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The Carey Book

The Carey Book published in 1938

The History of the Careys of Guernsey

by: William Wilfred Carey

Published: 1938

The Carey Book was the result of extensive and scrupulous historical research conducted by William Wilfred Carey, continued by Edith Frances Carey and completed by Spencer Carey Curtis.
It was finally published in 1938. Although, this book is now few and far between it contains a wealth of knowledge and historical records about the ancestral Careys of Guernsey including individual biographies, portraits and family trees of each of the branches.

An addendum of the family trees was produced by Colonel John Carey (Hc62) in 1971. The late Ian Campbell Carey (J24) continued the family records after retiring to Guernsey bringing them up to 1996. Marguerite de Lisle Carey has provided many of the family photographs and accounts of life early on in 20th Century Guernsey. All of these updates have been added to the Careyroots site.

It has taken two years to collate the information onto this web site which will enable all members of the Guernsey Carey family to browse their family records and also provide an excellent means of gathering new information about the continuing growth of the family worldwide in the years to come.
My indebtedness and gratitude go to those who have provided information and records for members of the family.

It is my wish that all family members will want to contribute information to upkeep the family records and my assurance is given that no personal information will be published. Dates for those living will be shown in year only.

Paul Dobrée - Carey - August 1999


Origin of the Family Name

To trace the history of any family back to the period before the Norman conquest poses many difficulties. Although the surname offers the principle guide, surnames were not used in general until the compilation of the Domesday Book in the latter part of the eleventh century. Even at this time, there were no formal rules for how names should be spelt and even up until the time of Shakespeare in tudor times, names tended to be spelt phonetically.

England - Early records show that in England, the name of Carey, in the form of Cary, Karry, Kary or Kari, almost invariable appeared with the prefix ' De ' meaning ' of ' or ' belonging to '. The name therefore indicates that it is derived from a place or district.

The Domesday Book compiled some nineteen years after William the Conqueror invaded England from Normandy in 1066 indicates four families situated in the Somerset / Devonshire region using the name of Kari and Cary.

A former stronghold at Kari, situated in Somerset, twelve miles east of Wells, was known to have been fortified in the time of Saxons. About the year 1125, the Lord William Percival erected further strong fortifications at Kari. We find the name again in the 12th Century, situated in Somerset belonging to Lord Adam de Kari of Castle Cary, Somerset. This, in turn, led to several knighthoods, which all but one died out in the 18th century.

Somerset appears to be the established point of origin of descendents of the English branch of the family of which one can assume form the early ancestry of the English branch of Careys / Carys.
There is no record of a knight by the name of Carey / Cary having crossed the Channel with William the Conqueror.

Guernsey - About the same time, records indicate the name of De Carreye and De Cary spread throughout Normandy, France and we find here in the town of Lisieux, the Manor of Carrey.

History shows Guernsey becoming a busy port being used extensively for trade between the English province of Normandy and England, namely Poole in Dorset. The attraction of the island by some fortune-seeking younger son from nearby Normandy may well have caused the settling of the Carey family in Guernsey at this time.

Guernsey records note:

In 1288, Johan Caree as an inhabitant of the Guernsey parish of St Martin's performing the role of ' Coustomier ' or Law Practitioner.

In 1309, a landowner in St Martins by the name of Philip Caree.

In 1331, noted in the Assize Roll, Johannes Karee as an official of the Ecclesiastical Court.

In 1370, Jean Careye shown as a tenant within the Roll of Tenants of the Abbey and Priory of St Martins and again shown as paying rent in the form of ' ten bushels and one cabotel of wheat rente ' in 1393.

The Heralds' College have accepted Jean Careye as ' living 1393 ' being the direct linked ancestor of all the Careys of Guernsey as shown in the Confirmation of Arms and Crest to William Wilfred Carey registered in 1915.

The French form of 'Careye' was changed to the more Anglicized 'Carey' following an amendment to the Town Church Register by Laurent Carey on 18 May 1756. The surname was also adopted to form the Irish branch of the family.

Due to the large number of Careys living on the Isle of Guernsey in the past, 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 Dobrée, Havilland, Tupper, Sausmarez, De Vic, Priaulx, Brenton, Onslow and others.

There is no known connection between the Cary/Carey family of England and the Carey family of Guernsey.

Ireland - Although the Carey surname is often assumed to be derived from Ireland (as in 'Old Mother Carey'), early origins of this name appear to have come from an anglicized version of ' O Ciardha ' which bears separate and distinctive family arms. This principal name along with Kerry was widespread throughout Ireland with many families utilising it during immigration to the United States / Australia.

Patrick Carey has provided comprehensive research into the origins of the use of the name Carey in Ireland -
The Origins of the Carey Family of Ireland