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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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.


The surname Gorden was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Sir Adam de Gordon, Lord of Gordon (died 1402), 14th-century Scottish baron; Alexander Seton, 1st Earl of Huntly (died 1470) when he succeeded his father as Lord Gordon he began using his mother's family name of Gordon, was knighted in 1439...

Another 179 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gorden Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


After making their great crossing, many Boernician-Scottish families settled along the east coast of North Ameri ca. 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

  • Steve Van Gorden, American politician, Mayor of Zephyrhills, Florida, 2012
  • Charles Van Gorden, American politician, Representative from New York 36th District, 1934
  • 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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    Other References

    1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    4. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
    5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    7. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
    8. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
    9. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
    10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1970. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
    11. ...

    The Gorden Family Crest was acquired from the 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 8 October 2015 at 11:23.

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