Show ContentsGeer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

As we follow the name Geer back through history, we find that the surname is ultimately derived from the Middle English word "geary," meaning "changeable" or "passionate." [1]

Another source notes "This surname is derived from a geographical locality. 'at the gare' , from residence thereby." [2]

And another source states "Gear signifies all sorts of wearing apparel and equipments for horses and men, from the Saxon gearrian, to make ready; and the name was probably given to one who took charge of and superintended the gear. John of the Gear, John O' Gear, and at length John Gear." [3]

Early Origins of the Geer family

The surname Geer was first found in Suffolk, where the earliest record of the name is Albert, Joscelin Gere, who was listed in the "Cartularium monasterii de Rameseia" Rolls between 1133-1160. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing of the family: Stephen de la Gare, Kent. But the "Placita de Quo Warranto, temp. Edward I-III." had two listings, both 20, Edward I (during the twentieth year of King Edward I's reign): Lucas atte Gare, Kent; and Lucas de la Gare, Kent. [2]

Allen Atte-gar, was vicar of Elmham, Norfolk in 1356. [4]

"There is an estate named Gear in the parish of St. Earth, which Polwhele thinks may have had its name from caer, castrum; and he says Gear Bridge below was originally Caer Bridge. Geare in Cornish signifies 'green or flourishing.' " [5]

Early History of the Geer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Geer research. Another 78 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1379, 1601, 1602, 1565, 1580, 1603, 1622, 1662, 1622, 1601, 1649 and 1615 are included under the topic Early Geer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Geer Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, French and other languages became incorporated into English through the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Geer include Gear, Geare, Geear, Geere, Gere and others.

Early Notables of the Geer family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Michael Geare (c. 1565 - ?), captain of the ship "Little John," who was knighted in for his role in the privateer wars in the West Indies with Spain in 1580-1603. Alan Geare (1622-1662), was a nonconformist divine, born at Stoke Fleming, near Dartmouth, Devonshire...
Another 53 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Geer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Geer Ranking

In the United States, the name Geer is the 4,395th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6]

United States Geer migration to the United States +

A great wave of immigration to the New World was the result of the enormous political and religious disarray that struck England at that time. Families left for the New World in extremely large numbers. The long journey was the end of many immigrants and many more arrived sick and starving. Still, those who made it were rewarded with an opportunity far greater than they had known at home in England. These emigrant families went on to make significant contributions to these emerging colonies in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers carried this name or one of its variants:

Geer Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Geer, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 [7]
  • George Geer, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1635 [7]
Geer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Edward Geer, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [7]
  • John Geer, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760 [7]
Geer Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andre Geer, aged 23, who arrived in New York, NY in 1848 [7]
  • A.C. Geer, aged 36, who immigrated to the United States, in 1894
  • C.W. Geer, aged 52, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Alice Geer, aged 25, who settled in America, in 1895
Geer Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Carolyn R Geer, aged 50, who immigrated to America, in 1908
  • Barnard Geer, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1911

Contemporary Notables of the name Geer (post 1700) +

  • Charlotte Geer (b. 1957), American rower from the United States
  • Hal Geer (1916-2017), American producer and filmmaker, best known for his work with Looney Tunes and The Walt Disney Company (1950-1955)
  • Kevin K. Geer (1952-2017), American stage and film actor
  • Joshua Brent Geer (b. 1983), American Major League Baseball starting pitcher
  • Ralph Carey Geer (1816-1895), American farmer and politician
  • Edward Franklin Geer (1851-1924), award winning American harness racer
  • Helen Thornton Geer (1903-1983), prominent American author, professor, and librarian
  • Charles Geer, American illustrator and author
  • Peter Zack Geer (1928-1997), American Democratic politician from Georgia
  • Theodore Thurston Geer (1851-1924), American politician, the tenth Governor of Oregon
  • ... (Another 21 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Alfred Ernest Geer (d. 1912), aged 26, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [8]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Kenneth Floyd Geer, American Seaman Second Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [9]

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  4. Rye, Walter, A History of Norfolk. London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, 1885. Print
  5. Charnock, Richard, Stephen, Ludus Patronymicus of The Etymology of Curious Surnames. London: Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1868. Print.
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  8. Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from
  9. Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook