Gerdan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Gerdan is an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Gerdan family lived in "the Seigneurie of Gurdon near Cahors, on the border of Perigord: a Gothic race, very early seated in Hampshire. Adam de Gurdon 'the Kings Servant,' received from Coeur de Lion half a knight's fee in Selborne and Ostede, and a grant of the lordship of Tisted from his successor. Henry III gave by charter 'free chase of hares and foxes in and without the forest,' to another Adam de Gurdon. " [1]

Early Origins of the Gerdan family

The surname Gerdan was first found in Gourdon, an arrondissement of France before the Norman Conquest. [2]

"The Seigneurie of Gourdon near Cahors, on the borders of Perigord, was the patrimony of this Norman adventurer. His descendant, Sir Adam de Gurdon, Knt., living temp. Henry III., was in that monarch's reign Bailiff of Alton: but joining the Mountford faction, he suffered outlawry, which was not removed until the following reign, when Sir Adam received the custody of the forest of Wolmer. From this celebrated knight, whose lands at Selborne, Hants, known still as Gurdon manor, belong to Magdalen College, Oxford, sprang the Gurdons of Assington co. Suffolk, and the Gurdons of Letton, co. Norfolk. " [3]

William de Gourdon founded Gourdon Abbey in 1240. After the Conquest, "Aimeric de Gourdon, 13th century was a benefactor to the church, and had grants from King John in England. In 1231 Henry III. granted to Ralph Mareschal part of the estate of Sir Adam de Gourdon (d. 1305.) " [2]

While we could find no villages named Gourdon in Britain, one may presume that Girton in Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire would be the likely related villages. Girton Cambridgeshire dates back to c. 1060 when it was listed as Grittone and a few years later is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Gretone. [4]

Girton, Nottinghamshire similarly dates back to the Domesday Book with the same spelling. Both literally mean "farmstead or village on gravelly ground," from the Old English words "greot" + "tun." [5]

Girton College of the University of Cambridge derives its name from the nearby village. One branch of the family held a family seat at Assington in Suffolk since early times. "Assington Hall was purchased by Robert Gurdon, in the reign of Henry VIII., from Sir Piers Corbet, and has ever since been the residence of that family." [6]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Bartholomew Gurdon in Norfolk; Thomas Gurdon in Oxfordshire; and Roger Gurdon in Cambridgeshire. [7]

Early History of the Gerdan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gerdan research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1455, 1487, 1544, 1623, 1571, 1649, 1621, 1622, 1595, 1679, 1640, 1660, 1606 and 1669 are included under the topic Early Gerdan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gerdan Spelling Variations

A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Gurdon, Girdon, Gurton, Girton, Gerdon, Girtin, Gretton, Gritten and many more.

Early Notables of the Gerdan family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Gurdon (c. 1544-1623), an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1571; Brampton Gurdon (died 1649), an English country gentleman and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1621 to...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gerdan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Gerdan family

Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Gerdan or a variant listed above: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..



  1. ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3
  2. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  5. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  6. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  7. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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