Garrett Surname Genealogy

principal source of the Garrett surname in England and Ireland were the
Gerard and Gerald personal names that the Normans brought with them in
or after the invasion of England.  Gerard from the Germanic Gerhard was derived from the
Germanic element ger meaning
“spear” and hard meaning
“brave” or “hard.”
There were about 18 Gerards recorded in the Domesday Book of
1086.  Early surname spellings in England were Gerard, Gerrard,
and Garrard.  It was only around 1550-1600 that the Garrett
began to be preferred.
In Ireland, after the Anglo-Norman invasion, the
main name was FitzGerald.  Garrett was often a synonym for
FitzGerald, the name being mainly found in Ulster.  Garrett was
also a Manx name; and Garrett cropped up as well in the Stranraer
region of SW Scotland.
Select Garrett Resources on The Internet

Garrett Ancestry

England.  Earlier versions of
Garrett in England
were Gerard and Gerrard in the north and Garrard in the south.  The Gerrard spelling has remained the main
spelling in Lancashire.  Elsewhere,
including London, Garrett has generally displaced Gerard, Gerrard, and Garrard.

Lancashire.  The
Gerards, originally Fitzgerald, were from
Carew castle in Pembrokeshire and moved north, first to Cheshire, and
around 1340, to Lancashire where they were established for many
centuries at
Bryn near Chorley and became known as the Gerards of Bryn.

Thomas de Bryn spent much of his life
fighting the Scottish.  He was a hero for
the English at Flodden Field in 1513, but he was killed at the Battle
Berwick ten years later.  The Gerards
under Sir Gilbert Gerard grew rich during the reign of Elizabeth and
baronets under his son Sir Thomas.

in Ashton in
Makerfield there is a Thomas Gerrard School, a Gerard street, a Gerard
pub a
Gerard farmer, and a Gerard car dealer.

The Garrards of Sittingbourne in Kent have different
origins, from
earlier Attegare and de la Gare lines.
They blossomed in trade during Elizabethan times and were made
in the next century. The family spelling
started to change from Garrard to Garrett around the year 1600.

were also early Garrard lines in
Berkshire and Norfolk:

  • one
    Garrard line
    has been traced back in Berkshire to the 1450’s.  These
    Garrards were prominent in the village
    of Lambourn from 1530 to 1778.  William
    Garrard later owned a brewery in Reading.  
  • while
    Garrards in Norfolk have been more
    numerous.   Garrard records date back
    1550 in Diss.  The most well-known
    Garrards were the Garrards of Langford who prospered as merchants in
    London and
    were made baronets in 1662.  

the 18th century
landscape painter, is said to have had Dutch ancestry from Marcus
Gheeraerts, a painter
Queen Elizabeth.  

Garrard, Gerrard and
Garrett had become closer in sound by the 16th century and Garrett was
adopted as a spelling.  For instance, the
Protestant martyr was probably born Thomas Gerrard in Lincolnshire in
1498. But he was more frequently being described as Thomas Garrett by
the time of his martyrdom in London in 1540.

.  There were
Garretts also in the west country, stretching from Somerset to
Hampshire.  One Garrett family can be
traced to 1539 and
the parish records of Bradford

on the Dorset/Somerset border.  Some of
them moved to the nearby town of Yeovil, others emigrated to
Newfoundland in
the 19th century.  Garretts can be found
in the villages of Horningsham and Stourton in the 17th century.  And Garretts also cropped up in the Andover
area of Hampshire at that time.  

Ireland.  The Anglo-Norman
invasion under Stongbow
brought the powerful Fitzgerald family to Ireland and they remained a
force in
the land for centuries.  The descendant
in Kildare was called Earl Garrett Mor in the 16th century.  The Irish name for FitzGerald is MacGearailt.

itself has been predominantly an
Ulster name, found in Down and Antrim as well as in Dublin.  Garrett here can be an anglicization of the
Irish MacGearailt or McGarraty, particularly in the case of those who

can also be an
English implant.  Captain John Garrett,
descended from the Sittingbourne Garrards, was one of five brothers who
with Cromwell in Ireland.  His son John
established himself in 1700 at Kilgaran in county Carlow where his
lived until around 1870.  

