Show ContentsBourdon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Bourdon reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Bourdon family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Bourdon is based on the Norman personal name Burdo, which is thought to be of Germanic origin.

Alternatively, the name was derived from a "bourdon, a palmer's staff, which, with his scrip, always received a solemn benediction from the priest before he set out on his journey." [1]

"This name, no doubt given or assumed in memory of some pilgrimage, was common both in Normandy and England. During the latter half of the twelfth century it occurs several times in the Exchequer Rolls of the Duchy; and William Burdon, according to Duchesne, held of the Honour of Grentemesnil. Four Bourdons-Bourdon de Gramont du Lys, Bourdon du Lys, Bourdon du Quesnay, and Bourdon de Pommeret-were present in the Assembly of the Norman nobles in 1789." [2]

In the co. Durham we find the family seated very soon after the Conquest. Roger Burdon witnesses a deed in Bishop Flambard's time (1099-1133); and Elfer and Amfrid de Birdan appear in the Domesday of the North, the "Bolden Buke" compiled between 1153 and 1194. The name is retained by two villages in the Parish of Bishop-Wearmouth, East and West Burdon (otherwise Old Burdon and Towne Burdon), and was frequent in the county. In 1320 Hugh Burdon of Ivesley-Burdon left Agnes his daughter and heir. [2]

The family is found in many different parts of the country. Arnulph Burdon held a mansion in Winchester, 1148 (Winton Domesday): and Robert Burdon was Lord of Kingsteignton, Devon, temp. Richard I. (Pole's Devon). Burdon, near High Hampton, retains the name in the county. Robert Burdon was of Yorkshire, in 1255 (Roberts, Excerpta): and at about the same date, or a little later, Roger Burdon of Burdon's Hall, Boscomb, occurs in Wiltshire. [2]

Early Origins of the Bourdon family

The surname Bourdon was first found in Essex where they were granted lands by King William the Conqueror for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings. Baron Burden appears in the Role of Battel Abbey and the Domesday Book as holding lands held by the Count of Mortain and leased to Richard de Surdeval.

Burdon and Great Burdon are townships in Durham. "The ancient family of Burdon, of knightly dignity, derived their name from this place; which also gave name to a local family, who, however, never passed the rank of yeomanry." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included a variety of early spellings for the family: Nicholas de Burdon, Wiltshire; Lucya de Burdune, Devon; and Thomas Burdon, Yorkshire. [4]

Other early rolls list Ralph Burdun in Norfolf (1128-1129) and Ilger Burdun in the Pipe Rolls for Yorkshire in 1166. Arnulf Burdin was found in Winton, Hampshire in 1115 and Bruni Burdin was listed in the Pipe Rolls for Berkshire in 1180. Nicholas Burbein or Burdon was found in Warwickshire in 1242. [5]

Up in Scotland, the name was "probably from the place now called Burdon in the county of Durham, where a family of the name are found shortly after the Norman Conquest. Thomas Burdun witnessed a charter by Ebrardus de Penkathleht to the church of St. Cuthbert of Durham in the reign of William the Lion. William de Bourdon witnessed a charter of Alexander 11 to Hugh de Abernethy, c. 1245. de Burdon witnessed a charter of Sir Ralph Noble of half the lands of Kenpunt to David Graham. Sir William Burdone swore fealty in 1291, and in 1296 Rogier de Burghdone of Blakeder in Berwickshire and Wautier de Burghdone of Roxburghshire rendered homage. The seal of the latter bears the legend S' Walteri de Bvrdvn." [6]

Early History of the Bourdon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bourdon research. Another 341 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1115, 1128, 1166, 1180, 1217, 1467, 1497, 1758, 1273, 1273, 1597, 1797, 1808, 1337, 1357, 1574, 1817, 1764, 1818, 1782, 1786, 1788, 1798, 1818 and 1806 are included under the topic Early Bourdon History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bourdon Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Bourdon has been recorded under many different variations, including Burdon, Burden, Bourden, Bourdon, Birden, Berden, Burdin, Burdin, Burdun, Burdon, Burdune, Burghdone, Burdoun and many more.

