Garner Surname Genealogy

are French explanations, more than one, for the English surname
The name could have derived
from the French word gernier meaning
“granary” (and describe someone who was in charge of a grain
storehouse); or
from the personal name Garnier brought by the Normans; or be a
contraction of
the Gardiner surname.
Gardiner-to-Garner contraction 
might well
have accounted for many of these Garners, but may have occurred at a
date. Gardiner, derived from the
northern French word gardin, was an occupational name for
person responsible for cultivating the food from the garden. It was in
16th and 17th centuries that the Gardiner name started being shortened
Gardner and, in some cases, to Garner

Garner Resources on

Garner Ancestry

England. Some
early sightings of the Garner name were in East Anglia.
Geoffrey Gerner was recorded in Essex in

However, the later concentration of the name was to be found further
in a westward arc of the country – from Leicestershire in the Midlands
Staffordshire and Cheshire and then to Lancashire.
These four counties accounted for 45% of all
the Garners in the country in the

The Garner name was cropping up in the 18th
century in villages around the county – in Burbage near Hinckley, Hoby
Melton Mowbray, and Fleckney near Harborough.
Three prominent figures in Primitive Methodism – the Revs. John,
William, and James Garner – grew up in the early 1800’s in the village of East Leake
near Loughborough.

Garners of Lane End were a notable family in Stoke during the 18th and
centuries. A large tomb in the grounds
of the Church of St. Peter Ad Vincula commemorated members of the
family who
died in 1789 and 1837. Robert Garner and
his son Robert had been prominent potters in nearby Longton.

Garners, according to the writer Alan
, have been living at
Alderley Edge near Macclesfield since the late 16th century. They were stonemasons and blacksmiths. Their local knowledge fed Alan Garner’s
imagination and he created a fantasy world of the area in his

Lancashire. Garners
have been more numerous in Lancashire but
less conspicuous. The name was to be
found in the early/mid 1700’s in Northenden and Timperley, now suburbs

America. John Garner is thought to have arrived in
Virginia as a young lad from Shrewsbury in England possibly around 1650. He married Susanna Keene in 1660 and they
settled in the Northern Neck of Virginia in Westmoreland county where
John was
a tobacco planter. His line was covered
in the 1972 book The Garner-Keene
Families of Northern Neck
by Ruth Ritchie and Sudie Rucker Wood.

One line
through a grandson John Garner, also a tobacco farmer, led in the
1760’s to the
Garners of Moore and Randolph county, North Carolina.
Garner House
in Moore county, still standing, was built by
either John or
his son Lewis.

However, the main line remained in Virginia until after the
Revolutionary War. Afterwards there was
a scattering, some heading west to Tennessee and Texas and others south
to the
Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama.

One Gardiner line that had come to Maryland
became Garner in the early 1700’s. From
John Garner, a planter in Charles county, came Captain Hezekiah Garner
fought in the Second Seminole War and died in Florida of yellow fever
in 1841.

Texas. Sam
Houston had made the move from Tennessee
to Texas and so did Garners. There were
Garners involved in the battle of Texas independence.
John Garner helped Deaf Smith blow up the
bridge at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836.

The Garner family from Rutherford, Tennessee came to Texas in 1851.

1851 John Nance Garner was just six when he made the long 700-mile trip
his widowed mother and two brothers and three sisters to Blossom
Prairie, Texas
in a covered wagon.”

John subsequently
fought as a cavalryman on the Confederate side in the Civil War. His son John
Nance Garner
, born in 1868, became the US Vice President under
Roosevelt in
1933. This story was recounted in Bascom
Timmons’ 1948 book Garner of Texas.

German. German
names such as Gartner and Baumgartner could become Garner in America.

Gartner from Luxemburg came with his family to North Carolina in the
becoming Henry Garner there. His
grandson David, born in 1768, lived to be 104.
He and his wife Jane followed their sons to Illinois in the
1830’s where
they encountered the Mormons and joined the Mormon Brigade. They departed for Iowa rather than Utah,
however, and were among the first settlers of Pottawattamie
county where Garner township was named in their honor.

Peter Baumgartner, probably
from the Rhine Palatinate, came as Bumgarner, also in the 1740’s, and
in North Carolina as well. The line from
Woodford Bumgarner, three generations later, went first to Georgia and
then to
Arkansas and Oklahoma. It was only in
the 1950’s that Bumgarner became Garner – in the case of those
well-known brother
actors Jack and James Garner.

Australia and New Zealand.
John Garner from Thetford in Norfolk departed
London for Wellington on the Oriental
in 1840 and settled in Wanganui a year later.
He was one of the earliest Europeans in the area and has been
called the father of Wanganui.

Two later Garner
immigrant arrivals to Australia were:

  • James Garner and
    his family from London
    who came in 1856 and settled in Sydney.
  • and Hezekiah Garner
    and his family from
    Yorkshire who arrived on the Alfred a
    year later.

Garner Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Garner Names


was an enslaved African
American woman in pre-Civil War America who was notorious – or
– for killing her own daughter rather than allowing the child to be
returned to

John Nance Garner
was the US Vice President from 1933 to 1941.
Erroll Garner
an American
jazz pianist and composer known for his swing playing and
James Garner
born James Bumgarner, became well-known as an
American TV and film actor during the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Alan Garner
has been a popular English writer of fantasy fiction,
based on the legends and stories in his native Cheshire.
Joel Garner
was a fast bowler in the highly regarded West Indies
cricket teams of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s

Select Garners Today

  • 19,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 27,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)





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