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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Jewish, Scottish-Alt, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Gordon family come from? What is the Scottish Gordon family crest and coat of arms? When did the Gordon family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Gordon family history?

The history of the Gordon family begins in the Boernician tribes of ancient Scotland. The Gordon family lived on the lands of Gordon, in the former county of Berwickshire, since ancient times. There is little doubt that bearers of Gordon came to Britiain with the Normans, and it is generally thought that they descend from the place named "Gourdon" in Saone-et-Loire, Normandy, but the oldest roots of the bearers of Gordon in Scotland may lie with the Boernician tribe of ancient Scotland. It is entirely possible that the Gordon surname was created from a pre-existing place name Gordon. It has been suggested that this place-name was originally derived from the Welsh (ancient Brithonic) words, gor and din, which mean "spacious" and "fort," and such, Gordon would be a type hereditary surname, known as a habitation name: one that is derived from a pre-exiting name for a town, village, parish, or farmstead.


Before the first dictionaries and printing presses went into use in the last few hundred years, spelling, particularly of names, was a largely intuitive matter. Consequently, many spelling variations occur in even the simplest names from the Middle Ages. Gordon has been spelled Gordon, Gordun, Gôrdon (Gaelic) and others.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where legend has it that they were granted lands by King Malcolm Ceanmore, successor to MacBeth, in 1057, thus placing bearers of the name in lowland Scotland, before the invasion of the Normans. The first Gordon on record was Richer de Gordum, lord of the Barony of Gordon in the Merse, who granted a piece of land and the church of St. Michael between the years 1150-1180, to the monks of Kelso. Adam Gordon acquired by Royal grant the lands of Coldstream on the River Tweed and his successors held these lands for many centuries.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gordon research. Another 405 words(29 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1449, 1594, 1619, 1761, 1402, 1470, 1439, 1501, 1498, 1501, 1514, 1562, 1546, 1610, 1644, 1609, 1679, 1637, 1720, 1632, 1665, 1635, 1697, 1651, 1652, 1652 and are included under the topic Early Gordon History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 439 words(31 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gordon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Gordon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 141 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The east coasts of the United States and Canada are still populated by many of the descendents of the Boernician-Scottish families who made that great crossing. They distributed themselves evenly when they first arrived, but at the time of the War of Independence those who remained loyal to England went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. This century, many of their ancestors have recovered their past heritage through highland games and other Scottish functions in North America. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that many immigrants bearing the name Gordon or a variant listed above:

Gordon Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Nicholas Gordon settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Edmond Gordon, aged 18, landed in New England in 1635
  • George Gordon settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Daniel Gordon, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651
  • Laughleth Gordon, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651

Gordon Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Ursillas Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Alexander Gordon, who landed in Maryland in 1716
  • Roderick Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1732
  • Adam Gordon, who arrived in America in 1734
  • Barbara Gordon, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746

Gordon Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Helen Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1800
  • Elizth Gordon, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Geo Gordon, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Thos Gordon, who landed in America in 1805
  • Wm, Gordon Jr., who landed in America in 1807

Gordon Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Cameron Gordon, who arrived in Arkansas in 1905
  • Robert Gordon, who landed in Alabama in 1917


  • John Brown Gordon (1832-1904), American public official and Confederate general
  • Ruth Gordon (1896-1985), American actress and playwright
  • Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon (b. 1971), American (NASCAR) auto racer
  • Dexter Keith Gordon (1923-1989), American jazz musician
  • Lieutenant Nathan Green Gordon (1916-2008), American lawyer, politician, and decorated naval aviator awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944 and 6th Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1947-1967)
  • Captain (USN, Ret.) Richard Francis Gordon Jr. (b. 1929), former NASA Astronaut with over 315 hours in space
  • James Beck "Jim" Gordon (b. 1945), American recording artist, musician and songwriter
  • Gale Gordon (1906-1995), American character actor perhaps best remembered as Lucille Ball's longtime television foil
  • Brigadier-General John Clarence Gordon (1906-1992), American Comptroller, Air Material Command (1947-1949)
  • Julia Swayne Gordon (1878-1933), American actress



  • A Genealogical Study of the William Gordon Family in Indiana by H.C. Gordod.
  • Gordon Kinship by Nancy S. McBride.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Bydand
Motto Translation: Remaining.


Gordon Clan Badge
Gordon Clan Badge

Buy JPG Image

A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...


Septs of the Distinguished Name Gordon
Achan, Achand, Achane, Achant, Achen, Achend, Achenson, Achensoun, Achent, Acherson, Achesolm, Achesom, Achesomb, Achesombe, Achesome, Acheson, Achesone, Achesoom, Achesoomb, Achesoombe, Achesoun, Achesown, Achesum, Achesume, Achesune, Achieson, Achine, Achink, Achinson, Achinsoun, Achinsoune, Achint, Achison, Achynd, Ackan, Ackand, Ackane, Acken, Ackend, Ackenson, Ackensoun, Ackent, Ackesolm, Ackesom, Ackesomb, Ackesombe, Ackesome, Ackeson, Ackesone, Ackesoom and more.


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  1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  5. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  8. Black, George F. The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3).
  9. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Gordon Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gordon Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 10 October 2014 at 23:10.

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