Recorded in a wide variety of spellings which are believed to include Garm, Garmes, Garms, Garn, Garns, Garniss, and Garnson, this is an English surname. It is almost certainly of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic pre 7th century origins and a short form, patronymic or diminutive, of the personal name "Guarin" meaning "Little spear", a very popular continental baptismal name in the centuries before the Norman Invasion of England, in 1066. This origin is also to be found in the popular English, and sometimes French, surnames such as Geary, Garman, Garner, and Garnett. During the medieval period when surnames began to be used on a regular basis, "names" underwent a continual series of changes, with very large numbers of what can only be described as "nickname" forms being created from the base name. These new variants were often so far removed from any original spelling as to be now almost unrecognizeable. In this case examples of the surname recordings taken from early surviving church registers from the Elizabethan period onwards include: Anne Garne, the daughter of John Garne, who was christened at St Mary Magdalene, Southwark, on February 1st 1587, James Garnson christened at St Sepulchre in the city of London, on March 1st 1681, and Hans Garms, who married Bridget Jenkins at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on July 16th 1717.
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