This most interesting and curious surname is of Old Germanic origins. It derives the personal name "Gervase", composed of the elements "geri,", a spear, and a suffix of uncertain meaning and original form. The name had some currency throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, partly because it was borne by a saint who was martyred under the Roman Emperor Domitian. This saint became one of the patrons of Milan. Though usually from the personal name, in Yorkshire the name may derive from Jervaulx in Yorkshire, so called from a Norman French form of the river name "Ure", and "vaulx", a valley. Spellings of the surname include Jarvis, Jervois, Jervoise, Gervase and Gervis. The personal name is found as "Geruasius" in Leicestershire (circa 1158), and "Garvasius" in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire (1275). The surname itself first appears in records in the early 13th Century (see below), while other early recordings include: Thomas Geruais (Norfolk, 1230); William Gerveys (Somerset, 1270); and William de Gervaux (Yorkshire, 1370). Admiral John Jervis (1735 - 1823), was created Earl of St. Vincent in 1787. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Geruas, which was dated 1202, in the "Pipe Rolls of Shropshire". This was during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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