What is the origin of the last name Carey?

The last name Carey has its origins in Ireland and derives from the Irish surname Ó Ciardha, meaning "descendant of Ciardha." The root name Ciardha is derived from the Gaelic word "ciar," meaning "dark" or "black." The Carey surname is predominantly associated with County Kilkenny in Ireland and has been recorded in historical documents dating back to the 12th century. Over time, variations of the name, such as Cary or Carrie, have emerged, but the core origin remains rooted in Irish ancestry.

Countries of origin for the last name Carey

The last name Carey is of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic surname Ó Ciardha. It is a patronymic surname, meaning it is based on the male ancestor’s name. The prefix “Ó” means “descendant of,” while “Ciardha” is believed to come from the Gaelic word for “dark” or “swarthy.”

The Carey surname has ancient roots in Ireland, with the earliest recorded instances dating back to the 12th century. The clan associated with the surname played a significant role in Irish history, specifically in County Cork and County Kilkenny. The Ó Ciardha clan was part of the Dál gCais or Dalcassians, a prominent Gaelic Irish kin group.

Over time, the Carey surname spread beyond Ireland, particularly to England and Scotland. It is believed that some individuals with the surname migrated during periods of political unrest and economic changes. As a result, there are now Carey families across several countries, including the United States.

In the United States, the Carey surname is fairly common. Many Carey immigrants arrived during waves of Irish emigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries. They sought better economic opportunities and fled the Great Famine, a devastating period in Ireland’s history. Consequently, families with the last name Carey settled in various states, such as New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

The surname Carey has variations in spelling, including alternate forms like Cary, Cairy, and Carry. Such variations can be attributed to the challenges of anglicizing Gaelic names during immigration and the evolutionary nature of surnames over time.

It is worth noting that surnames can have multiple origins and meanings, depending on their geographical location and historical context. Therefore, while the analysis focuses specifically on the Carey surname’s Irish origins, it is important to consider the potential variations and nuances associated with the name in different regions and cultures.

In conclusion, the last name Carey has deep roots in Ireland and its Gaelic heritage. Its associated clan, Ó Ciardha, played a significant role in Irish history. Over time, the surname spread to other countries through migration, including the United States. Today, Carey is a common surname in America, particularly among individuals of Irish descent. Despite its rich history, there remains a sense of curiosity and possibility surrounding the specific journeys and stories of individual Carey families throughout the ages.

Interesting facts about the last name Carey

  • The surname Carey is of Irish origin.
  • It is derived from the Gaelic name “Ó Ciardha” meaning “descendant of Ciardha,” where Ciardha is a personal name derived from the word “ciar” meaning “dark” or “black.”
  • The name Carey is relatively common in Ireland and is particularly prominent in County Kildare.
  • It is believed that the first recorded instance of the surname Carey was in county Clare in the 12th century.
  • Over time, variations of the surname Carey have emerged, including Cari, Carie, Carrey, Carrie, and Carragh.
  • Many individuals with the surname Carey have made significant contributions in various fields, including music, film, literature, and politics.
  • Notable bearers of the surname Carey include Mariah Carey, an American singer and songwriter, and Jim Carey, a Canadian-American actor and comedian.
  • In addition to its Irish origins, the surname Carey can also be found among English and Scottish families.
  • The name Carey has had different spellings throughout history, as is common with many surnames. It can be spelled with or without the final “e” depending on the individual or family’s preference.
  • Today, the surname Carey is found in various parts of the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Name Rank


There are around 56322 people with the last name Carey in the US

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