Well, I am a researcher, so I naturally desired to see what I could find in the wonderful world of the internet. Google “Perry” and you will find all sorts of ponderings on its origin and meaning. Here is a sampling:
Welsh shortening of “ap Herry” or “son of Harry or Henry”.
Middle English “perrie” denoting a dweller by the pear-tree.
Norman French “perrieur” referring to a quarryman.
Latin from the word “peregrine” meaning “wanderer/ traveler” or “foreigner/ stranger”.
Now I think the Welsh hypothesis seems the most likely, as it would fall into line with the “Anderson”, “Swanson”, and “Johnson” pattern, although, I suppose there are a “Cook”, “Baker”, and “Weaver” among us today, if in name only. However, I find the Latin proposition is perhaps the most intriguing. What does it mean to be defined as a “wanderer or traveler”, a “foreigner or stranger”? The first translation seems to imply movement, either haphazardly or in a particular direction. The latter focuses more on the “otherness”.
I am reminded of Hebrews 11:13-16:
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth…But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.”