Gerald History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms 

The Strongbownians added their own naming traditions to the eastern region of Ireland to which they arrived. The impact of this new tradition was not extremely disruptive to the pre-existing Irish tradition because the two had many similarities. Both cultures made significant use of hereditary surnames. And like the Irish, the Strongbownians often used prefixes to build patronymic surnames, which are names based on the given name of the initial bearer's father or another older relative. Strongbow's followers often created names that were built with the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word fils, and ultimately from the Latin filius, both of which mean son. They also used diminutive suffixes such as "-ot," "-et," "-un," "-in," or "-el," and occasionally even two suffixes combined to form a double diminutive such as "-el-in," "-el-ot," "-in-ot," and "-et-in," to build patronymic names. The surname Gerald is derived from the Norman personal name Gerald, which consists of the Germanic elements "geri" or "gari," which mean "spear," and "wald," which means "rule." The name features the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix fitz, which means son of in Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately comes from the Latin word "filius." The Gaelic form of the surname Gerald is "Mac Gerailt."

Early Origins of the Gerald family

The surname Gerald was first found in Munster, where they were granted lands by the Earl of Pembroke during his invasion of Ireland in 1172. Otho Geraldino, one of the chief commanders of Williams the Conqueror landed in England at the time of the Conquest and was created a Baron for his efforts. As Norman constable of Pembroke, South Wales, he went into Ireland with Strongbow in the Anglo- Norman invasion. Two generations later, Maurice was the first to use the name Fitzgerald. He was granted lands in Munster in the south of Ireland. [1]

Important Dates for the Gerald family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gerald research. Another 332 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1333, 1411, 1316, 1716, 1513, 1537, 1411, 1809, 1883, 1534, 1612, 1660, 1634, 1664, 1660, 1660 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Gerald History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gerald Spelling Variations

During the lifetime of an individual person, his name was often spelt by church officials and medieval scribes the way it sounded. An examination of the many different origins of each name has revealed many spelling variations for the name: Fitzgerald, Geraldines, Desmond, Gerald, Geralds and others.

Early Notables of the Gerald family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the family up to this time was Gerald Fitzgerald, ninth Earl who was impeached of high treason and died for his causes at the Tower of London 1534; George FitzGerald, 16th Earl of Kildare (1612-1660), known as the "Fairy Earl", for no...
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gerald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gerald migration to the United States

Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Gerald:

Gerald Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Gerald, who landed in Maryland in 1652 [2]
Gerald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Berthold Gerald, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [2]
  • Albin Gerald, aged 17, who landed in New York, NY in 1893 [2]

Gerald migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gerald Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Michael F. Gerald, aged 19, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1833 aboard the ship "Ward" from Limerick, Ireland
  • Miss. Johanna Gerald, aged 3 who was emigrating through Grosse Isle Quarantine Station, Quebec aboard the ship "Bridgetown" departing 3rd July 1847 from Liverpool, England; the ship arrived on 29th August 1847 but she died on board [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gerald (post 1700)

  • Edmund Gerald, American politician, Governor of California (1959-1967)
  • J. Bates Gerald (b. 1895), American Republican politician, South Carolina Republican State Chair, 1938-50; Member of Republican National Committee from South Carolina, 1949 [4]
  • Fred Gerald (b. 1941), American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Virginia, 2004 [4]
  • Don Gerald, American politician, Mayor of Champaign, Illinois, 2011 [4]
  • Amos F. Gerald (1841-1918), American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Maine 3rd District, 1900 [4]
  • Frederick Fitz Gerald, American politician, U.S. Consul in Cognac, 1897 [5]
  • Mr. John Gerald Barley B.E.M.,, British recipient of the British Empire Medal on 8th June 2018, for charitable services in Berkshire [6]
  • Mr. Peter Gerald Wilkes B.E.M.,, British recipient of Medallist of the British Empire Medal 29th December 2018 for services to Tennis [7]
  • Mr. Gareth Gerald McAuley M.B.E., (b. 1979), born in Larne, Northern Ireland, British professional footballer, was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to Football in Northern Ireland [7]
  • Elisha Gerald Hopkins (1935-2018), American journalist and author who published 37 books and over 1,000 magazine articles

You May Also Like


  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ Charbonneau, André, and Doris Drolet-Dubé. A Register of Deceased Persons at Sea and on Grosse Île in 1847. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, 1997. ISBN: 0-660-198/1-1997E (p. 77)
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 7) . Retrieved from
  5. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from
  6. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62310, 31 October 2019 | London Gazette, The Gazette, June 2018,
  7. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
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