Recorded in various spellings including Gartan, Garton, Garthum, Gardam, Gardham and probably others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a place called Garton near Hull or Garton on the Wolds both East Yorkshire. Both places derive their names from the pre 7th century Old Norse word 'garthr meaning a farm or enclosure with 'tun', a settlement. These places are recorded as Gartun and Gartune in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move elsewhere. In so doing they took, or were given, as easy identification, the name of their former village. Spelling being at best indifferent, and local dialects very thick, often lead, as with this surname, to the development of variant forms. Early examples of recordings include Robert de Garton in "The Calendar of Inguisitones post mortem" for Yorkshire in 1249, and William Garten in the tax rolls known as the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1272. John Garrton is recorded in the Militia Rolls of Barbados in 1679, whilst John Gardham is recorded at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 29th 1690. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Gertuna. This was dated 1163, in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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