Gamgee was an old Hobbit family of the Shire, originally from the village of Gamwich; Samwise Gamgee of the Fellowship of the Ring was this family's most famous member, and from him two further branches of the family, the Fairbairns and the Gardners, were descended.
The meaning of the name "Gamgee" in the Hobbits' archaic language is unknown. J.R.R. Tolkien's inspiration for the name, however, was that "gamgee" was a word for cotton wool during his childhood. In 1932, his family met a man in Cornwall, England, whom Tolkien named "Gaffer Gamgee". Prior to the writing of The Lord of the Rings, a character with this name appears once in Tolkien's tale Mr. Bliss. "The Gaffer" would later become the name of Samwise Gamgee's father, Hamfast.