This surname GIRARDI belongs to the relationship group of surnames and means 'the son of Geri', a personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name is composed of the element GERI (spear) + the second element meaning 'hardy, brave and strong'. The name was found in the Domesday Book of 1066. The name has spread widely in many forms which include GIRALDO, GERALD, JEAREY, JARY, GARRIC, JARRIGE, LAJARRIGE, GARRIGUE and GARRIGA, to name but a few. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A notable member of the name was GIRALDUS CAMBRENSIS or GERALD of Wales (circa. 1146-1223) the Norman-Welsh chronicler and ecclesiastic of noble birth, born in Manorbier Castle, Dyfed. He was the nephew of David, bishop of St. David's and educated at the abbey of St. Peter, Gloucester, and later studied in Paris. He became archdeacon of St. David's when his uncle died in 1176. He was expected to be elected bishop there, but his nomination was rejected because he was a Welshman by King Henry II of England. Reconciled with the king, he was appointed royal chaplain from 1184 to 1189. Most present day Irish bearers of the name and its variants and derivatives are descended from a single 10th century ancestor, a nephew of Eadhra, who founded the family of O'Hara. The name in Gaelic is O'GADHRA. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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