Gordon Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
The last name Gordon has several origin theories. First, in Scotland, it is a habitational surname denoting a person who was from a locale name Gordon in Berwickshire named from the Welsh gor (spacious) and din (fort), and has its roots in the ancient Boernician tribes that lived in Scotland. Second, in England, it is habitational name referring to a person from Gourdon in Saone-et-Loire, France, a town name derived from the Gallo-Roman personal name Gordus, a name that made its way into England during and after the Norman Invasion of 1066 AD. Third, in Ireland, the name was an Anglicized version of the Gaelic MagMhuirneachain, a patronymic/baptismal surname deriving from the personal (first) name Muirneachan, a diminutive of muirneach, meaning “beloved”. Fourth, Jewish people also bear this name, which may have been a habitational name for a person from the city of Grodno in Russian Poland or Belarus, as the Russian word gorod means town, and a son of the Duke of Gordon converted to Judaism in the 1700s AD, who may be the progenitor of the Jewish branch of this family.
One author notes the name could be a variant of the Biblical river of Jordan in the Holy Land or Middle East, which was introduced into England by the Christian Order known as Gordano, which came from Italy. Another theory is that the name ultimately derives from Gordonia, a town in Macedonia or Thessaly, which is considered by most to be fat fetched. Yet another theory menions they descened from a man named Gorduni who was mentioned by Caesar in his Commentaries. One author states it means the “the round hill”, and also notes the meaning of the following words: the Gaelic gurtduine meaning “fierce man”, the Welsh gwrddyn meaning “a strong man”, and cawrdyn, meaning “hero” or “giant”.
One story states the progenitor or ancestor of the family was Bertrand de Goudon, an archer who shot King Richard Lionheart at Chaluz, a castle on the border of Aquatine and France in 1199 AD, who “was brought before the dying monarch and forgiven by him, and ordered to be liberated with a handsome present, but the Flemish general, who had no notion of such generosity, very cooly ordered him to be flayed alive. How, after such an operation he could get into Scotland, we are not told.
According to legend, the Gordon family was granted lands by King Malcolm Ceanmore in 1057 AD. The first bearer recorded in history was, Richer de Gordun, lord of the barony of Gordon in the Merse, who between 1150-1160 AD, was granted a piece of land and the church of St. Michael to the monks of Kelso, a grant confirmed by his son, Thomas de Gordun. Richer was documented in the Records of St. Michael’s Church. A one Adam de Gurdun was documented in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire in 1204 AD and is thought to have come from the Norman town mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Geoffrey Gurdun was documented in the Curia Rolls of Kent in 1220 AD. Adam Gordon was listed in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, England in 1279 AD. An early baptism involving this name was Richard Gorden at St. James Clerkenwell in London in 1665 AD.
Adam de Gordon was born in France around 1045 AD. His son was Sir Adam de Gordon, the 1st Laird of Gordon who was born in England around 1090 AD. He had issue named Richard (2nd Laird), Adam, Robert, and Bertram.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Gordun, Gorden, Gourdon, Gordone,Gordonn, and Gorodon.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Gordon ranks 151st in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following five states: Florida, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut.
The surname Gordon frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (153rd), Scotland (56th), Wales (314th), Ireland (593rd) and Northern Ireland (121st). In England, it ranks highest in counties Northumberland and Durham. In Scotland, the surname Gordon ranks highest in Kirkcudbrightshire, Aberdeenshire, Moray, and Banffshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Flintshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Roscommon. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Down.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (157th), New Zealand (93rd), Australia (124th), and South Africa (271st).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “The early Gordons took their name from the parish of Gordon in Berwickshire, in which they were seated…Fairly distributed, but most numerous north of the Forth and the Clyde”.
Clan Gordon, or the House of Gordon, is a Scottish Clan, that originated with Richard of Gordon, previously of Winton, who was the grandson of a knight who slew the animal in the Merse during the reign of King Malcom III of Scotland, and he was the Lord of the Barony of Gordon in the Merse. They are a Highland clan whose slogan is An Gordonach. They are seated at Aboyne Castle and historically were seated at Huntly Castle. At other times they owned the following castles: Abergeldie, Gordon, Rothiemay, Glenbuchat, Fyvie, Kensure, Haddo House, Auchindoun, and Gight Castle. The clan chief was Earl of Huntly, and now the Maquess of Huntly. They were known as the Gay (or Gey) Gordons.
Gordon Family Tree & Gordon Genealogy
Gordon of Abergeldie
Hugh Mackay Gordon was an Esquire of Abergeldie Castle, county Aberdeen who was born in 1826 and succeeded his uncle in 1869. In 1859, he married Susan Amelia, daughter of Charles Hewit Sams of Lee, Kent. The lineage of this family traces back to Sir Alexander Gordon, the 1st Earl of Huntly, who granted by deed all his lands, formerly part of the Barony of Mygmar/Mindmar and Tulch to his second son. His son later gained lands by royal grant in Abergeldie, and he married Janey, daughter and co-heir of George Leith of Barnis, and he had a son and heir was with her named Alexander. This Alexander, Esquire of Abergeldie, married Janet, daughter of Alexander Irvine, and had a son with her named William. William Gordon married Frances, daughter of Andrew, Lord Gray, who died in 1514 and was succeeded by his son, Alexander. Alexander married Catherine, daughter of Sir William Nicholson, Baronet of Carnock, and had a son and heir with her, also named Alexander. This Alexander, Esquire of Abergeldie married Euphemia, daughter of Robert Graham of Morphy, and had a son named John and a daughter named Rachel. John died without issue and the family estate devolved to his suyster, Rachel Gordon, who married Captain Charles Gordon, son of Peter of Minmore, and had a son and successor with her name Peter. Peter married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Leith of Freefield. The Gordon Coat of Arms (sometimes erroneously called the Gordon Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Quarterly 1st, azure, three boars’ heads couped or; 2nd, or, three lions erased gules; 3rd, or, three crescents gules within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second, 4th, azure, three cinquefoils argent the whole within a border quarterly, argent and gules. Crest: A deer hound argent collared gules. Motto: God with us. They were seated at Abergeldie, Ballater, county Aberdeen, Scotland.
Gordon of Avochie
Adam Hay-Gordon was an Esquire of Avoichie, county Aberdeen and Mayen House county Banff, who was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant, born in 1846. In 1873, he married Helen Frances, daughter of Francis Anstruther Elphinstone Dalrymple. The lineage of this line begins with Sir Edmund Hay on Linplum, the progenitor of the Hays of Rannes, and was the son of William Hay or Yester, who married Alicia, daughter of Thomas Hay or Errol, and had issue. It also begins with William Gordon, who possesses the estate of Avochie by charter dated 8 January 1525. He was succeeded by his son James, who obtained a charter of the estate in 1529. James In turn was succeeded by his son, John Gordon. The coat of arms (mistakenly called the Gordon Family Shield) for this branch of the Gordon family tree is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Quarterly : 1st grand quarter, azure, on a chevron between three boars’ heads couped or, a hand grasping a sheaf of arrows proper, for Gordon ; 2nd grand quarter, counter quartered; 1st and 4th, argent, three inescutcheons gules; 2nd and 3rd, azure, three cinquefoils argent over all in surtout a crescent gules all within a bordure of the last, for Hay. Crest—A stag’s head cabossed within two branches of laurel conjoined at the top, all proper, for Gordon ; and a goat trippant proper, for Hay. They were seated at Mayen House, Huntly.
Gordon of Manar
The Gordon genealogy begins with Hugh Gordon, a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant who purchased Badifurrow (now called Manar) and the estate of Cairnbanno who was born in 1767. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Forbes of Echt and Springhill, and had issue with her as follows: James (his heir), Hugh (married Mary MacArthur), William, Elizabeth (married Captain W.A. Skene of Lethenty), Jane (married Captain James Hunter of Seaside), Robina (married Major Brickenden), and Anne (married Harry Lumsden of Auchindoir). His eldest son James was an Esquire of Manar who succeeded his father in 1834. He married Elizabeth Cruger, eldest daughter of William Lumsden of Clova and Auchindoir, and had four sons and five daughters with her: Hugh (Lieutenant of the 90th Light Infantry), William, James, Henry, Catherine, Anne, Mary, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Alice. His son Henry Gordon was an Esquire of Manar, Aberdeen who was born in 1848. He was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and served in the 92nd Gordon Highlanders and Rifle Brigade. In 1874, he married Ellen, daughter of Sir Charles Hall, and had a daughter with her named Elizabeth Cruger in 1865. The Gordon Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Gordon Family Crest) is blazoned in the European art of heraldry as follows: Azure, a fess chequy argent and of the field between three boars’ head proper. Crest: A stag’s head couped proper. Motto: Bydand. They were seated at Manar, by Inverurie, Aberdeen, Scotland (currently part of the United Kingdom).
Gordon of Cairnfield
The ancestry of this branch of the Gordon family tree begins with Robert Gordon, Esquire of Lunan, who married a daughter of Gordon of Dykeside, county Moray, and was the father of Alexander Gordon. Alexander married Elizabeth, daughter of Gordon of Cairnfield, and had three daughters with her, the odlest of which married Gordon of Buckie. He later married Jane, daughter of Gordon of Sillagreen, and had two wons with her: John and James (of Roseburn). His son John Gordon, Esquire, in 1761, married Mary, daughter of George Steuart of Tannochy, and had issue with her as follows: Adam (of Arradoul and Cairnfield), Jane (married James Duff of the Island of Madeira), and Elizabeth. His son and heir was Adam Gordon, who was born in 1773 and was a Deputy Lieutenant. In 1799, he married Elizabeth, daughter of Patrick Cruickshank, and had issue with her as follows: John, Patrick (Lieutenant Colonel and Brigadier at Dinapoor, Bengal, married Charlotte Mary Mathers), George (merchant in the United States, married Mary Stanley of North Carolina), James Gordon Duff (Lietenant Colonel, Bengal, married Harriet Steuart), Jane, Elizabeth Marjiry (married Reverend Edward Lillingston of Edgebaston), Margaret Helen, Emma, and Harriet (married William Terry of Midnapore India). His son John Gordon, Esquire of Cairnfield, county Banff, Scotland, was born in 1805 and was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. In 1851, he married Margaret, daughter of George Wright, and had six issue with her: Adam Steuart, John Patrick, James Gordon Duff, Patrick, Alexander, and Elizabeth Patricia Catherine. The Gordon Coat of Arms (mistakenly called the Gordon Family Crest) has the following heraldic blazon: Azure, a pheon between three boars’ heads erased or. Crest: A boar’s head erased or. Mottoes: Above the crest Ryd, under the arms, Dum vigilo tutus. They were seated at Cairnfield, Fochabears and Arradoul, county Banff.
Gordon of Wardhouse and Kildrummy
This branch of the family tree descends from the Earls of Huntly, through Elizabeth Gordon, who around 1408, married Alexander, son of William of Winton. Their eldest son assumed the name of Gordon and was created Earl of Huntley. He had three sons. His successor was Adam Gordon, who in turn had three sons. His second son was George Gordon of Rothie who married Janet Ross who brought the lands of Beldorney into the family. Several generations down the lineage came John David Gordon, Esquire of Wardhouse and Kildrummy, who in 1805, married Maria del Carmen Beigbeder of Jerez de la frontera in Spain, and had issue with her: Pedro Carlos (married Rosa Elena Prendergast), Carlos Pedro (his successor), Juan Jose (married Teresa de Mirasol), Alexander (married Maria Josefa, daughter of Don Fermin Daz), Luis (married Petra Davila, daughter of Marques de Villamarta), Maria de la Concepcion, and Josefa (married Don Francisco Ponce de Lion, Marquess del Castillo del Valle de Signena). His son Carlos Pedro Gordon was an Esquire of Wardhouse and Kildrummy, county Aberdeen, Scotland who was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, Knight of St. John of Jerusalem, and Consult at Jerez de la frontera in Spain, who was born in 1814. In 1838, he married Elena Maria, daughter of Joseph Pendergast of Cadiz and Christinia Gordon, and had ten issue with her as follows: Carlos Pedro (married Rosa de Mirasol, had issue), Arthur Leon, Reverend Pedro Charles, Joseph Maria (Lieutenant in the Royal Army), Maria del Carmer (married Captain Rivero of the Spanish Navy, Cristina (married Juan Oronez), Rosa Eduarda, Elena Maria (married Miguel Lafuente), Marie Magdalena (married Hugh Gordon Lumsden of Auchindour and Clova), and Ursula Maria. The Gordon Arms are blazoned as follows: Quarterly: 1st and 4th, azure, a lion rampant argent between three boars’ heads couped or; 2nd and 3rd, azure, three boars’ heads erased argent, a border of the last. Crest: A cross crosslet fitchee gules. Motto: In hoc spes mea. The family was seated at Wardhouse, Tusch, county Aberdeen.
