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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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

The ancestors of the name Gorden stretch back to a family in the Boernician tribe of ancient Scotland. They lived on the lands of Gordon, in the former county of Berwickshire, since ancient times. There is little doubt that bearers of Gorden 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 Gorden in Scotland may lie with the Boernician tribe of ancient Scotland. It is entirely possible that the Gorden 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, Gorden 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.


Spelling rules only evolved in the last few centuries with the invention of the printing press and the first dictionaries. Spelling variations are extremely common in names from before that period. Gorden 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 Gorden 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 Gorden History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Gorden 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.


After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North America. When the War of Independence broke out, United Empire Loyalists moved north to Canada while the rest stayed to fight. The ancestors of many of these Scots still populate the continent. This century, through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations, they began to rediscover their collective national heritage. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Gorden or a variant listed above:

Gorden Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Edmond Gorden, aged 18, landed in New England in 1635
  • George Gorden, who arrived in Virginia in 1649
  • Daniel Gorden, who landed in New England in 1651-1652
  • Dan Gorden, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1652
  • James Gorden, who arrived in America in 1652

Gorden Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Gorden, who arrived in Maryland in 1716

Gorden Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Gorden, who arrived in South Carolina in 1810
  • Alen Gorden, aged 29, landed in Maryland in 1812
  • John Gorden, aged 28, landed in New York, NY in 1850
  • Michael Gorden, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1872
  • Peter Gorden, who landed in Washington County, Pennsylvania in 1886

Gorden Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • H Gorden, who landed in Mississippi in 1900

Gorden Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Danl Gorden, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749

Gorden Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Gorden arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Cressy" in 1847


  • William C. Gorden (b. 1930), former American football player and coach


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.


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  1. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  3. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  4. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  5. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  11. ...

The Gorden Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gorden 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 5 November 2013 at 12:39.

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