Site Meter The Ayers Surname

Over the last few years I've made friends with several wonderful people on Facebook and Windows Live. The following friends have contributed input and support in my search for ancestors. Their support has helped my dream to be fullfullment. If you are interested in helping me please contact me via the E Mail Address at the bottom of this page. Their support has helped my dream to be fullfullment. If you are interested in helping me please contact me via the E Mail Address at the bottom of this page.

  • Cailin Meehan
  • Maureen Meehan
  • Elizabeth Anne Donovan
  • Gina Deen
  • Theresa Meehan-Currie
  • Mel O'Connor
  • Gary O'Connor
  • Michele Kerrigan
  • My Ayers ancestors immigrated from Carrigaholt, County Clare, Ireland. Other Ayers immigrated from other parts of Ireland e.g., Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny, Dublin, Galway, Ballindine and Donegal. Meehan-Currie's ancestors are from Donegal. The Gary and Mel O'Connor Ancestors are from County Cork. Other Meehan's immigrated to Australia and others to Europe and South America. Others stayed in Ireland e.g., Cailin Meehan (Claremorris); Maureen Meehan (Claremorris); Gina Deen lives in County Clare after moving to Ireland from the United Kingdom; Elizabeth Anne Donovan lives in the City of Cork, County of Cork; and Michele Kerrigan is from the north side of Dublin.

    Cailin Meehan was my first supporter on Facebook and represents the future of Ireland. Cailin, is a gorgeous young lady, who believes in enjoying life to the fullest and has been a source of inspiration to me. Cailin is currently going to school in the UK but is proud to be a Meehan.

    Maureen Meehan's maiden name was Ryan and she was from Castlebar which is 22 miles from Claremorris. Maureen was christened Mary but called Maureen. Her father is Paddy Ryan and her mother is Margaret (Baby) Ryan. Maureen is helping in my effort to learn about Ireland and document both Ireland and the Irish people. Maureen’s husband, Pat Meehan, is from Ballindine, County Mayo, Ireland which is 5 miles from Claremorris his Dad (Johnny) still lives there. Ballindine is their ancestral home. Johnny's brothers immigrated to the USA in the 1950’s and are now living in St Louis, Boston and New York. The population of Ballindine was 233 in 1996 and was 249 in 2006. Folklore tells us that Ballindine got its name from this fort - "Baile an Daingin" meaning "Town of the Fortress" and that the Souterrain, just outside it, was connected underground to the ruins of the old Church in Cloonmore about two miles away to the east and also to the ruins of the old church in Garryduff, three miles west. Maureen wrote a blog on the Claremorris, County Mayo, Ireland that started my blogging on Ireland. This is a fantastic Blog.

    Gina Deen is from England (UK) and has been a source of information on County Clare. She is a blogger and photographer and I've used many of her photos in my blogs. Please visit her Blog Site at BT - The Crafty Gardener, I promise you will enjoy her blogs.

    Elizabeth Anne Donovan is from the City of Cork, County Cork, Ireland and was one of the first to help me blog about Ireland. Please read her blog - The City of Cork I promise you will enjoy learning about the City of Cork..

    Theresa Meehan-Currie lives in Augusta Georgia and has been helping me research the Meehan Family. Her branch is from County Donegal, Ireland.

    Mel O'Connor is from Sturgeon Bay, Ontario, Canada and has been a friend on Windows Live and Facebook for several years. She and her father Gary have helped me by adding their branch of the O’Connor Family to my Genealogy WEB Site.

    Gary O'Connor is from Sturgeon Bay, Ontario, Canada and has shared information on his branch of the O’Connor Family.

    Michele Kerrigan is the Chief Executive for GROW in Ireland, which is a mental health organisation. Michele is also working on her Masters in Voluntary and Community Sector. Grow is also in America, New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines. Michele is currently working on establishing GROW in Northern Ireland and have it constituted as a charity in the North. Michele lives in north Dublin and is currently working on her Masters.

    Hannah Ayers was my Great Grandmother and the wife of Michael Meehan. Her father was Richard Ayers but so far we have not been able to find any information on Richard. We do know that they emigrated from Ireland to the USA around 1850. We do have information on his children. The following was written by Gradys Ayers in 1960, " "Three Ayers children, Bridget, Hannah and Patrick crossed Atlantic Ociean in a sail ship 1850. Storms all thru the crossing - - 7 weeks and 3 days -- ran short of food. Rough seas threw passengers from cots to floor. Landed at Quebec, Canada thence to Davenport, Iowa. Their Father's name RICHARD not verified, only that Richard Ayers was name after his Grandfather Ayers."

