Gair is one of the thousands of new names that the Norman Conquest
of 1066 brought to England
. It comes 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.
Early Origins of the Gair family
The surname Gair was first found in Cornwall
, where they received a grant of lands from the Count of Mortain in 1066.
Early History of the Gair family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gair research.Another 259 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1066 and 1613 are included under the topic Early Gair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gair Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations
. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Gear, Gayre, Gyre, Garrison, McGair, Kerrison and many more.
Early Notables of the Gair family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Gair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gair family to the New World and Oceana
Because of the political and religious discontent in England
, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Gair name or one of its variants: William Lloyd Garrison who was mobbed in the streets of Boston in 1835 because he was an abolitionist(slavery); R.W. Garrison or Garriston who settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1872.
Contemporary Notables of the name Gair (post 1700)
- George Frederick Gair CMG QSO (1926-2015), New Zealand politician, Member of the New Zealand Parliament for North Shore (1966-1990), 3rd Mayor of North Shore (1995-1998)
- Joanne "Kiwi Jo" or "Kiwi Joe" Gair (b. 1958), New Zealand-born and raised make-up artist and body painter whose body paintings have been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue