Gretan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Gretan family
The surname Gretan was first found in Gourdon, an arrondissement of France before the Norman Conquest. One of the first records there was William de Gourdon who 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. "  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.  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."  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."  The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Bartholomew Gurdon in Norfolk; Thomas Gurdon in Oxfordshire; and Roger Gurdon in Cambridgeshire. 
Important Dates for the Gretan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gretan 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 Gretan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gretan Spelling Variations
The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Gretan has been recorded under many different variations, including Gurdon, Girdon, Gurton, Girton, Gerdon, Girtin, Gretton, Gritten and many more.
Early Notables of the Gretan 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 Gretan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gretan family
To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Gretans were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America: 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..
- ^ 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)
- ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
- ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)