This unusual surname is of Norman origin, and is derived from either of the personal names "Gerard" or "Gerald" which were introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Invasion 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, and "wald", rule. Surnames derived from given names are the oldest and most pervasive surname type, and in vernacular naming traditions (as distinct from religious), names were originally composed of vocabulary elements of the local language, and no doubt bestowed for their auspicious connotations. That the names were extremely popular can be seen by the great number and variety of modern surnames deriving from them, ranging from Garratt, Garrett, Garred and Jarratt, to Garrod and Jerrold. Recordings from Surrey Church Registers include the marriage of Sara Jarrett and Michael Jarrett on February 2nd 1588, at Worth. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a silver lion rampant guttee de poix, collared red and ducally crowned gold, the Crest being a silver lion's head erased guttee de poix, collared red, ducally crowned gold. 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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