Early Notables of the Bourdon family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Burdon (1764-1818), English miscellaneous writer, born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was educated at the free grammar school there, proceeded to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, in 1782, and graduated B.A. 1786, and M.A. 1788, when he was elected a fellow of his college. He resigned his fellowship eight years later, on declining to take holy orders. He...
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bourdon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bourdon World Ranking

In the United States, the name Bourdon is the 10,256th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [7] However, in Quebec, Canada, the name Bourdon is ranked the 681st most popular surname. [8] And in France, the name Bourdon is the 282nd popular surname with an estimated 13,956 people with that name. [9]

Ireland Migration of the Bourdon family to Ireland

Some of the Bourdon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 69 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bourdon migration to the United States +

To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Bourdons were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Bourdon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacques Bourdon, who arrived in Louisiana in 1755
Bourdon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Troussaent Bourdon, who arrived in Savannah, Georgia in 1822
  • Troussaent Bourdon, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1822 [10]
  • J Bourdon, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [10]
  • Mrs. Bourdon, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [10]

Canada Bourdon migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Bourdon Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century
  • Jean Bourdon married Jacqueling Potel in Quebec on 9th September 1635 [11]
  • Jean Bourdon married Anne Gasnier in Quebec on 21st August 1655 [11]
  • Jacques Bourdon, son of Jean and Marguerite, who married Marie Ménard, daughter of Jacques and Catherine, in Boucherville, Quebec on 8th February 1672 [11]
Bourdon Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • César-Marin Bourdon, son of Jacques and Marie, who married Anne Charles, daughter of Etienne and Madeleine, in Boucherville, Quebec on 23rd December 1709 [11]
  • Ignace Bourdon, son of Jacques and Marie, who married Jeanne Charles, daughter of Etienne and Madeleine, in Longueuil, Quebec on 13th April 1711 [11]
  • Pierre Bourdon, son of Jacques and Marie, who married Marie-Anne Gouyou, daughter of Guillaume and Hélène, in La Prairie, Quebec on 15th January 1711 [11]
  • Joseph-François Bourdon, son of Jacques and Marie, who married Jeanne Blau, daughter of François and Catherine, in Montreal, Quebec on 28th November 1719 [11]
  • Joseph Bourdon, son of Pierre and Marie-Anne, who married Marie Bourdeau, daughter of Jean and Élisabeth, in Longueuil, Quebec on 26th September 1722 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Bourdon (post 1700) +

  • William R. Bourdon (1894-1973), American Republican politician, Member of Arizona State House of Representatives, 1937-40; Member of Arizona State Senate, 1955-58; Presidential Elector for Arizona, 1968 [12]
  • Eli Bourdon, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from New Hampshire 2nd District, 1928, 1932 [12]
  • Earl Bourdon (1917-1993), American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Hampshire, 1980 [12]
  • Allen Bourdon, American politician, Candidate for Vermont State Attorney General, 1914 [12]
  • Amé Bourdon (1636-1706), French physician and anatomist
  • Joseph Charles Rosario Bourdon D.Mus. (1885-1961), French Canadian cellist, violinist, conductor and arranger
  • Didier Bourdon (b. 1959), French Algeria-born actor, screenwriter and film director
  • Francois Louis Bourdon (1758-1798), French politician of the Revolutionary period
  • Sébastien Bourdon (1616-1671), French painter and engraver
  • Luc Bourdon (1987-2008), Canadian professional NHL ice hockey defenceman who played for the Vancouver Canucks and Team Canada
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 1 of 3
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. 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)
  7. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  8. "The first 1,000 family names by rank, Quebec (in French only)" Institut de la statistique du Quebec,
  10. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  11. Internoscia, Arthur E., and Claire Chevrier. Dictionnaire National des Canadiens Français 1608-1760. Vol. 1, Institut Drouin, 1958.
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from on Facebook