This Italian surname of GARIBAY was originally derived from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements GEB (gift) + HARD (brave, hardy and strong). A saint of this name was bishop of Constance around the end of the 10th century, and his popularity may have had an influence on the continued use of the given name into the Middle Ages. The name has spread widely in many forms which include GARIBALDI, GEBHARD, GEBERT, GABERT, GOBHARDT, GEFFE, GIBKE, GEBBERS and GEVE, to name but a few. The origins of Italian surnames are not clear, and much work remains to be done on medieval Italian records. It seems that fixed bynames, in some cases hereditary, were in use in the Venetian Republic by the end of the 10th century. The typical Italian surname endings are 'i' and 'o', the former being characteristic of northern Italy. The singular form 'o' is more typical of southern Italy. A notable member of the name was Guiseppe GARIBALDI (1807-82) the Italian patriot, born a sailor's son in Nice. He himself went early to sea. In 1834 he became involved in the 'Young Italy' movement and was condemned to death for taking part in an attempt to seize Genoa. He escaped ultimately to South America where he distinguished himself as a guerilla fighter and privateer. He remains the central figure in the story of Italian independence. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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