Trying to follow Carey/Carrey line from Galloway, Scotland :: Genealogy
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Trying to follow Carey/Carrey line from Galloway, Scotland

Journal by scotorwot

Since first writing this journal, some very kind and helpful people have given me several pointers, that have allowed me to expand my Carey connections considerably. A lot of detail is still missing, of course, but that is always the way with these things.

(updated December 2013):
My mother came from a line of Careys. As I have traced the name back through time, the spellings have varied considerably, and this in itself has been one reason for the difficulties. I have arrived in the 1770's/1780's; in Old Luce (or Glenluce) Wigtownshire, south-west Scotland. Here lived William KEIRY (and sometimes spelt KERRY!), my g-g-g-g-grandfather, born around the 1770-1780 period. He lived in a part of Old Luce called Challochman, where in 1799 he married Jean McKenna, who seems likely to have come from a neighbouring parish, Kirkcowan.
Their children were born in Old Luce parish, between 1802 and 1815; Helen, Elizabeth, John, Agnes and William. All were recorded with surnames spelt KEIRY, bar Helen, who was spelt KERRY.
So far, I have done no research on them except William (my g-g-g-grandfather). He was born rather later than I had first estimated (c1815 rather than 1804), having worked his possible birthyear according to his age (66)from the 1871 Glasgow census.

William KEIRY by now had become a CARREY, and married Mary JOHNSTON in Kilmarnock on 30th June 1836. I have not, however, found either of them in the 1841 Scottish census records. This may be due to either (a) their absence from the region altogether or (b) a total mis-spelling of their surname.
In around 1843, a son James was born. Since first writing this up, the family have been located in the 1851 Kilmarnock census, showing two further children....another William, born c1836, and John, born c1847. Interestingly, none of the children's birth or baptismal records have been found. Their birthplaces are, however, given as Kilmarnock.

I have no details at present of the subsequent futures of William or John. John has been located in the 1861 census, aged 16, a prisoner in Glasgow's Duke Street prison. Presumably there for a minor offence, this was a grim jail and one has to hope that he wasn't there for too long. James Carrey (still using two "r's") married Mary MATHIE, a millworker, in Tarbet Street, Glasgow Central District, 1863. His occupation was stated as "shoemaker and journeyman". His father William was also stated as being a shoemaker.

On September 7th 1863 a boy William was born. By now, the surname seems to have changed to being spelt as CAREY. Two further children were born, in the late 1860's, but did not survive more than a year or two. They were named John Carey and Thomas Mathie Carey.

In early 1877, the elder Mary Carrey (nee Johnston) died, in Glasgow. By the end of the same year her husband William had also died, as the result of loss of blood from a cut arm. Mary's death entry gave her name as Mary CERRY......yet another spelling variety!

James Carey appears to have also lost his wife Mary (Mathie) at some point between 1871 and 1883. This is shown on the details for the marriage between his son William and Annie McCombe (see next paragraph). The groom's mother is described as "deceased"; she was present in Glasgow in the 1871 census, therefore it's assumed her death was between 1871 and 1883. A record of a burial has been noted for a Mary Carey aged just 32, in the second quarter of 1877 in Newcastle. If this is her, then clearly 1877 was a disastrous year for the family.

On 4th June 1888 William married Isabella WILSON, from Northumberland. It appears that this was William's second marriage, since his certificate states that he was a widower, aged 24.
Since the last update to this article, I have traced William's first wife; Annie McCombe. They were married in 1883 on April 6th, at 97 Brighton Street, Govan, Glasgow. Annie was aged 22, a power-loom weaver. Her parents were Hugh McCombe, an engine-fitter, and Mary McCombe (maiden name Ritchie). Unfortunately the marriage was short-lived, as Annie died the same year, aged 23. No children are known of.

The second marriage occurred in Newcastle. William's father, James, was stated as being a "soldier". It is assumed he was still living at this time, although the marriage certificate does not say either way.

By the time of the 1891 census, William and Isabella were living in Hebburn, South Shields. There were two boys, James (born 1888) and William (born 1889). By 1901 they had all moved to the Cardiff area, and a third boy, John had arrived (c1892). Nothing further is known about James or John.

I don't know of any emigration patterns in the family. It is likely that this family line is very narrow, geographically. As to finding the origins of the KEIRY family, that is still ongoing. There was much travelling between Galloway and Northern Ireland, in particular Portpatrick, where I understand that many marriages conducted there were between non-parishioners. The surname KERR can be found in considerable numbers on the Portpatrick parish listings, so one can only speculate on the likelihood that KEIRYs may also have been KERRs and come from Ireland!

Just goes to show how spelling can throw spanners in the works.

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by scotorwot Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2007-11-22 12:10:12

scotorwot , from Somerset, England, U.K, has been a Family Tree Circles member since Nov 2007. is researching the following names: CAREY.

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by paulag on 2008-08-23 12:50:11

I was just browsing google when I found this, it interested me because I know virtually nothing about my mothers side of the family,to explain further my mother and sisters were put into a childrens home in kilmarnock because there parents split up. My mothers maiden name is Anne Carey Styles it sounds strange but we do not talk much about it because I imagine that it is painful because she has no idea where her sisters are although i think in the Glasgow area. Her mothers name was Agnes and her father Daniel, she is in her sixties and was the youngest of the four! Your links to Ireland, Kilmarnock and Glasgow made me respond because I live in Belgium and often have tried over the internet to get some info, but always come up with a blank. Hope you find your ancestors, good luck Paula

by scotorwot on 2008-08-28 01:24:17

Not sure how to send you a direct reply, so have put it here in the hope you will see it. You should be able to trace your family lines through several of the larger Internet genealogy websites, such as and
Neither of them are free to use, but they will offer you a lot of detail.
The use of Carey as a middle name clearly shows that one parent or grandparent also bore this surname. If your mother is in her sixties, then she was born in the 1940's and presumably her mother Agnes married Daniel in the same period. You would need to trace back from Agnes; I presume she was Scottish-born, therefore you'd need the Scottish websites and search around her probable birth-period (?1920's). It takes time, but theoretically you should be able to trace back some distance using the Internet websites available. Also have a look at;
covers lots of information sources.
The Carey name could appear at any time-point in your line, but it is an interesting coincidence.

by leeson69 on 2013-08-06 10:24:53

my grandfather is james carey he was born in hebburn on tyne and later moved to Cardiff where he become a motor macanic for Bristol areodome . he married edith l davies form Swansea in 1915 , and they lived at 48 mount pleasant gowerton and they had jack , clearance, Gordon, Pamela , Stephen , david plus adopted children as well . im the son of Stephen carey my name is lee carey

by scotorwot on 2015-12-15 13:33:05

It's been a couple of years since Lee's post and this website has also been out of action. I can't honestly remember whether I actually managed to send an email to Lee and thank him for the information. If you're still a member here, Lee, many thanks and although I haven't been able to thoroughly check your info it certainly looks like we could be cousins.

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