Recorded in a large number of forms (see below) some which seem to be only remotely connected with either original name, this is an English surname, but of Norman-French and ultimately Germanic origins. It is derived from either of the two pre 7th century personal names Gerard or Gerald, which were introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Invasion of 1066. The two names are recorded separately in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Gerardus" and "Geraldi". Gerard is composed of the elements "geri" or "gari", meaning "spear", with "hard", hardy, brave or strong, whilst "Gerald" means "spear-rule" from "geri", as before, and "wald". Such (sur)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 including Garratt, Garrett, Garred, Jarrett, Yarlett and Yerlott, to Garrod, Jerrard and Jerrold. Recordings from early church registers include the marriage of Michael and Sarah Jarrett on February 2nd 1588, at Worth in Surrey, whilst Sarah Yarlett married William Burke at St James church, Dukes Place, Westminster, on September 20th 1680. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gerard. This was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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