This name is of Norman origin, from either of the personal names "Gerard" or "Gerald" introduced into England after the conquest of 1066. The two names soon became confused, but are recorded separately in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Gerardus" and "Geraldi". The derivation of both names in Germanic, "Gerard" is composed of the elements "geri" or "gari" meaning "spear", with "hard", hardy, brave or strong, while "Gerald" means "spear - rule" from "geri" as before with "wald", rule, that the names were extremely popular can be seen by the great number and variety of modern surnames deriving from them, ranging from Gattatt, Garrett, Garred and Jarratt to Garrod and Jerrold. One Samuel Jarratt, an early settler in Virginia, was granted one hundred acres of land by "The Coproracon of Charles Cittie" in 1626. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gerard, which was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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