- The Carey History
- The name Carey, along with its
other derivations, yields a long and illustrious history in North
Western Europe, specifically in what is now the British Isles,
the Republic of Ireland, and North West France.
- As a surname it has two distinct origins: Normandy (North
West France) and Ireland - both heavily influenced by ancient
Celtic history. While the considerable influence that Celtic
has played on Irish culture is well known, its role in the early
history of North West France is often underestimated.
- Early historical records indicate 2 origins of Carey or Cary.
Though they are probably connected in some way. The first evolved
in Britan in part from the Celtic word 'cari' (also spelt 'kari'),
meaning 'pleasant stream'. The second evolved in Ireland, derived
from the native Gaelic O'Ciardha Sept, who were located in County
Kildare. Ó Ciardha, which means "descendent of Ciardha".
Ciar means "dark" in Gaelic, suggesting the meaning
of the surname is Children of the Dark. Not uncommon for Pagan
- The Irish Careys were descendants of the O'Ciardhas of Kildare
(or of Killkenny according to some records), a powerful Irish
sect situated near Dublin. Many of their descendants traveled
down to the Southern coast of Ireland, where the clan name was
changed to 'Carey'. Here the Careys settled before emigrating
later to South West England, and then to other parts of England
and the Americas starting at the end of the 17th century.
- The Norman Careys, like many other families from Normandy,
were most probably descendants of a variety of earlier groups
who migrated through North West Europe. Most notably, the Norman
Careys would probably have had Gaulic and Celtic ancestry, as
well as Norse, Germanic and Teutonic heritage. In particular,
there was a strong tradition of interplay between Norman and
Celtic societies - both positive and all too often negative.
This was partly due to their geographical proximity, and partly
due to common cultural themes that remained in place for many
- The Norman name was originally spelt 'de Kari', which in
turn translates to 'of Kari'. When translated into Celtic this
would have meant 'of the pleasant stream'. However, within Normandy
itself it is feasible that the name referenced a specific geographical
area, possibly the Manor of Carrey in Lisieux.
- There is no record of a de Kari arriving with William the
Conqueror and his knights during the invasion of England in 1066,
or of any Careys before this time. It is therefore likely that
the Norman Carey ancestors arrived after the successful invasion.
- The earliest English mainland Carey on record is a Norman
knight and Lord named Adam de Kari, who was most probably born
between 1170 and 1180, and was the first recorded occupant of
Castle Cary in Somerset. The fact that de Kari governed Castle
Cary strongly suggests that either the de Kari family was of
noble Norman stock, or that the patriarch of the family was highly
regarded as a politician and soldier. Given the early and rapid
emergence of the Carys in Anglo-Norman culture the former of
these theories is highly probable.
- Between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries the Kari
name evolved into Kary and then Cary, as the Norman invaders
began to adopt some indigenous Anglo-Saxon mannerisms. Like other
prominent Norman families, the Carys of this time exerted considerable
influence in the evolving social hierarchy, especially throughout
the counties of Somerset and Wiltshire.
- In addition, around this time emerged the first reliable
evidence of a Carey line living on Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
A Jean Carey is recorded as being 'alive in 1393'. Other evidence
seems to indicate that the Guernsey line descended directly from
Normandy, and not from the English Carey line.
- Although the Carys of Somerset held no direct lineage to
the English throne, they did hold some influence with several
English monarchs. During the early reign of Henry V, Sir Robert
Cary (born 1375) won wide-spread admiration for defeating a highly
proficient (and somewhat troublesome) knight. Noted in the Remarkable
Antiquities of the City of Exeter, the legendary encounter was
recorded. (See the crest page for
- A Knight named Argonise who was visiting England, from where
is unclear. During his visit, Argonise challenged many persons
of his rank and quality to test his skills and undoubtedly show
off his talents. Sir Robert Carey is said to have accepted this
challenge, by which a long and cruel encounter was waged. Sir
Robert vanquished Argonise, for which e was Knighted by the King.
- During the age of chivalry, a challenger who vanquishes his
foe fairly in the field, may take on the Arms of the vanquished.
The Coat of Armoury of Argonise was acquired by Sir Robert, and
the Cary Coat of Arms was established.
- In the sixteenth century the descendant of Sir Robert, William
Cary married Mary Boleyn, the sister of King Henry VIII's late
wife Anne. William's son Henry (1524-1596) became a respected
soldier and diplomat, and Henry's eldest son George was given
the title of 'Baron Hunsdon' by Queen Elizabeth I. Also on record
during this era is one Thomas Cary, his name appearing in the
Assixe Rolls of London in 1375.
- Over the subsequent three centuries the Carey ancestors lost
some direct influence in the English aristocracy, but maintained
a more progressive presence through academic and creative works.
Indeed, Henry Carey (1760-1839) is accredited with composing
"God Save the King" - the English national anthem,
while one of his distant cousins William Carey (1761-1834) helped
to form the Baptist Missionary Society.
- The economist Henry Carey, who lived from 1793 to 1879, was
America's most famous economist, and the world's most famous
living economist in the period of the American Civil War, and
afterwards. Henry Carey's writings were translated into many
of the European and Asian languages, and with his predecessors,
Friedrich List, and Henry Clay, and Alexander Hamilton, he was
the main representative of the American School of Economics,
or the Nationalist School, as opposed to the British School of
Economics, which was represented at that time by John Stuart
Mill--a very evil and famous man--and earlier writers, such as
Thomas Malthus, David Ricardo and Adam Smith. Carey was the representative
of the Nationalist School throughout the world.
- The relationship between the Irish and Norman Carey/Cary
lines is difficult to establish. Through the centuries the Cary
spelling has been common place in South West England, specifically
around Castle Cary and the river Cary. The proliferation of Careys
in Southern Ireland and their steady filtration over to England
starting around the 16th century suggests that the origins of
the two lines are quite distinct. However, name standardization,
a general lack of lineage data, and the tendency to spell words
and names phonetically from the 18th century onwards complicates
matters somewhat, and makes it very difficult for many families
to trace their true ancestry.
- During the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
many Careys migrated from England and Southern and Western Ireland
to the Americas, making Carey a less common surname in English
society. More recently both British and Irish bearers of the
Carey name have increased in number, and the American Careys
have boomed. Today there are more than 110,000 Careys World-wide.
Owners of other variations of the name are fewer in number but
- Written by: Andrew Carey, March, 2001.
- Updated by: Vickie Carey, September 2006
- The Historical Research Center: Carey Family Name History.
- List of Norman knights involved in the invasion of England
- Geographical maps of Northern France and South West England.
- Biographical information in Wikipedia.org.
Carey & The Nationalist School
- Behind the