This interesting and long-established surname belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle English "ge(a)ry", fickle, changeable, passionate, a derivative of "gere", "fit of passion, wild or changeful mood". In 1221, one Jocelin Gere, witness, was recorded in the Assize Court Rolls of Worcestershire. The surname, with variant spellings Gear, Geare, Geere and Gier, is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Devonshire, Cornwall and Somerset from the early part of the 16th Century. On August 18th 1539, Robert, son of John Geere, was christened at Kenn, Devonshire, and in 1540, Johana Geer married a Richard Webber, in the same place. The marriage of Richard Geer to Barbara Chymder took place at St. Martin in Menage, Cornwall, in 1637. Dennis Geere, aged 30 yrs., his wife, Elizabeth, aged 22 yrs., and daughters, Elizabeth and Sara, aged 3 yrs. and 2 yrs., respectively, who embarked from London on the ship "Abigall" bound for New England in June 1635, were early namebearers to settle in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Albert Gere, which was dated 1133, in the "Chartulary of the Monastery of Ramsey", Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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