This surname of YERKES was an English medieval given name, which enjoyed a modest popularity among Christians as being borne by the biblical prophet JEREMIAH (Hebrew Yirmeyahu 'may God exalt him') noted for his lamentations over the faithlessness of Israel. The name is also spelt JERAMIAH, JEREMY, JARMEY, JARMAY, JEREMIAS, JEREMIES, JERMAS, YEREMEEV (Russian) and YERTUCHIN (Jewish). JEREMIAH (7th century BC) was the Old testament prophet, son of Hilkiah, the priest. He was a native of Anathoth, near Jerusalem. He was in Jerusalem during the seige of Nebuchadezzar, and is said to have died a martyr's death at Tahphanhes in Egypt. 'The Book of Jeremiah' warns of the impending fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadrezzar and the Babylonian exile, and foretold the coming of a Messiah. It is stated that the true origin of the name, a Norfolk surname, is Jermin, and Sir Germyn, recorded in County Norfolk in the year 1300, is one of the first of the name on record. Thomas Jeremye appears in the year 1325 in County Yorkshire and William Germy was documented in County Essex in the year of 1353. Thomas Jarmy was documented in County Norfolk in 1652. Thomas Knowles and Elizabeth Jermy were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1658, and Francis Jerby married Ann Wilsford at the same church in 1666. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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