Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English and sometimes Scottish surname, but one of Norman - French origins. It derives from either of the personal names Gerard or Gerald introduced into England and then Scotland after the famous 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, Garrad, Garred, Garrod, Garrud to Garret, Gerald, Jarrett and Jerrold. As examples the marriage of John Garrod and Joan French was recorded in Uxbridge, Middlesex, on February 6th 1540, and Thomas, the son of Frederyke Garratt, was christened at St. Margaret's Westminster, on May 1st 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gerard. This 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 sometimes 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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