The surname of GEAR was originally derived from the Old English word GERE, and dates back to Albert Joscelin Gere, recorded in 1133, County Suffolk. Stephen de la Gare, who was recorded in County Kent, in the year 1273 and Lucas atte Gare was documented in Kent during the reign of Edward I (1279-1307). Allen Atte-gar, was the vicar of Elmham, County Norfolk, in the year 1356. Edward Geere of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Hercules Gooderyn and Elizabeth Gayre were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1568. Archibald Hutchinson and Mary Gayer were married at the same church in 1715. John Gear and Ann Bamford were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1771. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Baron Gerhard Jacob de Geer (1858-1943) was the Swedish geologist, born in Stockholm, the son of a prime minister of Sweden. He achieved a major advance in geology, devising a novel and valuable method of advancing the knowledge of the history of the Ice Age. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
The name has many variant spellings which include Gare, Gayre and Geare. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Geare).
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