This ancient surname is pre 7th century. It is said to be Germanic but was later adopted by the Vikings who marched down from Scandinavia through the Netherlands to finally take control of Normandy. From these it arrived in the British Isles with William the Conquerer. It is from a large 'Dark Ages' group of what can be described as 'warrior names' and which five centuries later became fixed surnames. The derivation is from either of the two famous personal names, Gerard, generally translated as 'spear brave' and Gerald - 'spear rule'. Both are associated with famous Invasion of England in 1066, and the lucky ones were widely rewarded for their efforts by William, and his successors. It would take several pages to list all the surname spellings and the different versions for each country, there are over forty for the British Isles and examples of immediately relevance include Gerard, Garrad, Garrod, Garrood, and Garrrud. Examples of recordings taken from the surviving church registers of the city of London instituted by King Henry V111th in 1535 - include Lawrence Garrarde christened at St Lawrence Jewry on September 19th 1545, and two centuries later John Garrood was a christening witness at St Andrew's Holborn, on January 9th 1774. However the very earliest known recording in any spelling is that of Robertus filius Geraldi -and four other land owners, in the Domesday Book of the county of Dorset, England, in 1086. This was in the last year of the reign of William 1st (1066 - 1087).
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