Feminine derivative of Gerald, invented in the 16th century by the English poet the Earl of Surrey, in a poem praising Lady Fitzgerald. It remained very little used until the 18th century, when it suddenly increased in popularity.
English and Welsh: patronymic from the Middle English personal name Jon(e) (see John). The surname is especially common in Wales and southern central England. In North America this name has absorbed various cognate and like-sounding surnames from other languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988).