Gordon of Cluny
John Gordon was an Esquire of Cluny Castle, county Aberdeen, and of Belchester House who was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant, as well as the Lord of the Manor of Cluny. He was born in 1822, and in 1865, he married Emily E. Steel Pringle, daughter of John Robert Pringle, Esq. In 1858, he succeeded the land and property of Colonel John Gordon of Cluny, a Member of Parliament for Weymouth. He died in 1878. The coat of arms for this branch of the family is blazoned as follows: Azure, three boars’ heads couped or, a border chequey, of the first and last. Crest: A spreading oak tree gules. Motto: Sub tegmine.
Gordon of Culvennan
This is a branch of the noble house of Kenmure and Lochinvar, which traces its ancestry back to Richard de Gordoun in 1120 AD and from Sir Adam de Gordounn, who lived during the time of Robert the Bruice. Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, who died in 1517, who was 5th in descent from Sir Adam, and left two sons: Robert and William. William was his successor, and William died in 1570. William was succeeded by his son John. This son was John Gordon of Craichlaw, whose name was attached to the bond by the Scottish nobility, and who died in 1580, leaving a son named William. William Gordon of Craichlaw purchased the estate of Culvennan. He died in 1636, and was succeeded by his son, Alexander Gordon. Alexander died in 1679 and was succeeded by his son William. William died in 1703 and was succeeded by his son, also named William. After this came Sir Alexander Gordon of Culvennan, Lieutenant Colonel of the Kirkcudbrightshire local militia, and successively Sheriff of counties Wigton and Kirkcudbright. He was knighted in 1800 and in 1769, married Grace, sister of Sir John Dalrymple Hay. He had issue and was succeeded by his eldest son James. James was an Esquire of Culvennan who was a Deputy Lieutenant and Commandant Kirkcudbright Yeomanry Cavalry. He was born in 1771 and in 1816 he Janet, daughter and co-heir of Johnstone Hannay of Balcary, and died in 1843 without issue. He was succeeded by his nephew William. William was a Justice of the Peace who was born in 1800 and in 1825, he married his cousin-german, Agnes Marion, daughter of John Hyslop of Lochend, and fathered five children with her: David Alexander, John Hyslop (married Margaret Napier), James, Margaret, and Agnes Marion (married Benjamin Hardwick). His son David Alexander Gordon was an Esquire of Culvennan, county Kircudbright, a Justice of the Peace and offer in the Rifle Brigade, and was born in 1828 In 1855, he married Jane Lawrie, daughter of Allan Bell of Hillowton, and he had six issue with her: William Ainslie (1855), Allan David (1857), Lochinvar Alexander Charles (1864), Claud Augustus Rutherford (1867), Grace Marion, and Beatrice Isobel Hilda. He is the 18th in direct male descent from Sir Adam de Gordon of Lochinvar. The Gordon Coat of Arms (often erroneously called the Gordon Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Azure, a bezant between three boars’ heads erased or, on a border of the last nine lozenges of the first. Crest: A dexter naked arm issuing out of a cloud and grasping a flaming sword all proper. The family was seated at Greenlaw House near Castle Douglas, county Kirkcudbright.
