The English surname Gilbert is of Norman French patronymic origin, meaning son of or descendant of Gilbert. The personal name Gilbert Giselbert, a Norman personal name composed of the Germanic elements gisil ‘pledge’, ‘hostage’, ‘noble youth’ (see Giesel) + berht ‘bright’, ‘famous’. This personal name enjoyed considerable popularity in England during the Middle Ages, partly as a result of the fame of St. Gilbert of Sempringham (1085–1189), the founder of the only native English monastic order. The name is also found in Ireland where the family had an ancestral seat in the county Laois in the eastern province of Leinster.
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