Germer History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

When the ancestors of the Germer family emigrated to England following the Norman Conquest in 1066 they brought their family name with them. They lived in Suffolk. "The surname, now rare, is found particularly in Suffolk where Little Stonham, also known as Stanham Gernagan (1244 Feet of Fines for Suffolk), was long held by the family of Hubert Jarnegan (1222 Feet of Fines for Suffolk). In [the Domesday Book of ] 1086 [1] land was held in Stonham by Earl Alan and Iuichel the priest and there can be little doubt that Gernagan is a Celtic name brought over by the Bretons at the Conquest." [2]

Early Origins of the Germer family

The surname Germer was first found in Norfolk, where one of the first records of the name appeared as a forename: Jernegan Fitz-Hugh who was listed there in 1180. The surname was probably derived as someone who was "the son of Gernegan." Jernegan was anciently a Christian name that appeared in quite a few records. "The first that I meet with of this family was called Hugh, without any other addition, whose son was named Jernegan Fitz-Hugh, or the son of Hugh; he is mentioned in the Castle-Acre priory register, and he died about 1182."

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list William Gernegon in Norfolk and Walter Gernegan in Suffolk. [3] The Jernegan spelling was used by Lord Stafford's ancestors until the 16th century when the name was changed to Jerningham. His successors took the baptismal name Jernegan as their surname. [4]

"A branch of the Jerningham family was established at Painswick, in Bisley hundred [in Gloucestershire]. Sir Henry Jerningham, the second Baronet of his family, married Mary, daughter of Benedict Hall, of High Meadow, Esq." [5]

Early History of the Germer family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Germer research. Another 181 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1182, 1222, 1550, 1762, 1571, 1547, 1553 and 1571 are included under the topic Early Germer History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Germer Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Germer has been recorded under many different variations, including Jernegan, Jerningham, Jernygham, Jernigan, Jenningham, Jenningan and many more.

Early Notables of the Germer family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Henry Jerningham (d. 1571), an adherent of Queen Mary, the eldest son and heir of Sir Edward Jernegan of Huntingfield, Suffolk, by his second wife, Mary, daughter of Lord Scroop. The manor of Cossey (or Costessy), Norfolk, was granted him in 1547, and he thus became the founder of the Cossey branch of the Jernegan family, spelling the name Jerningham to distinguish his branch from the Somerleyton Jernegans. " He was the first to appear openly...
Another 84 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Germer Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Germer migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Germers were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Germer Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Henry Germer, who arrived in Long Island in 1781 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Germer (post 1700) +

  • Lester Halbert Germer (1896-1971), American physicist and former fighter pilot in World War I who co-proved the wave-particle duality of matter in the Davisson–Germer experiment
  • Amos E. Germer (1862-1935), American politician and lawyer from Cincinnatus, New York
  • Adoph F. Germer (1881-1966), American socialist political functionary and union organizer
  • Peter Germer (b. 1949), German former wrestler who competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics
  • Edmund Germer (1901-1987), German inventor, the father of the fluorescent lamp, awarded the Franklin Institute's Frank P. Brown Medal in 1954
  • Karl Johannes Germer (1885-1962), also known as Frater Saturnus, a German occultist and the United States, Outer Head of the Order (OHO) of Ordo Templi Orientis from 1947 until his death in 1962


The Germer Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Virtus basis vitae
Motto Translation: Virtue is the support of life.


  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. ^ Oliver, George, Collections Illustrating the History of the Catholic Religion in the Counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, and Gloucester London: Charles Dolman, 61, New Bond Street, 1857. Print
  6. ^ 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)


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