Hi there! I'm very curious about the surname O'Rear, which was a great grandfather's name. It's Irish and that's all I know. Do you know what other spellings there are (I'm guessing it was changed when he came to the USA), and can you tell at all where in Ireland someone came from by their last name? Does anyone know the history of the name and what it means? Is it at all related to Rhiordan? Thank you very much if you can help!
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I'd have to guess that it is a form of O'Riordan. O'Riordan is very numerous mainly in Munster, particularly Cork. In Irish it was originally Ó Ríoghbhardáin, the modern Ó Ríodáin. It means "royal bard" ...riogh meaning royal, bárdán being a diminutive of bard, 'poet'.

It originated in the area between the modern towns of Thurles in Co. Tipperary and Birr in Co. Offaly. Very early, perhaps even in the 12th Century, the Ó Ríoghbhardáin migrated south to Co. Cork, where they settled in the west of the county, in Muskerry particularly and the strength of their association with this part of the country remains remarkable.
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