Gordon History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Gordon family

The surname Gordon 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 earliest known home of the Scots family was in Berwickshire, and here we find a place name Gordon, from which the surname may have been derived. There was also a distinguished family named Gurdon in Hampshire, England, with whom it has been suggested they were connected. It has been further suggested that the Gordons were cadets of the Swintons as the coats of arms borne by the two families are the same. " [1]

"According to some genealogists this name is derived from Gordonia, a town in Macedonia; according to others from a manor in Normandy-origins literally too "far-fetched," since the parish of Gordon, in Berwickshire, where we find the family located at an early date, is its true source. " [2]

"There is a nice little romance to the tune of making the founder of the family a certain Bertrand de Gourdon, who shot Richard the Lion-Hearted at Chaluz. According to history, this Gourdon was a common archer, who having been brought before the dying monarch was forgiven by him, and ordered to be liberated with a handsome present; but the Flemish general, who had no notion of such generosity, very coolly ordered him to be flayed alive. How, after such an operation, he could get into Scotland we are not told." [2]

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. [1]

Adam Gordon acquired by Royal grant the lands of Coldstream on the River Tweed and his successors held these lands for many centuries.

Early History of the Gordon family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gordon research. Another 203 words (14 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 and printed products wherever possible.

Gordon Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Gordon family (pre 1700)

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 and was Lord of Badenoch, Gordon, Strathbogie & Cluny and his son George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly (died 1501) was a Scottish nobleman and Chancellor of Scotland from 1498-1501; George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly (1514-1562), Scottish nobleman, Lord High Chancellor in 1546 who led a revolt against Mary...
Another 129 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gordon Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gordon World Ranking

In the United States, the name Gordon is the 143rd most popular surname with an estimated 161,655 people with that name. [3] However, in Canada, the name Gordon is ranked the 163rd most popular surname with an estimated 21,279 people with that name. [4] And in Quebec, Canada, the name Gordon is the 945th popular surname. [5] Australia ranks Gordon as 115th with 23,346 people. [6] New Zealand ranks Gordon as 92nd with 4,177 people. [7] The United Kingdom ranks Gordon as 160th with 33,469 people. [8] South Africa ranks Gordon as 584th with 11,791 people. [9]

Ireland Migration of the Gordon family to Ireland

Some of the Gordon family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 77 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gordon migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 17th Century
  • Nicholas Gordon, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Edmond Gordon, aged 18, who landed in New England in 1635 [10]
  • George Gordon, who settled in Virginia in 1636
  • Daniel Gordon, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651 [10]
  • Laughleth Gordon, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gordon Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • William Gordon, who arrived in Virginia in 1702 [10]
  • John Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [10]
  • William Gordon, who arrived in North Carolina in 1707 [10]
  • William Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [10]
  • John Gordon, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gordon Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Helen Gordon, who landed in Virginia in 1800 [10]
  • John Gordon, who arrived in Virginia in 1800 [10]
  • Thomas Gordon, who arrived in South Carolina in 1800 [10]
  • Helen Gordon, who landed in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1800 [10]
  • Thomas Gordon, aged 28, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gordon Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Cameron Gordon, who arrived in Arkansas in 1905 [10]
  • Robert Gordon, who landed in Alabama in 1917 [10]

Canada Gordon migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Gordon Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Barnard Gordon, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Geo Gordon, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Gordon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • John Gordon, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • John Gordon, who landed in New Brunswick in 1783
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gordon Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Isabella Gordon, aged 6, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • Donald Gordon, aged 40, a farmer, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • Christian Gordon, aged 31, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • Henry Gordon, aged 5, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • James Gordon, aged 3, who arrived in Pictou, Nova Scotia aboard the ship "Commerce" in 1803
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Gordon migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Gordon Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Margaret Gordon, English convict who was convicted in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Broxbournebury" in January 1814, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Robert Gordon, British Convict who was convicted in Sussex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 27th October 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [12]
  • Mr. Thomas Gordon, (Thompson), (b. 1775), aged 45, Irish seaman who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for forgery, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • James Gordon, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [14]
  • Robert Gordon, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on May 17, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [15]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Gordon migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Gordon Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Bernard Gordon, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • John Gordon, who landed in Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • W Gordon, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Mr Gordon, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Harrington
  • Mr. Gordon, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harrington" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 15th June 1841 [16]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Gordon migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [17]
Gordon Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • William Gordon, who landed in Barbados in 1699 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gordon (post 1700) +

