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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

This study commenced in 2004 after the daughter of a cousin who'd emigrated to Australia in the 1960's asked about our maternal Family Tree. It made me realise I couldn't go back beyond my Aunts and Uncles and they had all died. A Tree was eventually produced for my JARVIS family but having moved around the country and being a fairly common name, it was somewhat difficult to trace ancestors.
The numerous DERRY families in Staffordshire looked more of a challenging hobby for an OAP to occupy my wet days and dark nights and living on the edge of London, visits to the Family Record Centre (FRC) in Islington to amass data was an easy journey. The Name was registered with the Guild of One-name Studies in 2009.

Variant names

Due to the illiteracy of people before the middle of the 19th.Century, various phonetic spellings have appeared in the Church and State records. Such as:- Darie, Dearie, Darey, Dary, Deerey, Derrey, Derry.

Name origin

1. Either Norman-French as a medieval nickname of endearment for a small person from the pre 10th,Century french word daree meaning a pennyweight. An alternative suggested derivation is: dweller near the deer enclosure, as the main focus of the early Derry's was Cannock Chase, Staffs. a hunting ground over many centuries.
2. Or possibly a locative name from the Gaelic word Doire meaning oakwoods. Or also it may be the anglicised form of the Gaelic o'Doiridh, the name of an ecclesiastical family from Donegal meaning descendant of Doireadh - these being Irish derivations.
* Whether these two lineages (English and Irish) are at all related will probably only be discovered through the new DNA databases that are being established, but this Study is comprised of the English ancestors only.

Historical occurrences of the name

William Daree is recorded in the Curia Regis for Northants in the year 1200. Nicholas Darre of Suffolk in 1268 registers and John Dary also of Suffolk in the 1327 Hundred Rolls.
Several Derry entries have appeared in the Who's Who directory having been well known as:- academic,diplomat,industrialist, etc. Also:-
Charles Derry (1826-1921) prominent Mormon missionary who kept a diary of his travels around the UK and USA. See: . Then click on: Walsall Wood & Goblins Pit.
Percy A Derry (1859-1928) canon at Durham cathedral.
Dr.David E Derry (1882-1969) Professor of Anatomy at Cairo university who performed the autopsy on the mummy of Tutankhanum
Dr.Duncan R Derry (1906-1987) Geologist. Holder of many awards from Canadian Geological Societies.
Henry B.Derry (1885-1954) Professor. Master of the Queens Music.
John Derry (1921-1952) Test pilot killed at the 1952 Farnborough Air Show.
Richard W.Derry (1948- ) Author of numerous Railway books.

Name frequency

From the index of the 1881 census produced by the Church of Latter Day Saints, there were 1316 Derrys recorded in that census. This gives a frequency of 1 in 20,408 or .005% of the population, ranking at 3091 in surnames order.
According to a 1998 database there were 1425 Derrys then. This gives a frequency of 1 in 26,316 or .004% of the population with a ranking of 3869 in surnames order indicating a slower growth compared to other Names in the population.

Distribution of the name

In the 1881 census the most populous counties were Staffs (399), Notts (112), Warwicks (108), Leics (84), Hereford (73), Surrey (60). So Staffordshire was the most Derry populated county with its entry representing 30% of total UK Derry's then. The focal point of these Derry's was the Lichfield-Rugeley-Cannock-Walsall 7 mile quadrangle.                                                                                                                     I have assembled approx. 95% of Staffs. Derry's into a large DERRY Family Tree with over 620 Families, which with their descendants now numbers over 3000 persons. It starts with Robert DERRY of Lichfield (1575-1638).  A tremendous aid was the 23 CD's of local Church Registers transcribed by the Burntwood Family History Group.
Although I have done other county Trees, mainly for Enquirers, it is more difficult to find sufficient data to connect the various DERRY's.
e.g.  1. Herefordshire (1 Tree)  550 persons    2. Cornwall/Devon (6 Trees)  460    3. Notts. (3 Trees)  400    4.Banbury (1 Tree)  130 
5.Bethnall Green (1 Tree)  130    6.Frome (1 Tree)  100
 Today (2014) the Derry's are more scattered around the UK and the world and although records show c.4000 living in the USA and c.1000 in Canada, a considerable percentage of these will be of Irish descent as large scale emigration from Ulster to N.America took place from 1718 onwards. The town of Derry in New Hampshire, USA, extols its founding by Scottish-Irish immigrants in 1719.


Derry data held by me :-
* 'Births from the FRC books 1837-2013 --5630 entries IGI records -->1837 1510
* Marriages ----- ' ------ ' 1837- 2010 -- 3940 ' ' ' ---IGI----- ' --->1837--- 770
* Deaths ------ ' ------- ' 1837-2013 ' ---3990 ' ' ---- NBI ----' -->1837 ' -- ' 500
* All UK International Genealogical Index (IGI) data
* numerous entries from Staffs. Parish Registers.
*  ' ' 1841-1911 UK censuses
* data from other Derry researchers


For a DERRY DNA project go to :
also see Patriarchs