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Origins Available: English, French


The name Germain is rooted in the ancient Norman culture that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. It was a name for someone who was a person of German descent, or a person who was associated with that country through trade or other means. Another derivation of the name suggests that it derives from the Old French given name Germain. This name was borne by a popular French saint from the 5th century, and also meant of the same stock, or related to. Germain is a classic example of an polygenetic surname, which is a surname that was developed in a number of different locations and adopted by various families independently.

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The surname Germain was first found in Essex where they had been granted lands after the Norman Conquest in 1066 A.D.

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled German, Germans, Jermain, Jarman and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Germain research. Another 281 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1086, 1250, 1248, 1279, 1318, 1402, 1377, 1397, 1650 and 1718 are included under the topic Early Germain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Germain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Germain family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 41 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Germain or a variant listed above were:

Germain Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Jean Germain, aged 35, landed in New York in 1642

Germain Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Anne Germain who settled with her son, Michael, in Georgia in 1733
  • Elizabeth Germain settled in America in 1756
  • George Germain, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Magdelaine Germain, who landed in Maryland in 1763
  • Marie Germain, who arrived in Maryland in 1763
  • ...

Germain Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Jean L Germain, who landed in St Clair County, Illinois in 1850
  • W F Germain, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • R Germain, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1855
  • Joseph N Germain, who arrived in Colorado in 1893
  • Debon Germain, who arrived in Arkansas in 1893

Germain Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century

  • Pierre Germain, who landed in Montreal in 1653
  • Sieur De Germain, who arrived in Montreal in 1653

Germain Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Philippe Germain, who arrived in Montreal in 1757

Germain Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Germain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837
  • Benjamin Germain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837
  • Samuel Germain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "South Australian" in 1837
  • Charles George Germain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839
  • Sarah Ann Germain arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Somersetshire" in 1839
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  • Joseph A. St. Germain, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from New London; Elected 1948
  • James J. St. Germain, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New York, 1988
  • Fernand Joseph St. Germain (b. 1928), American Democrat politician, Member of Rhode Island State House of Representatives, 1952-60; U.S. Representative from Rhode Island 1st District, 1961-89; Defeated, 1988
  • D. Joseph St. Germain (1893-1980), American Republican politician, Investment banker; Delegate to Republican National Convention from Massachusetts, 1940, 1948, 1956
  • Arthur H. St. Germain, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for New Hampshire State House of Representatives from Manchester 13th Ward, 1938
  • George Germain (1716-1785), 1st Viscount Sackville, British Secretary of State during the American Revolutionary War
  • Paul Germain (b. 1959), American animation producer
  • Jean Germain (1947-2015), French Socialist politician, Mayor of Tours (1995-2014)
  • General Maxime-Jean-Vincent Germain (1881-1953), French Member of Supreme War Council (1941-1942)
  • Brigadier-General Georges-Louis Germain (1877-1954), French General Officer Commander in Chief French Somaliland (1940)
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    2. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
    3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    4. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
    5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
    8. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    10. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    11. ...

    The Germain Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Germain 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 21 October 2015 at 10:04.

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