The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This French surname of GARREAU was an occupational name for a herdsman or a locational name for someone who lived by a shelter for animals. The name was derived from the Old French word GARET (shelter) a derivative of the verb GARER (to guard and protect). There are villages named with this word in Puy-de-Dome and Allier, and the surname may be a habitation name from these places. Other spellings of the name include GARREAU, GAREL, GARET, GARIOT and GARIOU. Where the herdsman kept the animals was important. In some places the lord of the manor had the unrestricted right to the manure of his own herds, and sometimes the right to that of the peasants. To accomplish the best results the shepherd had the duty of moving the flock around from place to place on the lord's land. Those who tended the sheep of the villagers, as well as the lord, was a function usually generally chosen by the villagers themselves. On the estates of the king or wealthy nobles many servants were required whose specific duties were means of identification, which later developed into hereditary surnames. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. America was colonized by peoples from all over the world in a very short period of time, and mostly, in the case of French immigrants they have stayed together in Louisiana. Of the early immigrants to America the French have fared the worst in respect of their names, chiefly because of the difficulties experienced by the Americans in pronouncing them correctly. Many have been translated into English names.
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