This intriguing name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that large group of early surnames that were created from the habitual use of a nickname. In this instance the nickname was used originally of someone who was considered to be wayward, wild, or capricious, derived from the Middle English word "gerysshe", fickle, changeable, wayward, a derivative of "gere", fit of passion, thought to be ultimately of Scandinavian derivation. The term has generated a number of modern surnames, such as Geary, Garry, Gear(e), Geer(e), and Garrish, Gerish, and Gerrish, the latter forms being found particularly in the West Country. The surname development includes William le Geriss (1275, Oxford), Christina Gerygge (1327, Lancashire), and William Girisshe (1370, Oxfordshire). The christening of John, son of Edward and Mary Garrish, was recorded at Bloughton Gifford, Wiltshire, on October 23rd 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Umfrey le Gerische, which was dated 1275, in the "Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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