Isle of Man
.  Garrett can be a Manx name.
Patrick Garrett was recorded at Andreas in
1727.  Another Patrick Garrett married
Eliner Cremilt in Lezayre parish in 1794.
Their son John emigrated to America in 1827 and made his home in
county in Ohio, joining other Manx settlers there.  

Scotland.  The Garrett name has also
cropped up in
Stranraer in SW Scotland.  The Rev. James
Garrett, a Presbyterian minister, was born at Inch near Stranraer in
1793.  He
emigrated to Tasmania in 1828.  James Garrett, born in 1811,
was a
well-known local fisherman who lived to be 103 years of age.

main point of entry for early Garretts was Virginia.
Some were reported there at the time of the
Jamestown settlement.  But the main lines
have come from a John Garrett who arrived in the 1630’s, after his
first wife had
died, as an indentured servant to his brother-in-law John Dunstan.  He then returned to England and married Lady
Mary Bible.

Garrett married Lady Mary Bible in 1632 when he was 37 years old.  According to Cathy Osborn’s publication Garrett Folklore & Fact, Lady Mary
Bible was of royal blood but was disinherited because she had married a

descendants in America
included children of both his first and second wives.  Later lines

  • from his
    son John, by his first wife Ann, who had come to Virginia in the 1660’s
    – one
    line from here went via North Carolina to Georgia in 1798 and then to
    county, Alabama in 1835 where John Garrett prospered as a farmer.  One of his sons was Pat Garrett, the famous
    lawman of the Old West who shot down Billy the Kid.
  • from
    his son William the
    Quaker, by his second wife Mary, who came to Chester county,
    Pennsylvania in
    the 1680’s – a descendant here was Thomas Garrett, the famous
    abolitionist and
    a leader of the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves.
  • and
    from Thomas,
    thought to be John’s brother, who also came to Pennsylvania, settling
    Brandywine Creek in Chester county – this line led to the Garrett snuff line in New Castle
    county, Delaware; it also led
    to John Garrett Jr. who headed west in 1804 and founded Garrettsville,

line in Virginia began with William Garrett of Essex county in
1752.  One of his descendants was Richard
Garrett who owned the farm where the John Wilkes Booth who assassinated
Lincoln hid out and where he was captured and shot in 1865.  This line was covered in H.L. Garrett’s 1962
book Garrett History.

Then there was the Virginia
line that began with Jacob Garrett, born there in 1730, and led first
Tennessee and then to Texas.  In the early
1830’s William Garrett was one of the first settlers on the Brazos
river.  His plantation home at San
Augustine, built
by slave labor, was completed in 1864.
It received a Texas historical marker in 1962.

Garretts from county Down
in Ireland began arriving in America in the 1790’s, settling mainly in
Pennsylvania.  Among them was a Scots
Irish family which included the seven year old Robert Garrett who later
up his own business in Baltimore.  His
son John W. Garrett rose to become the President of the Baltimore &
Railroad and a well-known business leader and philanthropist of his

Garrett was also from county Down.  He was
Catholic and departed Ireland at the time of the potato
famine.  He came to Cass county, Michigan
in 1859 and was part of the early Irish community there.

Australia.   Jonathan
Garrett arrived as a convict from
England and lived through the Castle Hill and Rum Rebellions between
1804 and
1808.  He was the focal point of the
Australian 1978 TV mini-series Against the Wind.

John and Sarah Garrett were bounty
immigrants from Liverpool who came to Sydney in 1840.
Their son Tom prospered as a newspaper
proprietor, their grandson Tom was one of Australia’s early cricketers
played in the first-ever Test Match in 1877.

Meanwhile William and John Garrett had come
from the Isle of Man to the Bendigo goldfields in the 1850’s and moved onto the
Kapunda copper mine in South Australia
They then tried their luck farming in the Flinders Ranges.  However, persistent drought in the 1880’s
them financially and many family members died, often at a young
age.  John
Garrett’s tombstone on the Willochra Plain still stands as a somber
reminder of
the harshness of the country into which they had blundered.

Garrett Miscellany

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

Garrett Names


was an American abolitionist
and leader of the Underground Railroad movement before the Civil War.  
W. Garrett
was President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
(B&O) from 1858
until his death in 1884, a position of much power and prestige at that
Lesley Garrett is a well-known English soprano
singer, broadcaster and media personality.  She is noted for being
at home in
both opera and crossover music

Select Garretts Today

  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 36,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 20,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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