    Mrs Hannah Meehan was born in Karregahalt, County Clare, Ireland, in 1837, came to this country with her parents in early childhood and settled at Davenport, Iowa. Was married in 1861 to Mr Michael Meehan, residing in Rock Island county, Illinois, for twenty years. In March, 1881, they came to Crawford county, Iowa, where she has since resided. She was the mother of eight children, Mrs P J Hanrahan of Hunter, N Dakota, Mr Thomas Meehan of Friend, Neb, Mary, dying in infancy; Anna, died in 1915; and Mrs T A Hickey in 1908; Mrs C C Houlihan of Denison, Iowa; Mrs P J Lally and Mr John Meehan of Manilla.

    After a long, busy and useful life, she died as she had lived, honored trusted and loved. She reared her own monument while she lived in the hearts of all who knew her. Her life was completed, if work all done and well done constitutes completion. She was a member of the Catholic church and her Christian life was beautiful from its beginning to its close, and through all the vicissitudes and sorrows that she met int he way, when husband two of their loved children preceded her to the grave, her faith in God never wavered. But she has left us and today cold clay covers a grave that hides from our sight all that is mortal of a true and noble woman.

    The THE AYERS FAMILY data is available for your review by clicking on The Ayers Family. The following family tree is from that site and shows the five children of Richard Ayers. You can also click on each of the names below to access that person's WEB Page.

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    This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Ayres may be a patronymic form of "Ayre", itself a nickname for a man who was well known to be the heir to a title or fortune, deriving from the Middle English "eir, eyr", heir (Old French "(h)eir", Latin "heres", heir). One Ralph le Eir was noted in the 1208 Feet of Fines for Essex, and a Richard le Heyre appears in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Gloucestershire.

    The second possibility is that Ayres is a patronymic form of the Middle English personal name "Aier, Aer", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Ealhhere", a compound of the elements "eal(h)", old, and "heri", army. Robertus filius (son of) Aier was noted in the 1166 Red Book of the Exchequer, and a Robert Aier in the 1201 Pipe Rolls of Shropshire. In the modern idiom the surname has several spelling variations ranging from Ayers, Ayres, Ayris, Ayars and Air(e)s, to Eayrs, Eyres and Eyers, the final "s" indicates the patronymic, and is a reduced form of "son of".

    Another possibliity concerning this interesting surname has two origins; firstly, it may be of Old French origin, a patronymic of the name Ayer, a nickname for a man who was well known to be the heir to a title or fortune, deriving from the Middle English "eir, eyr", a development of the Old French "(h)eir" meaning heir.

    Finally, it may be a Scottish name of Old Norse origin, a locational surname from a place called Ayr in South West Scotland, deriving from the Old Norse "eyrr" meaning tongue of land, gravelly bank, plus the suffix "s" denoting of "the place". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include; Ralph le Eir (1208) in the Feet of Fines of Essex, and Reginald of Ayr (1287), clerk in the town of Ayr. Variations in the surname include Ayres, Ayris, Ayers, Aiers, Airs, Eaires, Eayrs, Eyers, and Eyres. Church Records list the christening of Jane, daughter of John and Hanna Eayres, on September 6th 1705 at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, and the marriage of John Ayers to Elizabeth McKay, on May 5th 1789 in Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is red, three silver doves close, gold beaked and membered. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Aier, which was dated 1201, in the "Pipe Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.

    My Ayers Ancestors emigrated from Carrigaholt and Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland. Most of them settled in the Aledo and Rock Island, Illinois USA. A few including my Great Grandmother, Hannah Ayers settled in Davenport, Iowa USA. Hannah was a very unique lady who work relax at night smoking a pipe. She use to keep her tobacco in a glass jar which is now a proud treasure in our home. The following is from the Obituary of Richard Ayers as it appeared in The Atchison Daily Globe, Atchison Kansas on December 20th, 1916.

    John Ayres was a noted penman, who between 1680 and 1700 introduced the Italian hand into England; he published many calligraphic works including "A Tutor to Penmanship", 1698. Symon Ayres, "chirurgeon", aged 48 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Increase" bound for New England in April 1635 was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Ayer, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.

    At the current time we have no information on how our ancestors are connected to the Ayers in either Scotland or France but we do know that they came from County Clare - specifically the towns of Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilrush.

