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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

Garrison is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The name Garrison came from the baptismal name Garrison, which means Gerard. That name was originally derived from the Old German Gerhard, which literally means spear-brave. Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Garrison are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Garrison include Gear, Gayre, Gyre, Garrison, McGair, Kerrison and many more.

First found in Cornwall, where they received a grant of lands from the Count of Mortain in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Garrison research. Another 259 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1066 and 1613 are included under the topic Early Garrison History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Garrison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Garrison, or a variant listed above:

Garrison Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Garrison, who arrived in Maryland in 1661

Garrison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Phillip Garrison, who arrived in Virginia in 1705
  • Susanna Garrison, who arrived in New York, NY in 1743
  • Nic Garrison, who arrived in New York, NY, in 1743
  • Nic, Garrison Jr., who landed in New York, NY in 1743
  • Nicholas Garrison, who arrived in New York, NY in 1744

Garrison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Garrison, aged 38, landed in New York in 1812
  • William Lloyd Garrison who was mobbed in the streets of Boston in 1835 because he was an abolitionist(slavery)
  • D. R. Garrison settled in San Francisco in 1850
  • Capt. Garrison, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • George Garrison, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851

Garrison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Susannah Garrison, aged 23, a servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Hermione" in 1878


  • Zina Lynna Garrison (1963-1988), American three-time Grand Slam mixed doubles tennis champion, and a women's doubles gold medalist at the 1988 Olympic Games
  • William Lloyd Garrison (1805-1879), American abolitionist, journalist, and social reformer
  • Earling Carothers "Jim" Garrison (1921-1992), American District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana (1962 to 1973)
  • Jimmy Garrison (1934-1976), American jazz double bassist
  • Colonel Fielding Hudson Garrison MD (1870-1935), American medical historian, bibliographer, and librarian of medicine, best known for his An Introduction to the History of Medicine (1913)
  • Cornelius Kingsland "C.K." Garrison (1809-1885), American shipbuilder, capitalist, 5th Mayor of San Francisco (1853 to 1854)
  • Stevenson "Steve" Nathaniel Garrison (b. 1986), American professional baseball pitcher for the Seattle Mariners
  • David Earl Garrison (b. 1952), American actor
  • Vermont Garrison (1915-1994), American fighter pilot credited with 17.33 victories
  • Walter Benton Garrison (b. 1944), American retired NFL football fullback



  • Descendants of Cable Garrison Sr., and His Wife, Sarah Fleming, 1797-1966 by John Garrison Ross.
  • A Frontiersman and Soldier of the American Revolution by The Isaac Garrison Family.

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  1. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  2. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  11. ...

The Garrison Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Garrison 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 1 December 2014 at 15:43.

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