- This interesting surname is medieval English. It has two possible origins. The first being a derivation of the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon but ultimately Germanic, personal name 'Geri' meaning a spear. The surname from this source is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century (see below). A second distinct possibility is that the name derives from the Medieval English word 'gery or geary' meaning fickle or even passionate, and as such was originally given as a nickname to a capricious person! The Medieval period was a great time for nicknames, and it is estimated that over a quarter of all modern surnames do have a nickname source, some extremely robust in their meanings. Three spellings of the surname as Jery, Gery and Geri appear in the the ancient Hundred Rolls of the county of Huntingdonshire, in the year 1273. The form as Gerrie is well recorded in Devonshire church registers from the early 17th century, with examples being those of Gyddeon Gerrie, christened at the village of Cookbury on July 28th 1613, whilst on January 20th 1616, Johanna Gerrie and John Bayant were married at Dartmouth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Geri. This was dated 1195 in the Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Richard Ist known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.
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