    Richard Ayers was a cousin of Hannah Ayers (My Great Grandma Hannah Ayers Meehan). In addition, her dad was also called Richard Ayers. Cousin Richard Ayers came over from Ireland at the same time as Great Grandma Hannah Ayers, therefore I believe it might help you understand the extreme situation in Ireland in 1840’s and 50’s.

    Richard Ayer’s Obituary was printed in The Atchison Daily Globe, 123 South Fifth Street, Atchison, Kansas on December 20th 1916.

    “Richard Ayers is DEAD” “He had been ill many months - - was survivor of Irish Famine.”

    “After an illness of many months from bladder trouble and complications, Richard Ayers died at St. Margaret's Hospital in Kansas City at 11*00 o'clock, Monday night. His body was brought to Atchison this afternoon, arriving at 3:35 PM.

    The death of Richard Ayers takes from Atchison a kindly old gentleman, who was well beloved by all who knew him, and many knew him* For years he operated the little confectionery store on Fifth Street north of The Globe office, and his place was something like headquarters for the carrier boys. His association with those youngsters helped to keep him young, and older folks who patronized his shop always found him pleasant and congenial.

    Mr. Ayers was born at Limerick, Ireland, April 30, 1839. His childhood was waddened by such hardships as few children know, for he was a survivor of the terrible Irish famine of I847.

    There was a failure of the potato crop, the mainstay of Ireland in the fall of I846; the people had enough laid by to get through the winter, but with the spring of I847 there came a famine which was attended by disease, suffering and death, and which made such an impression on the mind of Mr. Ayers, then a boy of 8, that, when an old man, tears came to his eyes when he told it.

    His father was in business at Kilkee, County Clare, a small village on Kilkee Bay, a pleasure resort on the west coast of Ireland. But it was a credit business, and with the famine came the inability of people to meet their bills, and Mr. Ayers, unable to meet his, had his stock taken from him and his store closed. There was only one thing to do, and that was to come to America, and he sailed for Canada with the purpose of sending his wife relief as soon as he earned a little money. He left a wife and four children, and shortly after he had gone, the fifth was born.

    The mother went out every day as long as she was able to collect a little of the sums due her husband, but it was useless. The people had no money to pay. Four of the children died of the privation and fever that attend a famine. One morning Richard Ayers woke up and found his four year old sister dead in bed. She had died of starvation. There was no money to buy a coffin, and a friend made a rough box out of the shelving in the store, and in this the child was buried. Many who died in this terrible period did not fare so well; hundreds were put out of their homes by their landlords and died in the streets, and were carted off to the graveyard and buried without shroud or coffin.

    The father, in the meantime, had found employment in Canada, at $l8 a month. Think of the bleakness of despair that must have come over a man who was working for the relief of a family of six for only $18.00 a month. It was in July, I848, that he sent for his wife and son, and they were six weeks and five days on the sailing vessel coming over. On arriving in Canada, they made their home in Brockville, and shortly after moved to Chicago. A few months later they joined a colony that settled near Davenport; Iowa (I assume a colony of Ayers, since Hannah Ayers Meehan was also from Davenport/Rock Island).

    In Davenport, Richard Ayers grew to manhood, and for years was foreman of the car shops of the Rock Island Railway there. He was married in Davenport in 1863. In 1881 they moved to Kansas, locating on a farm four miles west of Effingham. Twelve years later they moved to Atchison. (I find it interesting that this is the same year that Michael Meehan, Hannah Ayers Meehan and their four children moved to Crawford County, Iowa.)

    Mrs. Ayers died seven years ago. Mr. Ayers is survived by three daughters and two sons, as follows: Mrs. Thomas Matthews of Effingham, Sister M, Lucina of Mt. St. Scholastics Convent; Miss Margaret Ayers of the home; Richard J. Ayers of Kansas City, and Joseph W. Ayers of Wichita.

    The burial will occur at St. Benedict's Church tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock; burial in the Catholic Cemetery. The pallbearers will be Tom Byrne, William Langan, Barney Lyons, M. Masching, William Hayes and Bryan Smith.”

    CARDINAL WILLIAM KEELER is a descendant of Bridget Ayers. He is now retired but was Cardinal of Balimore, Maryland USA for many years.

    As of today, we have not been able to trace the Ayers family to anyone still living in Ireland. All indications are that there are no Ayers in the Kilkee, Carrigaholt and Kilrush area of County Clare. If you have any information on the Ayers please send me your comments below.

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    This Web Site was created 20 May 2010 by John J. Meehan