Gervais History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the Gervais family arrived in England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Gervais came from the Norman personal name Gervase. The surname Gervais indicates that the bearer is a descendant of someone named Gervase. [1]

Gervase of Canterbury (Gervasius Dorobornensis) ( fl. 1188), was an English "chronicler, was born, apparently of a Kentish family, about 1141. As he had a brother Thomas in his monastery, who is conjectured to be identical with one Thomas of Maidstone, we have a possible clue to his birthplace; but the information is too imperfect to warrant more than an hypothesis. Gervase became a monk of Christ Church, Canterbury, on the first Saturday in Lent, 16 Feb. 1163." [2]

Gervase of Chichester (fl. 1170), was an English commentator, one of the band of learned young men who gathered round Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury and Gervase of Tilbury (fl. 1211), was author of the ‘Otia Imperialia,’ was no doubt a native of Tilbury in Essex, though he appears to have been brought up in Rome, and to have spent some years of his early life in Italy. [2]

Early Origins of the Gervais family

The surname Gervais was first found in Cornwall. The Gervais surname also spelled Jarvis, Gervays and Gervis, was first found in Mobonnaiss and Vallee, in Brettagne, the ancient name for Brittany, and arrived in England with William, Duke of Normandy, in 1066. [3]

The first records of the family were listed in their Latin form, as in John fil. Gervacii, Cambridgeshire; William filius Gervasii, Huntingdonshire; and Stephen Gervcis, Cambridgeshire. All were listed in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273. [4]

Early History of the Gervais family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gervais research. Another 176 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1379, 1268, 1262, 1262, 1268, 1410, 1393, 1397, 1587, 1654, 1621, 1625, 1628, 1629, 1640, 1653, 1616, 1693, 1666 and 1667 are included under the topic Early Gervais History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gervais Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Gervais are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Gervais include Gervais, Gervays, Gervis, Jarvis, Jervis and others.

Early Notables of the Gervais family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Gervais, (died 1268), an early English clergyman, Bishop of Carlisle in 1262 and Bishop of Winchester (1262-1268); Richard Gervays (died c.1410), of Canterbury, Kent, an English politician, a Member of...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gervais Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Gervais family to Ireland

Some of the Gervais family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gervais migration to the United States +

Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Gervais, or a variant listed above:

Gervais Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Gervais who settled in Maryland in 1634
Gervais Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Pierre Gervais, who settled in Louisiana in 1756
  • Charles Nicholas D. Gervais, who settled in Philadelphia in 1799
Gervais Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Gervais, who settled in Philadelphia in 1860
  • Edmond Gervais, aged 32, who settled in America from Paris, in 1899
Gervais Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Armand Gervais, aged 22, who landed in America from Paris, in 1905
  • Eleonore Gervais, aged 4, who landed in America from S. Paul, France, in 1908
  • Agnes Gervais, aged 32, who immigrated to the United States from France, in 1908
  • Georges Gervais, aged 27, who immigrated to the United States from Bordeaux, France, in 1918
  • Gaspard Gervais, aged 47, who settled in America from Paris, France, in 1919
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Gervais migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gervais Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Jehan Gervais, who landed in Montreal in 1653
  • Pierre Gervais, son of Pierre and Marie, who married Marie-Anne Blain, daughter of Etienne and Gatienne, in Quebec on 19th October 1665 [5]
  • René Gervais, son of Martin and Perrette, who married Marie Jousselot, daughter of Pierre and Ozanne, in Quebec on 10th November 1669 [5]
  • Marin Gervais, son of Julien and Nicole, who married Françoise Monvoisin, daughter of Jean and Catherine, in Sainte-Famille, Quebec on 16th October 1672 [5]
  • Mathieu Gervais, son of Pierre and Catherine, who married Michelle Picard, daughter of Hugues and Antoinette, in Montreal, Quebec on 31st August 1676 [5]
Gervais Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Jean-Baptiste Gervais, son of Charles and Jacquette, who married Marie-Jeanne Tessier, daughte rof Mathurin and Élisabeth, in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, Quebec on 9th January 1700 [5]
  • Jacques Gervais, son of René and Marie, who married Madeleine Dasylva, daughter of Pierre and Jeanne, in Quebec on 15th November 1700 [5]
  • Jean-Mathieu Gervais, son of Mathieu and Michelle, who married Jeanne-Françoise Ronseray, daughter of Jean and Jeanne, in Montreal, Quebec on 11th June 1708 [5]
  • Mathieu Gervais, son of Mathieu and Michelle, who married Marie-Josephte Robidou, daughter of Joseph and Jeanne, in La Prairie, Quebec on 30th October 1719 [5]
  • Pierre Gervais, son of Mathieu and Michelle, who married Catherine Plante, daughter of Claude and Marie, in La Prairie, Quebec on 30th October 1719 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gervais Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • J. Horace Gervais, aged 34, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1912

Contemporary Notables of the name Gervais (post 1700) +

  • Ricky Dene Gervais (b. 1961), British seven-time BAFTA, two-time Emmy Award and three-time Golden Globe winning, comedian, actor, director and producer
  • Paul Gervais (b. 1946), American novelist and garden-designer, his novel, Extraordinary People, was nominated for the PEN/ Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1992
  • John Lewis Gervais (1741-1798), German-born, American planter and statesman from South Carolina who served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782 and 1783
  • Paul Gervais, American politician, Socialist Labor Candidate for Presidential Elector for California, 1972 [6]
  • Edward H. Gervais, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Wisconsin, 1944 [6]
  • Gaétan Gervais (1944-2018), Canadian author, historian and professor from Sudbury, Ontario
  • Jacques Gervais, Baron Subervie, French Divisional General during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars from 1789 to 1815 [7]
  • Paul Mullins Gervais (b. 1925), Canadian politician, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke (1968-1972)
  • Marc Gervais S.J. (1929-2012), Canadian Jesuit priest, film scholar, writer, and film consultant, Commissioner of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission from 1981 until 1986
  • Henri Louis Jean Gervais, French Prefect of Eure-et-Loire, Officer of the Legion of Honour
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Internoscia, Arthur E., and Claire Chevrier. Dictionnaire National des Canadiens Français 1608-1760. Vol. 1, Institut Drouin, 1958.
  6. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  7. ^ Generals Who Served in the French Army during the Period 1789-1815. (Retrieved 2015, November 3) Jacques Gervais. Retrieved from http://www.napoleon-series.org/research/c_frenchgenerals.html


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