  • Larry Gordon (1945-2021), American singer, multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer and conductor, based in Marshfield, Vermont
  • Noah Gordon (1926-2021), American novelist, born in Worcester, Massachusetts; his debut novel, The Rabbi spent 26 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list in 1965
  • Charles Gordon (1947-2020), American Academy Award nominated film producer, known for Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Field of Dreams and many more
  • Lorraine Gordon (1922-2018), née Stein, an American jazz music advocate, owner of the Village Vanguard jazz club in Greenwich Village, New York City
  • Captain Richard Francis Gordon Jr. (1929-2017), American NASA Astronaut with over 315 hours in space, one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, as the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 12 mission [18]
  • Jeffery Michael "Jeff" Gordon (b. 1971), American (NASCAR) auto racer who won 93 NASCAR Cup Series races
  • Paul Christian Gordon (1963-2016), American musician, composer, and producer, member of New Radicals and the keyboardist for the B-52's from 2007 to his death
  • Gale Gordon (1906-1995), born Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr., American character actor perhaps best remembered as Lucille Ball's longtime television foil [19]
  • James Power Gordon (1928-2013), American physicist
  • Julia Swayne Gordon (1878-1933), American actress
  • ... (Another 30 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leslie S Gordon (b. 1909), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Gosport, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [20]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. James Gordon, British Boy, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [21]
  • Mr. James Gordon, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [21]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Reginald Gordon, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [22]
  • Mr. Gordon, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [22]
  • Mr. Isaac Alfred Gordon, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [22]
Pan Am Flight 103 (Lockerbie)
  • Olive Leonora Gordon (1963-1988), English Passenger from London, England, who flew aboard the Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit, known as the Lockerbie bombing in 1988 and died [23]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. George Gordon, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [24]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. J. Gordon (d. 1912), aged 29, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [25]
  • Lucy Christiana Duff Gordon, aged 48, English First Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 1 [25]
  • Sir Cosmo Edmund Duff Gordon, aged 49, English First Class passenger from London, England who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 1 [25]
Triangle Waist Company
  • Mr. Abe Gordon, American worker who was at Triangle Waist Company factory at the Asch building in Greenwich Village on the 25th March 1911 when fire broke out; he survived the fire [26]
  • Miss Annie Gordon, American worker who was at Triangle Waist Company factory at the Asch building in Greenwich Village on the 25th March 1911 when fire broke out; she survived the fire [26]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Donald E. Gordon, American Gunner's Mate Second Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [27]
  • Mr. Peter Charles Gordon Jr., American Fireman First Class from Colorado, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [27]


The Gordon Motto +

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.


Suggested Readings for the name Gordon +

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

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  5. ^ https://statistique.quebec.ca/fr/document/noms-de-famille-au-quebec/tableau/les-1-000-premiers-noms-de-famille-selon-le-rang-quebec
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  8. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  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. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/broxbournebury
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th March 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/coromandel
  13. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dorothy
  14. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  15. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Albion voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/albion/1823
  16. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  17. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  18. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Richard Gordon. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/gordon-rf.html
  19. ^ Gale Gordon. (Retrieved 2011, April 19) Gale Gordon. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gale_Gordon
  20. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  21. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  22. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  23. ^ Pan Am Flight 103's victims: A list of those killed 25 years ago | syracuse.com. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2013/12/pan_am_flight_103s_victims_a_list_of_those_killed_25_years_ago.html
  24. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  25. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  26. ^ Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (retrieved on 3rd August 2021.) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire
  27. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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