This surname GERACE was originally derived from a Greek personal name GEORGIOS meaning a farmer, from the compound GE (earth) and ERGEIN (to work and till). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Its popularity increased at the time of the crusades, which brought greater contact with the Orthodox Church in which there was a thriving cult of an obscure saint of this name, supposedly martyred at Nicomedia in AD 303, although the authenticity of his very existence is doubtful.
In 1348 Edward III founded the Order of the Garter under the patronage of St.George, and in 1415 his day was made a festival of the highest rank. Many other chivalrous orders assumed him as their patron; and he was adopted as guardian saint of Aragon and Portugal. By the end of the Middle Ages he had acquired an entirely unhistorical legend of dragon-slaying exploits, which caught the popular imagination throughout Europe, and was considered the patron saint of England, which is celebrated on the 23rd April. George has been a popular name amongst the royalty of Europe, ranging from George I (1660-1727) king of Great Britain and Ireland from 1717, Elector of Hanover (1698-1727), to George VI (1895-1952) king of Great Britain, second son of George V. On the abdication of his elder brother Edward VIII, he ascended the throne in 1936.
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