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* Menarys in France
* Menarys in Ireland


Menarys in Other Parts of the World


Jacques-Alexandre Menuret


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Who are the Menarys and where did they come from?

It appears from our DNA research that people who now have the surname of Menary, Manary, Manery, Minary, and possible other variants, have at least two major origins.

Group One Origin:

The largest group of modern Menarys probably have their origin in France.

When the Menary Rootsweb surname group was formed in 1999, descendants from around the world began to share the stories of their ancestors. From the United Kingdom to the United States and Canada, from Australia to New Zealand, many shared the common family origin story:

There were two original Menary brothers, descendants of French Huguenots, who were given land in Northern Ireland by William of Orange around 1690.

Group Two Origin:

Our DNA research has found that there is a completely different genetic group with the surname of Menary, often spelled "Menarry" and "Manery". So far, none of the members of group 2 have reported family stories of ancestors coming from France.

According to O’Hara and MacLysaght, two experts on Irish surnames, the name Menary in Ireland does indeed originate from the McNary family.

Having learned the name McNary, McNarry and Neary eventually became Menarry in early records, MacLysaght believes present-day Menarys could possibly originate from the ancient Irish family of Mac Naradhaigh.

However, we now know that these are not the only two origins of the name.

Other Origins:

DNA has also shown there are least two other small genetic groups with the Menary surname. It will be interesting to explore what their origin might be.

Whatever the origin and however the surname is spelled, we all appear to be led back to Ireland. 


From our ongoing research, we believe that Alexandre Menuret, a Huguenot born in Montelimar, France in 1664, who fought with William of Orange and who lived in Dublin around 1720,  is one progenitor of the Menary name in Northern Ireland.

The Menurets of Montelimar, Drome, France are a well-researched family and we have lengthy notes on their history in our private MyFamily site, open to anyone who joins as a group member.

In France, they were notaries, lawyers, and doctors and were heavily involved in the Huguenot movement.

In a strange twist of fate, one member of the family, Jean Menuret, became a Protestant martyr for the Huguenot cause in 1687. Then, a little over one hundred years later, his great-nephew, Father Jacques-Alexandre Menuret, a Catholic priest, was martyred for his religion during the French Revolution in 1792.

Menuret was canonized as a saint, and his day is September 2.


The earliest records we have of the  Menarys of Group One origin are from a concentrated area in Armagh County.

The earliest records of another group of Menarys (perhaps Group Two), their name originally being McNary, were in Donacloney, County Down from the early 1600s.

Gradually, the family spread outward, living in several different parishes in Armagh and Tyrone. Most were weavers by trade, while some were small farmers.

After 1690, Ireland experienced much political unrest and adverse economic conditions, including a series of potato famines in the 1800s.

Ireland’s population began to migrate in huge numbers to other parts of the world and the Menarys were part of this movement.

We have found descendants all over the world -- Scotland, England, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand as well as a few in other places such as South Africa, Hong Kong, and even Peru.

Many Menarys, however, stayed in Ireland and some are still living in central Armagh, Northern Ireland.



Groups of Menarys seem to have gone back and forth to Scotland.

The major ones we know of moved to Scotland about 1810 and another in 1833, although the latter left and emigrated to Canada in 1841.


The Menary name is known in England and further research should show us the origin and how long the family has been there.

The United States:

The earliest records we have of the Menary family emigrations is of Hugh McNary (eventually spelled “Menary” and other variants) from Scotland to New Jersey before 1751.

In 1767, John and Gilbert Mannary from Ulster emigrated to the Huguenot settlement in Charlestown, South Carolina.

Other families arrived later at various destinations, and some Canadian Menarys moved across the border to the US.


Canada appears to have been the destination of choice, as the greatest number of Menary immigrants came here.

The first tricklings of Menarys from Ireland occurred around 1820, increasing in the 1830s, many during the potato famine apex in the 1840s, and continuing into the 1850s and later.

All the families settled in Ontario to begin with, in  many different counties.


The first to emigrate and settle in Australia was in 1846, when two separate families arrived and settled in different locations. In 1884, another Menary arrived and settled.

New Zealand:

As far as we know, one group of Menarys emigrated to New Zealand, arriving at the Bay of Islands in 1840.

*View our DNA Project page for more precise information on the places different major groups emigrated.

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