This surname O'GEARY belongs to the relationship group of surnames and means 'the son of Geri', a personal name found in the Domesday Book of 1066. The name was originally brought into England and Ireland in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and the earliest example of the name to be found on record is Richard Jery of Huntingdonshire, 1273. The name was actually a nickname that applied to one who was 'changeable and giddy'. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Willelmus filius Gerici was recorded in 1300 in London and Edward Jarye of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Most present day Irish bearers of the name Geary and its variants and derivatives are descended from a single 10th century ancestor, a nephew of Eadhra, who founded the family of O'Hara. The name in Gaelic is O'GADHRA. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. A later instance of the name includes Thomas Jary who was the vicar of Binham in County Norfolk in 1521.
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