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
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:
the Gaelic name of “MacNaradhaigh”:
noted scholar and
of Ireland, who based much of his research on the work
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.
the Gaelic name of “MacIneirghe“:
another well-known Irish genealogist, states in his book
Irish Pedigrees that the surname Menary
originated from the Gaelic name of “MacIneirghe”, or the
“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”.
spelling and pronunciation of MacIneirghe, we are
satisfied that the is the surname from
which…MacNair, MacNeir, MacNeary and Neary are
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.
the French surname “Menuret”:
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
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
Oriel which comprises of the modern day counties of
Armagh and Monaghan and parts of south Down, Louth and
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
Menary*, who booked passage to New York on board the "Philadelphia"
in September, 1851.
*See both Gilbert and
Bridget Menary on our
on a fesse argent, three spearheads of the first, in chief as
many annulets Ór. CREST: