- From the Welsh, meaning “son of Harry”
- Often used as a last name
- Famous for celebrities Barry Gibb, Barry Williams, Barry Manilow, Barry White, Barry Bonds
- Sometimes spelled Berry
- Also a Guinean surname, meaning the family comes from the Peul, Fulani or Foulbe ethnic groups of West Africa
History of the name Barry
Barry is as Welsh a name as you would wish to find, but the Welsh Barrys transplanted to American soil have played their part in American national life so valiantly that even Wales can boast no more proudly of her Barrys than we do.
The name is from the Welsh, meaning “son of Harry,” or ab-Harry, ab being sometimes used instead of ap. When it is ap, the name is simple Perry or Parry.
The Barrys of County Nott, England claim descent not from a Welsh ancestor, but from Godfridus, who came with William the Norman to England. The English Barrys who do go back to an ancestor named de Barry are doubtless of continental origin.
There are many Welsh names similar to Barry — Pritchard or ap Richard, son of Richard; Powell, or ap-Howel and Pugh, or ap-Hugh among them.
A seventeenth-century wag once made fun of the way the Welsh used ap, described a cheese in these lines: “Adam’s own cousin — German by its birth, Ap-Curds-ap-Milk-ap-Cow-ap-Grass-ap-Earth.”
As a general thing, all Welsh surnames were formed late — rather later, in fact, than those of English origin.
In England, doubtless the most celebrated of all this connection is Sir Charles Barry (1795-1860), who was the architect of the London House of Parliament.
It has been said that no modern building has so often been painted by artists as this. The work was completed by his son, Edward Middleton Barry.
There were many famous British physicians among the Barrys, one of the most interesting being the skilled army surgeon James Barry, born in 1795.
Not until after her death in 1865 was it realized that this well-known doctor, who reached the rank of inspector general in the British Army, was a woman.
The American Barrys, most of them of Welsh descent, have been famous as soldiers and sailors, John Barry being a famous naval commander in the Revolution, and William Farquhar Barry being a brigadier general of volunteers in the Civil War.