Recorded in many spellings and found through Europe, this is a variation of the surname Garrett. This was one of the most popular pre medieval personal names, and translates as "spear-brave" from the elements "geri," a spear and "hard" meaning hardy, brave or strong. The personal name was introduced into Britain by the Norman-French in 1066, and is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the Latin spellings of Gerardus and Girardus. In the modern idiom there are nearly thirty recorded derivatives of the personal name as surnames, including Garrard, Gerard, Gerrard, Gerald (English), Gerard, Giraud, Gerardet (France), Gerardi, Ghiraldi (Italy), and many others. Amongst the very early recordings is that of William Gerard, in the assize court rolls of Yorkshire in 1219. Among the several notable namebearers mentioned in the Dictionary of National Biography are Sir William Gerard, Lord Chancellor of Ireland, 1579, and Alexander Gerard (1792 - 1839), Himalayan explorer who ascended peaks hitherto unscaled and penetrated into Tibet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Gerard, which was dated 1199, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart" 1189 - 1199. 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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