Geary family page
Ivy Grace Geary
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Origins of surname
The Guerrier family who lived in Grouville in the 1840s and '50s changed their name to Geary. The family came from France via Alderney and, because we were not aware of any confirmed instances of an immigrant surname being anglicised in Jersey in the 19th century (it happened frequently with Jerseymen who emigrated to the USA and elsewhere) we could not understand how the spelling Geary arose.
We have now been informed by a member of the Geary family, still present in Jersey today, that there is a simple explanation. The Guerriers were seafarers and sailed all over the world. In or about the 1860s, the men who had previously been listed as Guerrier began to be recorded as Geary in the Seaman Benefit Register which had to be completed for each voyage. The person recording the surnames wrote them down as he thought they should be spelt and the change was perpetuated in subsequent church and census records
Guerrier, from the French guerre = war, referred to a soldier. Geary, an English name, is said to have a variety of possible derivations, one of which is a soldier who carried a spear - old-German geri.
There are Guerrier births registered in Grouville and neighbouring St Martin in the 1840s and Geary baptisms in St Helier from 1820 onwards.
- Descendants of Louis Guerrier, the family which became Geary
Great War service
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