An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016
Origins Available: English, Irish
When the Stongbow settlers arrived in Ireland, they quickly learned that the Irish had a pre-established system of hereditary surnames. The name Gard is an occupational surname, which was primarily from the Anglo-Norman culture. There were a few Irish occupational names, however, previous to the arrival of the Strongbownians, so this Anglo-Norman tradition was not too incongruous within the island. Occupational surnames were derived from a word describing the actual job done by the initial name bearer. The Strongbownians frequently prefixed these names with the French word le, meaning the, but this custom quickly died out in Ireland. The surname Gard came from a common occupational name for a valued military officer. The surname Gard is derived from the expression Unicus Est. According to tradition, during the bitter 13th century feuds between the two powerful Anglo-Norman families of the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers, a Commander who sought help to secure a position pointed to a particularly valued captain and said Unicus Est, which means Hei is the only one to undertake this service. The name Garde was also used as a synonym.
The surname Gard was first found in County Cork (Irish: Corcaigh) the ancient Kingdom of Deis Muin (Desmond), located on the southwest coast of Ireland in the province of Munster, where they held a family seat from ancient times, soon after the Anglo Norman Conquest of Ireland by Strongbow in 1172 A.D. That this family name were Norman mercenaries seems reasonably clear. In the bitter 13th century feuds between the Fitzgeralds and the Butlers it is said that a commander, seeking help to secure a position, pointed to one of the captains and said, 'Unicus Est', meaning 'He is the only one to undertake this service'. Hence this expression not only became the family motto but it also became the basis and origin of the family name itself, Uniacke. Later some used Gard as a synonym.
Medieval scribes and church officials often spelled the name Gard as it sounded to them. As a result, the name Gard, over the ages, has attained many spelling variations including Uniacke, Uniake, Uniack, Uniak, Garde, Gard and others.
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gard research. Another 173 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 197 and 1976 are included under the topic Early Gard History in all our PDF Extended History products.
More information is included under the topic Early Gard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
In the mid-19th century, Ireland experienced one of the worst periods in its entire history. During this decade in order to ease the pressure of the soil, which was actually depleted by the effects of the previous years' grain crops, landowners forced tenant farmers and peasants onto tiny plots of land that barely provided the basic sustenance a family required. Conditions were worsened, though, by the population of the country, which was growing fast to roughly eight million. So when the Great Potato Famine of the mid-1840s hit, starvation and diseases decimated the population. Thousands of Irish families left the country for British North America and the United States. The new immigrants were often accommodated either in the opening western frontiers or as cheap unskilled labor in the established centers. In early passenger and immigration lists there are many immigrants bearing the name Gard:
Gard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
Gard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Gard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
Gard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
Gard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
The Gard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gard 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 23 November 2015 at 10:53.