This is one of the spelling forms of the Old Gaelic O'Fearadhaigh, originally a Donegal Clan of Cenel Conaill. The name is almost certainly a nickname and is believed to translate as "the descendant of the son of the manly one", although the precise meaning is a matter of considerable debate amongst research authorities. Some name holders in Ireland have English-Viking origins, and in this case the derivation is from the pre 9th Century "Ferja", a word describing one who operates a ferry, or who lives by a ferry. Elizabeth Ferry, who married Richard Moor at Limerick Cathedral on April 10th 1726, was almost certainly of English origins. The native Irish recordings include the spellings of Farrey, Farry, Feighry, Feragh, Feehery, Feary, Fery and O'Fairy, whilst examples are Owen Ferry, who married Mary McFadden at Crossroads, Donegal on April 1st 1864, and Patrick Ferry of Dunfaghy, Donegal, christened on May 3rd 1866. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Farra, which was dated February 17th 1688, a christening witness at St. Catherine's Church, Dublin, during the reign of King James 11 of England and Ireland (1690). Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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