This name is of Norman origin, from either of the personal names 'Gerard' or 'Gerald' introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The two names soon became confused, but are recorded separately in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Gerardus' and 'Geraldi'. The derivation of both names is Germanic; 'Gerard' is composed of the elements 'geri' or 'gari' meaning 'spear', with 'hard', hardy, brave or strong, while 'Gerald' means 'spear - rule' from 'geri' as before with 'wald', rule. The names were extremely popular, which can be seen by the great number and variety of modern surnames deriving from them, ranging from Garratt, Garrett, Garred and Jarrett to Garrod and Jerrold. The marriage of John Garratt and Joan French was recorded in Uxbridge, London, on February 6th 1540, and one Thomas, son of Frederyke Garratt, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in May 1574. Mary Garrett, the daughter of Zachiell Garrett christened at St Botolphs, Bishopgate, London on May 24th 1685. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gerard, which was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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.
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