Macgair History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Macgair is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Macgair is a name that comes from the baptismal name Garrison, which means Gerard. That name was originally derived from the Old German Gerhard, which literally means spear-brave. [1]

Baptismal names began to appear as surnames relatively late in the growth of the naming tradition. This is a little surprising, given the popularity of biblical figures in the Christian countries of Europe. Nevertheless, surnames derived from baptismal names grew in popularity during the Middle Ages, and have become one of the foremost sources for surnames.

Early Origins of the Macgair family

The surname Macgair was first found in the North Riding of Yorkshire where the family originated in Garriston, a small township, in the parish of Haukswell, union of Leyburn, wapentake of Hang-West. [2] [3]

Early History of the Macgair family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Macgair research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1066 and 1613 are included under the topic Early Macgair History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Macgair Spelling Variations

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 Gear, Gayre, Gyre, Garrison, McGair, Kerrison and many more.

Early Notables of the Macgair family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Macgair Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Macgair family

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 Macgair or a variant listed above were: William Lloyd Garrison who was mobbed in the streets of Boston in 1835 because he was an abolitionist(slavery); R.W. Garrison or Garriston who settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1872.



  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.


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