." By adding the term "géibheannaidh," the original nameholder was indicating that he or she had a special physical characteristic, likely a cleft chin.

In medieval times, the possession of such a attribute was viewed as a sign of strength and courage, and as such, those bearing the Ó Géibheannaidh name were held in high respect by their contemporaries.

The O'Geary name also carries with it a powerful sense of honor and duty. The nameholders are responsible for protecting not only their family and clan but also their Irish heritage. For many, remaining in touch with their Irish ancestors is an important part of honoring their family name.

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

The last name O'Geary is most commonly found in Ireland, but can be found around the world in places with Irish diaspora. It is mostly found throughout the United Kingdom, particularly in larger cities such as Manchester, London, and Edinburgh. It can also be found in the Canadian provinces of Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. In the United States, it is most commonly found in the New England states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

In Ireland, O’Geary is most commonly found in County Cork and County Tipperary, two of the southernmost counties of the country. It has been found in Co. Cork since the 17th century, and is thought to have been brought there by followers of the MacCarthy Clan. O’Geary is also found in other counties such as Kerry, Limerick, and Waterford.

Regardless of where it’s found, O’Geary remains a popular Irish surname. The name is associated with a proud Irish heritage, and many O’Geary’s can trace their ancestry back to the country’s many different clans. It is a name that brings to mind strong family ties, and a fierce spirit that has kept the name alive even in the face of adversity.

Variations of the surname O'Geary

The surname O'Geary has a range of variants, spellings and other surnames related to the same origin.

First and foremost is the spelling O’Geary, which in Irish is Ua Gearra, or O'Garra, both derived from the Irish name Gearra. This name is derived from the Gaelic word ‘gearr’, meaning ‘short’ or ‘little’.

This surname is also seen variously spelled as O'Gearey, Gearey, Geary, Gairy, Ogearey, Ogeeraghty, O'Garey, O'Geraghty or Geraghty, as well as occasionally Gyary.

The O'Geary name is used as both a first name and a surname, and can be found in place names throughout Ireland. The name may also be derived from an Anglo-Saxon origin, one other possible form being Geery.

Other surnames believed to be of similar origin or from the same Irish family include O'Garry, MacGughry, O'Gara, Gara, Garry, Geary, Geery, Geraghty, Gogarty, Gearing, Geer Suffix’s -kin, -kins and -kinsal, and variants thereof.

The O'Geary family has had clans in County Tipperary and County Galway in Ireland for centuries. The family crest for the O’Geary name includes a falcon's head and the Irish motto ‘Virtute Fortesque’, which translates to ‘With Virtue and Strength’.

Famous people with the name O'Geary

  • John O'Geary: A former Lt. Governor of Illinois and longtime mayor of Belleville, Illinois.
  • Eamon O'Geary: An All-Ireland medal-winning Gaelic footballer, playing his club football in London with Fulham Irish and in 2006 was the first hurler in history to receive an All-Star award in London.
  • John O'Geary: A former international rugby player who represented Ireland, playing for the national team during the mid-90s.
  • Paul O'Geary: A former AFL player who represented Fremantle during the mid-2000s.
  • Denis O'Geary: A former professional footballer who Represented the Republic of Ireland and Wrexham during the 70s and 80s.
  • Jack O'Geary: An actor and stuntman best known for his stunt work in American Sniper, The Patriot and The Social Network.
  • Erin O'Geary: Footballer Pundit and broadcaster in the UK and Ireland.
  • David O'Geary: A former professional boxer and former Irish National Champion.
  • Lisa O'Geary: An international award-winning contemporary Irish artist who has exhibited in various venues in Europe, the US and Canada.
  • Joseph O'Geary: An Irish sport shooter who has won numerous medals in international competitions.

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