Recorded in many forms including Gabert, Gebhardt, Gebhard, Gepheart, Gobhardt (German), Gibard (French), Gibbard (English), and others, this is a surname of Germanic pre 5th century origins. It is said to derive from the elements 'geb or gep' meaning a gift, and 'hard' meaning brave or hardy, and was a popular personal name in the centuries before the creation of surnames in the 12th century. One of the first name holders was St. Gebhard, the bishop of Constance in the 10th century. It may be that his association with the name ensured its continuing popularity at a time in the Medieval period when such old fashioned and sometimes pagan names, were being swept aside by the ingress of names from the bible. Thse were usually of Hebrew or Greek origins, and themselves associated with the famous Crusaders of the 12th century. There were twelve Crusades, all unsuccessful, to try to free the Holy Land and in particular Jerusalem, from the Muslims, and returning soldiers would given their children so-called Christian names, to commemorate the father's prowess. This particular name, although not at the time what we would call today a surname, is one of the earliest recorded in Germany with that of Gebhart filius Gebhardi in the year 1180. Some two centuries later by which time surnames were taking on their modern form, we have that of Lyebart der Gebhart of Tegernheim, Regensburg, in 1361.
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