Emigration & Resettlement

In common with hundreds of thousands of other Irish, the Manary/Menarys immigrated in droves to other countries during the 19th century. Religious strife, bad economic conditions, overcrowding, and the inability to have land of their own were the common motivators. Surprisingly, the majority of the Manary/Menary immigrants left Ireland before the Potato Famine of 1845 – 1852, so it was the desire for a better life, rather than starvation, that was the strong influence.

Nearly all the families were tenant farmers, although a few had other professions. 65% of the emigrating branches were from Tyrone, and the remaining 35% were from Armagh. Certain family groups, such as the branches in Armaghbreague and Magherykilcranny, had a lower rate of emigration, and this could perhaps be because of better land or better landlord/tenant relations.


Before the turn of the 19th century, a few groups immigrated to the United States, ones which we currently do not know exactly how they fit into the Northern Ireland group. However, two of the groups have scores of DNA matches to many of us, so it is evident we are related to them.

  1. The family of David McNary: sons James who married Mary Beilman and settled in Pennsylvania about 1740, and Hugh who married Janet Logan and who probably also settled in Pennsylvania, but by 1850 was in New Jersey. (Hugh’s descendants began to spell their surname Manary within a generation or two). There was also a sibling named Martin, about whom less is known. By a couple of generations, the family had spread out over the US.
  1. John Manery or Mannery, born about 1715 in Ireland, probably immigrated to Maryland about 1735 or so. Little is known about the very early history of this branch, but by 1770, the family had become prosperous tobacco farmers in the state. As with the Hugh Manary branch, the family became numerous and spread out across the US.

There was also a group of three brothers, John, Alexander, and Gilbert Manary, who sailed from Belfast in 1747 and settled in Charles County, South Carolina. There were some descendants but the family has not been studied in depth. We may have DNA matches to them among the large group of Unknown DNA Matches.


By the turn of the 19th century, the trickle of Manary/Menary emigration became a flood. Canada was now the favoured destination: 64% chose to settle there, all in Ontario; 16% chose the United States; 13% took the step of going to Australia or New Zealand; 7% went to Scotland.

The following is a chart outlining the various groups who emigrated from Armagh and Tyrone, along with their year of immigration (some of these dates are approximate, but many are confirmed); place of origin; age at the time of immigration; and where they settled. The chart will be updated as new facts come in.



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