I have done a great deal of research on the origins of the GARNET/GARNETT surname and have put together a one-name study for this family. If you are still engaged in writing your research paper, Philip, please get in touch with me and I will be happy to share whatever information might be of use to you.
All of the GARNET/GARNETT families in England can trace their origins back to Normandy in France where their surname was spelled originally as GERNET. Early members of this family arrived in England in the years immediately following the Norman Conquest of 1066 A.D.
The spelling of the family surname evolved during the 1500s and 1600s into GARNET and GARNETT and people bearing this surname are most abundant in the western shires of England---Lancashire, Westmorland, and Cheshire.
The first GARNETT to arrive in North America was Thomas GARNETT who arrived in the Virginia colony in the year 1610. But many GARNETTs also migrated to Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the British Empire. I have traced the genealogy of many of these family branches. If you are researching a particular family line of GARNETTs, send me some details and I will check my files for you.
International Garnett Family RegistryGarnett@one-name.org
or at: DGarn12940@aol.com