Select Carey Miscellany

Here are some Carey stories and accounts over the years:

Irish Origins of Carey

Patrick Woulfe in his 1923 book Sloinnte Gaedheal is Gall suggested different origins for Carey in different parts of Ireland.  The following was where these Gaelic names became Carey:
  • O'Ciardha, Kildare, Westmeath, Meath, Clare, east Limerick, NE Cork, SW Tipperary, west Galway
  • Mac Fhiachra, parts of Galway
  • O'Corrain, parts of Munster (in particular in Tipperary)
  • O'Ciarain, south and west Mayo
  • and O'Ciarmihachain, west Cork.

William Carey and Mary Boleyn

William Carey was the second son of Sir Thomas Carey of Chilton Foliat in Wiltshire.  In 1520 he married Mary Boleyn, daughter of Thomas Boleyn, the Ist Earl of Wiltshire.  Shortly after their marriage, Mary became the mistress of King Henry VIII. 

The Boleyns received grants of land and Carey himself profited from his wife's unfaithfulness, being granted manors and estates by the King while the affair was in progress.  Perhaps a reason the athletic Henry favored Carey was the fact that Carey was also fond of activities such as riding, hunting and jousting.  Carey had distinguished himself in jousting at the Field of the Cloth of Gold in 1520.

William and Mary had two children, Henry (the 1st Baron Hunsdon) and Catherine Carey.  Their parentage has been questioned by later historians who suspect that the real father was Henry.

Henry soon turned his affections to Mary's sister Anne Boleyn.  And William Carey himself died of the sweating sickness in 1528 when he was only about thirty.  Henry's secretary wrote the following on the day after his death:

"Now is word common that M. Cary, which before I came lay in the chamber where I lie, and with whom at my first coming I met here in this place, saying that he had been with his wife at Plashey, and would not be seen within, because he would ride again and hunt, is dead of the sweat.  Our Lord have mercy on his soul; and hold his hand over us."  

Careys in Guernsey

Due to the large number of Careys on Guernsey, it was common practice during marriage to incorporate the surname of the bride's father as a mark of respect.  This may have taken the form of a middle Christian name on the birth of the first son or added in front of the Carey surname. 

This has led to the various branches in the family tree following a common surname or middle name through the generations.  Hence the names of Dobree, Havilland, Tupper, Sausmarez, De Vic, Priaulx, Brenton, Onslow, and others.  

Carey's Castle in Tipperary

Carey's castle in Clonmel is a picturesque ruin set in woodland beside the Glenary river.  It was formerly occupied by monks and up to recent years the ruins of the alms house were still in evidence.    

Careys in Griffith's Valuation

Griffith undertook his valuations in Ireland in the 1850's.  The following were the counties with the largest number of Carey households recorded at that time:
  • Tipperary, 239
  • Cork, 177
  • Limerick, 108
  • Dublin, 94
  • and Mayo, 78.
These figures were taken after the famines of 1847-49.  The Carey numbers ten years earlier might have been somewhat higher.

Reader Feedback - Careys in Ireland

The Carey figures quoted from Griffith’s ‘Valuation’ in the 1850’s are for households or families, not for individual bearers.  One common enough source of Carey in several parts of Ireland, notably Mayo as well as Kerry, is Ó Céirín, which is the ‘same name’ as Ó Ciaráin but probably the more common form. 

Patrick FitzGerald Carey (

John Cary of Bridgewater, Massachusetts

A John Cary monument was erected on his homestead in West Bridgewater, Massachusetts in 1905.  It read:

"Near this spot was the home of John Cary, born in Somersetshire, England.  He became in 1651 an original proprietor, and honored settler on this river.  He was clerk of the plantation when the town of Bridgewater was incorporated in 1656.  He was elected Constable, the first and only officer of that year.  He was town clerk until his death in 1681.  Tradition says he was the first teacher of Latin in Plymouth colony.
This tablet erected by his descendants in memory."

A descendant Moses Cary wrote the following about John Cary in 1785:

"When he landed it gave him a dreadful shock, for he was brought up delicately and left a delightful country; and here he found himself not only in a strange land, but in a frightful wilderness and destitute of any of the comforts of life.

He saw no way to get a living but to go to work, though he was not brought up to any kind of labor. He was so full of trouble that he shed tears bountifully, which so moved the captain of the vessel that he offered to carry him back again, but he said, 'No, I will never go back.'"

Careys to America

Most Careys to America came from Ireland.

Numbers (000's)
England and Scotland

Carey Limousines

What could be more time-saving and elegant than to have your own private chauffeur drive you to and from the terminal?

So asked one James P. Carey.  That is J.P. Carey, barber, shoe and apparel vendor, garage and rental car operator, and founder of the present-day $20 million limousine empire that bears his name.  From his barber shop in Grand Central Station, Carey came to understand the habits, needs, and wants of the wealthy who ventured to and from New York City.

His limousine business began in 1921 when he acquired six Packard touring cars to serve the wealthy travellers at Grand Central.  All three of his sons - John, Edwin and Paul - worked in the business and JP eventually created a transportation company for each of them.  But it was the next generation of Careys that expanded their limousine business beyond New York, in many cases through licensing the Carey name to local operators.  As a result Carey is now a leading name worldwide in chauffeured limousine services.

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