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  Email: Menary Genealogy  

Learn More About Family Arms

* An Explanation of the Heraldic Blazon
* An Example of the Lion Rampant Ór































The Menary name, as with most surnames, has a long and complex history. Up to the seventeenth century many of the labouring class often had no hereditary surnames, these names gradually evolving over time.

As well, from the Plantation period of the seventeen century, English administrative officials of government and individual landlords were unable or unwilling to accept the Irish form of names, and in the ensuing centuries a widespread anglicization of names took place.

There are at least three versions of where the name Menary originated, and it is possible that all three origins have a part in it:

1. From the  Gaelic name of “MacNaradhaigh”:

Edward MacLysaght, noted scholar and Chief Herald of Ireland, who based much of his research on the work of  Patrick Woulfe's Irish Names and Surnames (1923),believed the surname Menary was derived from the Gaelic name of “MacNaradhaigh”.

“MacNaradhaigh”  denoted "the son of Naradhaigh", which would appear to be derived from the Irish word "nardach" meaning "modest". Thus, the bearer of the name was one who was of a modest and tempered nature. Over time, as it was passed on from generation to generation, it came to be used as an independent surname. The older anglicized form was MacNary and MacNeary, but is now more commonly known as the surname Menary and the variants Mennary, Menarry, Menairy and Manary.

2. From the Gaelic name of “MacIneirghe“:

John O’Hart, another well-known Irish genealogist, states in his book Irish Pedigrees that  the surname Menary originated from the Gaelic name of “MacIneirghe”, or the anglicized McEniry.

“MacIneirghe” derives from the Irish word “eirghe” (a rising) and has been variously rendered as Innery,…MacEneiry, MacEniry,…McEnergy, McEnnery.. (etc.)…and in France, “Mannery”.

From the spelling and pronunciation of MacIneirghe, we are satisfied that the is the surname from which…MacNair, MacNeir, MacNeary and Neary are derived.

Critics have noted that John O’Hart’s genealogies of ancient Irish families are sometimes questionable, but that his work on more modern families is more reliable.

3. From the French surname “Menuret”:

Another origin of the Menary name is from the French surname of “Menuret”. A large group of modern Menarys are descended from a French Huguenot who settled in Ireland with the surname of Menuret. In some French texts, the name is Ménuret, the grave accent showing that the name was pronounced “Man-ur-ay”. 

The book The Huguenots of Lisburn states that of the original Huguenot families that lived in Lisburn, there was a family named Menuret, which became anglicized as Menary.

Today, the Menary surname is especially associated with the ancient territory of Oriel which comprises of the modern day counties of Armagh and Monaghan and parts of south Down, Louth and Fermanagh.

Land Owners in Ireland in 1876 include William Menary, who held over eighty acres of land. William lived at Maghery House, Maghery Kilcrany near Milford in Derrynoose Parish. Another recorded land owner was John Menary, who held land at Knockaneagh, Killylea, in County Armagh.

The arrival of bearers of the surname to America include one Gilbert Menary* who settled in Charlestown, South Carolina in 1773 arriving on the ship "Lord Dunluce" as recorded in Dickson's, "Ulster Immigration to Colonial America, 1718-1775" and Bridget Menary*, who booked passage to New York on board the "Philadelphia" in September, 1851.

*See both Gilbert and Bridget Menary on our US immigrations page


BLAZON*Gules, on a fesse argent, three spearheads of the first, in chief as many annulets Ór. CREST: A lion rampant Ór. ORIGIN: Ireland.

TRANSLATION: A red shield, covered by a wide horizontal bar of metallic silver/white holding 3 red spearheads, with 3 gold rings placed above the horizontal bar. Above the shield is a gold lion rearing up.

*Blazon Terms:

  • Field - background of the escutcheon (shield); always the first word of the blazon

  • Gules - (red) - signifies Military Fortitude and Magnanimity

  • Fesse - a band running horizontally across the centre

  • Argent - (silver or white) - denotes Peace and Sincerity

  • Spearhead - represents dexterity of mind and nimbleness of wit

  • Chief - above, placed over, toward the top

  • Annulets - rings, sometimes chained together

  • Ór - (gold) - signifies Generosity

  • Crest - placed above the shield

  • Rampant - describing the nature of the lion, literally "rearing up" and standing on the left hind leg

Further reading online: Heraldic Primer

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