Show ContentsGest History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Gest was originally formed in the western region of Britain in the country of Wales. This name began as a nickname for a guest or stranger. The surname Gest is derived from the Old English word "gest," which in turn comes from the Old Norse Word "gestr," which means "guest" or "stranger."

Early Origins of the Gest family

The surname Gest was first found in Worcestershire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

Early History of the Gest family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gest research. Another 109 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1248 and 1273 are included under the topic Early Gest History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gest Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Gest have included Guest, Guests, Jeste and others.

Early Notables of the Gest family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was John Guest (1722-1785), a brewer, farmer and coal merchant in Broseley, Shropshire, co-founder of the Plymouth Ironworks in 1763; Sir Josiah John Guest, 1st...
Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gest Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gest Ranking

In France, the name Gest is the 3,908th most popular surname with an estimated 1,500 - 2,000 people with that name. [1]

Ireland Migration of the Gest family to Ireland

Some of the Gest 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.

United States Gest migration to the United States +

Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Gest were found:

Gest Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Henry Gest, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1686 [2]
  • Abell Gest, who arrived in Virginia in 1699 [2]
Gest Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Moses Gest, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [2]
  • Frederic Gest, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1748 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gest (post 1700) +

  • David Alan Gest (1953-2016), American entertainer, comedian, producer and television personality; best known for having produced the highest-rated musical television special in history, Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Celebration: The Solo Years in 2001, husband of Lisa Minelli (2002-2007)
  • William Harrison Gest (1838-1912), American Republican politician, U.S. Representative from Illinois 11th District, 1887-91; Circuit Judge in Illinois 14th Circuit, 1897-1912 [3]
  • Sydney G. Gest, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Havana, 1932 [3]
  • Major-General Thodre-Benoit-Honor-Louis Gest (1878-1977), French General Officer Commanding Gendarmerie Paris Military Region (1938) [4]

The Gest 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: Ferro non gladio
Motto Translation: By iron, not by the sword.

  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. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 9) . Retrieved from
  4. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, October 5) Thodre-Benoit-Honor-Louis Gest. Retrieved from on Facebook