Gerrard Family History


Gerrard Family History

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MOTTO        :    En Dieu est mon esperance

Translation    :    In God is my trust.

The English surname Gerrard is patronymic in origin belonging to that group of surnames derived from the forename or Christian name of a man's father. In this case, the surname is derived from the forename Gerard which comes from the Germanic "gar hardt", meaning "spear strong" or "spear hard", and the surname means simply "son of Gerard".

Early records of this surname date back to the Norman conquest, when one Gerardus is noted in the Domesday Book of 1086. Another Gerardus is noted in the records of "St. Benet of Holme" in Norfolk between the years 1134-1140. In Stenton's "History of the Danelaw" he gives the names of one "Gerardus", one Hugo Gerard and one John Gerard, While in the Assize Rolls of Staffordshire for 1281 is recorded one William Gerard. In York there were three freemen of the surnames Gerrard, Garard and Garrarde between 1412 and 1458. Other recorded forms of this surname include Girard, Garrad, Jerard, Jerrard and Jarrard.

Notable bearers of this surname include John Gerard (1545-1607) the English botanist and herbalist, and Balthezar Gerard (d. 1584) the Roman Catholic fanatic who killed Prince William of Orange to expiate the Protestant prince from his sins. Saint Gerard (1726-1755) was an Italian monk renowed for his piety and miracles, and is the patron saint of mothers and childbirth. One American bearer of the surname was James Watson Gerard (1867-1951) the Ambassador to Germany who handled many difficult problems arising from the First World War.