Gerard History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The rich and ancient history of the Gerard family name dates back to the time of the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It comes from the son of Gerard. The surname Gerard was originally derived from the Old German Gerhard which meant spear-brave. [1]

Early Origins of the Gerard family

The surname Gerard was first found in the Domesday Book of 1086 where the Latin form Gerardus and Girardus were listed. [2] The Latin form prevailed into the next century when Gerardus was listed in Norfolk in 1134-1140, and in 1149-1162 in Lincolnshire. [1]

Other early records include: John, Hugo Gerard in the Pipe Rolls for Northumberland in 1199; William Gerart in the Assize Rolls for Staffordshire in 1281; Henry Jerard in the Feet of Fines for Essex in 1284; John Gerrard, Thomas Garard, and William Garrarde in Yorkshire in 1412, 1429 and 1458. [1]

Gerard (died 21 May 1108), "Archbishop of York, was the nephew of Walkelin, bishop of Winchester, and his brother Simeon, abbot of Ely, and therefore, possibly, a distant kinsman of the Conqueror. He was precentor of the cathedral of Rouen, and afterwards a clerk of William Rufus's chapel and chancery. William dispatched him in 1095, in company with William of Warelwast, afterwards bishop of Exeter, to the papal court on a secret and delicate mission in connection with the dispute between the king and Anselm. The alleged object of their embassage was to investigate the claims of the two rival popes." [3]

He was Lord Chancellor of England (1085-1092) appointed by William I, and later Archbishop of York (1100-1108.) He may have been with the king's hunting party when William II was killed, as he witnessed the first charter issued by the new king, Henry I of England, a few days later.

Windle with Hardshaw in Lancashire was home to the family in later years. "In the reign of Edward III., the manor was held under William Boteler by Peter de Burnhull, with whose heiress the Gerards acquired the property; and this latter family are the present lords. Windle Hall belongs to Sir John Gerard, Bart., at whose annual court lor the manor of Windle, officers are chosen for the township." [4]

"Gerrard or Gerard is a very old Lancashire name. The Gerards of Bryn were lords of the manor of Brindle from the 14th to the 16th century: this distinguished family stands amongst the foremost of the Lancashire families, both in early and in more recent times, and received a baronetcy from James I." [5]

"The Gerrards were an ancient and titled Cheshire family. The Lords Gerard of Gerards Bromley from the 16th to the 18th century were descended from the Gerards of Ince in Lancashire; the Gerards of Kingsley and Crewood came from Hawarden in Flintshire in the time of Edward I. " [5]

Early History of the Gerard family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gerard research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1177, 1545, 1611, 1593, 1559, 1581, 1564, 1618, 1622, 1613, 1640, 1634, 1667, 1587, 1670, 1617, 1680, 1641, 1660, 1618, 1683, 1660, 1687, 1661, 1685, 1659, 1701, 1689 and 1694 are included under the topic Early Gerard History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gerard Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Gerard have been found, including Gerrard, Gerard, Jarrard, Jared, Garrad, Garred, Jarratt, Jarrett and many more.

Early Notables of the Gerard family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include John Gerard (Gerarde) (1545-1611), an English botanist and herbalist, who maintained a large herbal garden in London, eponym of the botanical genus Gerardia; Sir Gilbert Gerard (died 1593), a prominent lawyer, politician, and landowner who served six times as a member of the English parliament, Attorney-General (1559) Master of the Rolls (1581); Sir Thomas Gerard, 1st Baron Gerard (ca. 1564-1618); Gilbert Gerard, 2nd Baron Gerard (d. 1622); Dutton Gerard, 3rd Baron Gerard (1613-1640); Charles Gerard, 4th Baron Gerard (1634-1667); Sir Gilbert Gerard, 1st Baronet of Harrow on...
Another 95 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gerard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gerard Ranking

In the United States, the name Gerard is the 3,956th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [6] However, in France, the name Gerard is ranked the 53rd most popular surname with an estimated 40,467 people with that name. [7]


United States Gerard migration to the United States +

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Gerard, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Gerard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Gerard, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 [8]
  • Jon Gerard, who landed in Virginia in 1634 [8]
  • Winifred Gerard, who arrived in Maryland in 1658 [8]
  • John Gerard, who arrived in Maryland in 1662 [8]
Gerard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Peter Gerard, who arrived in New York in 1709 [8]
  • Jean Gerard, who arrived in Louisiana in 1718 [8]
  • Nich Gerard, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1736 [8]
  • Nicolas Gerard, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1736 [8]
  • Francois Gerard, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1764 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gerard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Gerard, who arrived in Virginia in 1808 [8]
  • Peter Gerard, who arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1826 [8]
  • James Gerard, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1840 [8]
  • Robert Gerard, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1860 [8]
  • Sylvestre Gerard, aged 32, who arrived in New York, NY in 1872 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gerard migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gerard Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Francois Gerard, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [9]

New Zealand Gerard migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gerard Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Alexander Gerard, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Strathfieldsaye" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 29th April 1858 [10]
  • Mrs. Gerard, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Strathfieldsaye" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 29th April 1858 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gerard (post 1700) +

  • James Watson Gerard (1867-1951), American lawyer and diplomat
  • Francis R. Gerard, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 8 aerial victories
  • Yves René-Jean Gérard (1932-2020), French musicologist
  • Gilbert Gerard (1760-1815), Scottish theological writer, son of Alexander Gerard, D.D
  • Alexander Gerard (1792-1839), Scottish-born, Himalayan explorer, son of Gilbert Gerard, D.D. [q. v.], grandson of Alexander Gerard, D.D. [q. v.]
  • Colonel William Cansfield Gerard DSO (b. 1851), 2nd Baron Gerard, a British Army officer and nobleman
  • Étienne Maurice Gérard, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [11]
  • François-Joseph Gérard, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [12]
  • Alexander Gerard (1728-1795), British philosophical writer, eponym of the lunar Gerard crater
  • William Gerard, Australian industrialist
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ http://www.journaldesfemmes.com/nom-de-famille/nom/
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, March 6) Étienne Gérard. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html
  12. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, March 6) François-Joseph Gérard. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html


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