Gordon of Drummuir and Park
Lachlan Gordon-Duff was an Esquire of Drummuir and Park, county Banff, was born in 1817 and was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, Member of Parliament, and Major of the 20th Regiment. In 1847, he married Jane Ellen, daughter of Thomas Butterfield of Bermuda, and had four children with her: Thomas Duff (married Pauline Emma Tennant), Archibald Hay, Mary Louisa, and Helen Elizabeth. The family lineage begins with the Duffs of Drummuir derive from William Duff, 3rd son of Adam Duff of Clunybeg, ancestor of the Earl of Fife, and from the Gordons of Park, who spring from a scion of the noble house of Huntly. Lachland was the son of Thomas Gordon Esq. of Park House, who was born in 1790 and was Lieutenant Colonel of the Inverness and Banff Militia. The coat of arms is blazoned as follows: Azure, a dexter hand vambraced grasping a sword erect argent hilt and pommel or, between three boars’ heads couped of the last langued gules. Crest: A sinister gauntlet proper.
Wolrige-Gordon of Esslemont
The lineage of this family traces back to the end of the 1300s AD when the property of Hallhead was acquired by George Gordon, son of Thomas, in Daach of Ruthven, whose descendants in uninterrupted succession have possessed it to the present time. Several generations later came Henry Wolrige-Gordon, Esquire of Hallhead and Esslemont, born in 1831, who was a Justice of the Peace and Barrister-at-Law. In 1856, he married Anne, daughter of Robert Gordon of Hallhead, and had the following issue with her: Robert (served in the Aberdeenshire Militia), John, Walter, Henry, Mary, Ethel, Edith, Anne, and Margaret. He was the son of Colonel John Wolrige (who was from the old family of Wolryche of Dudmaston, Salop) and he assumed the surname Gordon upon his marriage. The arms of this family are blazoned in heraldry as follows: Azure, a fess between three boars’ heads couped or. Crest: A hart’s head proper. Mottoes: Bydand, and Strong and firm. They were seated at Esslemont, Ellon.
Gordon of Newtimber
The lineage of this branch of the Gordon family tree begins with Charles Gordon, an Esquire, who in 1782, married Mary, daughter of Thomas Howorth, Esquire, and had a son with her name Charles. Charles was an Esquire of Newtimber Place, Sussex, England, who in 1827, married Anne Sarah, daughter of James Pitman of Dunchideock, and he had six issue with her as follows: Charles Henry William, Arthur Pitman (Rector of Newtimber, married Harriet Anne Hicks, had issue named Arthur Charles and Elizabeth Mary), Anne Catherine, Eliza Mary, Louisa Astley, and Georgina Charlotte (married Reverend George Grisdale Hicks). His son Charles Henry William Gordon was an Esquire of Newtimber Place, who in 1864, married Lucy, daughter of Colonel Grant of Southend, and fathered six children with her: Charles Edward Grant, Mary Katherine, Margaret Louisa, Lucy Georgiana, Eleanor Wilmot, Beatrix Cecilia.
