Gorton History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Gorton family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in the region of Gorton, a district in Manchester in Lancashire. [1] The name is a habitational name that was derived from the Old English word gor meaning "dirt" and tun meaning "enclosure." [2]

Early Origins of the Gorton family

The surname Gorton was first found in Greater Manchester at Gorton, a chapelry, in the union of Chorlton, hundred of Salford, historically part of Lancashire. [3] The first record of the family was found in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire in 1332 where Thomas de Gorton held lands at that time. [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, the family could have originated in the old barony of Gorton in Midlothian where Edward de Couertone (for Gouertone) was a king's tenant in Edinburghshire. He rendered homage to King Edward I in 1296. Later, Mergaret de Gouiertoun held the lands of Gouiertoun in Loudonia in the reign of David II. [5]

Early History of the Gorton family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gorton research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1592, 1677 and 1636 are included under the topic Early Gorton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gorton Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Gorton include Gorton, Gorten, Gortin and others.

Early Notables of the Gorton family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include Sir Thomas Gorton of Gorton; Samuel Gorton (1592-1677), English sectary and founder of the American sect of Gortonites which survived until the end of the 18th century. He was " 'born and bred' at Gorton, Lancashire, as also were the 'fathers of his body for many generations.' He came of a good family, and says that his wife 'had bin as tenderly brought up as was any man's wife then in that towne'. He probably knew the Bible by...
Another 87 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gorton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Gorton migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Gorton or a variant listed above:

Gorton Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Samuel Gorton, who settled in Boston in 1630
  • Steven Gorton, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Steven Gorton, aged 35, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [6]
  • John Gorton, who arrived in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1636 [6]
  • Samuel Gorton, who landed in New England in 1636 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Gorton Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • A. Gorton, who settled in Baltimore in 1820

Australia Gorton migration to Australia +

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

Gorton Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Gorton, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Margaret Gorton, who arrived in Kangaroo Island aboard the ship "Buffalo" in 1836 [8]
  • Thomas Gorton, who arrived in Sydney aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1849 [9]
  • Alfred Gorton, who arrived in Sydney aboard the ship "Madawaska" in 1849 [9]

New Zealand Gorton 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:

Gorton Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Gorton, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Cashmere" in 1853
  • Captain Gorton, British settler, from the 57th Regiment, travelling from London aboard the ship "Mersey" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th June 1861 [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Gorton (post 1700) +

  • Nathaniel Matheson Gorton (b. 1938), American jurist, Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (1992-)
  • Frank H. Gorton (1876-1939), American football, basketball, baseball, and track and field coach
  • Gary Bernard Gorton (b. 1951), American economist, Frederick Frank Class of 1954 Professor of Finance at Yale School of Management
  • Jeff Gorton (b. 1968), American General Manager of the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League
  • Mark Gorton, American creator of LimeWire, chief executive of the Lime Group
  • Thomas Slade III Gorton (b. 1928), American Republican politician, Member of Washington State House of Representatives, 1959-69; Washington State Attorney General, 1969-81; U.S. Senator from Washington, 1981-87, 1989-2001 [11]
  • Rex H. Gorton, American politician, Supervisor of Marion Township, Michigan, 1916 [11]
  • Othniel Gorton, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1779-80, 1786-87, 1788 [11]
  • Murle E. Gorton (1902-1975), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1952, 1956; Democratic Candidate for U.S. Representative from Michigan 4th District, 1952, 1954 [11]
  • Job Gorton, American politician, Supervisor of Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, 1835-36 [11]
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York, Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ 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)
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  8. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) HMS BUFFALO 1836. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1836Buffalo.htm
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) "MADAWASKA" 1849. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1849Madawaska.htm
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 23) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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