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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, French

Where did the English Germain family come from? What is the English Germain family crest and coat of arms? When did the Germain family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Germain family history?

The name Germain is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person of German descent, or a person who was associated with that country through trade or other means. Another derivation of the name suggests that it derives from the Old French given name Germain. This name was borne by a popular French saint from the 5th century, and also meant of the same stock, or related to. Germain is a classic example of an polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

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Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled German, Germans, Jermain, Jarman and others.

First found in Essex where they had been granted lands after the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Germain research. Another 281 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1086, 1250, 1248, 1279, 1318, 1402, 1377, 1397, 1650 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Germain History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 85 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Germain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Germain family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Germain or a variant listed above were:

Germain Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Jean Germain, aged 35, landed in New York in 1642

Germain Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Anne Germain who settled with her son, Michael, in Georgia in 1733
  • Elizabeth Germain settled in America in 1756
  • George Germain, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Magdelaine Germain, who landed in Maryland in 1763
  • Marie Germain, who arrived in Maryland in 1763


Germain Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Jean L Germain, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1850
  • W F Germain, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • R Germain, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • Joseph N Germain, who arrived in Colorado in 1893
  • Debon Germain, who arrived in Arkansas in 1893

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  • Paul Germain (b. 1959), American animation producer
  • George Germain (1716-1785), 1st Viscount Sackville, British Secretary of State during the American Revolutionary War
  • Donald L St Germain MD, Professor of Medicine and of Physiology at Dartmouth Medical School
  • H James de St Germain, Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah
  • Russ Germain (1947-2009), Canadian CBC radio broadcaster
  • Sophie Germain (1776-1831), French mathematician
  • Brigadier-General Georges-Louis Germain (1877-1954), French General Officer Commander in Chief French Somaliland (1940)
  • General Maxime-Jean-Vincent Germain (1881-1953), French Member of Supreme War Council (1941-1942)


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  1. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  5. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  6. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  7. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  8. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  9. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  10. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Germain Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Germain Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 28 October 2013 at 11:20.

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