Gordon of Pitlurg
The Gordon genealogy begins with John Gordon of Scurdargue, who was the son of John de Gordon of Strathbolgie, who married Margaret, daughter of Sir Patrick Maitland of Gight. He died in 1420 and was succeeded by his eldest son John. John Gordon of Auchlenchries married Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Salton, and later Hemault, daughter of Macleod of Harris. His eldest son was John Gordon of Auchlenchries and he married Margaret, daughter of Sir John Alexander, and he was slain at the Battle of Flodden under the flag of Alexander, 3rd Earl of Huntly. He had a son named John. This John was of Pitlurg and he married Lady Jane Stuart, daughter of John, Earl of Athol, and he later married Mary Drummond, of the Perth family, and he died in 1544. His eldest son was John Gordon of Pitlurg who married Janet, daughter of James Ogilvie of Cullen, by whom he acquired the estate of Broadlands. He died at Pinkie in 1547 and he had a son named John. His son was Sir John Gordon, a Knight of Pitlurg and a Member of Parliament for county Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Isabel, daughter of William, 7th Lord Forbes, and he died in 1600, leaving a daughter and two sons. His eldest son was John Gordon of Pitlurg, who married Nicholas, daughter of the Kinnaird family, but died without issue in 1619. He was succeeded by his brother, Robert Gordon. Robert was a poet, mathematician, geographer, and antiquary who was born in 1580. He had six daughters and eleven sons. Several generations down the line came John Gordon Cuming Skene was an Esquire of Pitlurg and Dyce, county Aberdeen who was born in 1827. He was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant. He married Maria, daughter of Captain William Henry Nares of the Royal Navy, and had a son with her named Alexander. Alexander was born in 1857 and became a Lieutenant of the Aberdeenshire Highland Militia. The Gordon Coat of Arms (sometimes mistakenly called the Gordon Family Shield) was blazoned in heraldry as follows: Azure, three boars’ heads or, bordure of the last, quartering with azure three garbs or, a border of the last, for Cuming, and azure three skenes argent pommel or, each having on the point a wolf’s head couped of the last, for Skene. Crest: A dove proper. Supports: Dexter, a warrior holding in the dexter hand a shield and in the sinister a spear all proper; sinister, a wild boar proper. Motto: I hope. The family was seated Pitlurg, Ellon, Aberdeen and also Parkhill, Aberdeen.
Gordon of Wincombe
Charles William Gordon was an Esquire of Wincombe Park, Shaftesbury who was a Justice of the Peace born in 1819. In 1845, he married Augusta Caroline, daughter of Colonel Steward of Nottinghouse, Dorset, and had three issue with her: George Henry, Ethel Maria Louisa, and Lilian Mary. In 1868, he married Alice, daughter of Reverend C.H. Grove of Sedgehill, and had two daughters with her: Hilda Gwendoline and Muriel Edith. He was the son of George Gordon of Oak Lodge and Mary Tahourdin.
Gordon of Earlston
The house of Earlston descend from Alexander, son of William de Gordoune, 6th Lord of Lochinvar, whose great-grandson was John Gordon. John of Earlston, in 1852, married Margaret, daughter of John Sinclair, with whom he had the following issue: Margaret (married John McKnaught and later Edward Maxwell), Alexander (2nd Gordon of Earlston), William (of Catelton), and David (of Gordonstown in Galloway, father of Nathaniel). John died in 1628 and was succeeded by his son, Alexander, 2nd Gordon of Earlson, who was born in 1587 and he sat in the Scottish Parliament for the county of Kirkudbright. In 1612, he married Elizabeth, daughter of John Gordon of Pennyghame, and he had issue as follows: John (married Jean Boswell), William, and Margaret (married Thomas Hay of Arieland). He died in 1653 and was succeeded by his second son William. William, 3rd Gordon of Earlston, was born in 1614, and in 1648, he married Mary, daughter of Sir John Hope) and he fathered four children with her: Alexander (2nd Baronet), William (1st Baronet), John, and Margaret (married Sir James Holborne of Menstrie). His son, Sir William Gordon of Afton, was born in 1654 and became the 1st Baronet. Sir William joined the Prussian Army of Frederick, Duke of Brandenburgh, and joined in the descent of Monmouth and Argyle. He was succeeded by his brother, Sir Alexander Gordon, 2nd Baronet of Earlston who was born in 1650. Several generations later came Sir John Charles Gordon, 9th Baronet of Earlston, county Kirkcudbright, Scotland who was born in 1901 and succeeded his father in 1939. In 1828, he married Marion, daughter of James B. Wright of Springfield in New South Wales Australia, and had issue with her: Robert James (1932) and Ann Gordon (1929). The coat of arms is blazoned as follows: Azure, a bezant, between three boars heads, erased, or. Crest: A dexter hand, grasping a sabre proper. Motto: Dominus providebit. They were seated at Earlston House near Kirkcudbright and resided at Afton, Cremorne, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Gordon of Embo
Sir Home Seton Charles Montagu Gordon was the 12th Baronet of Embo in Sutherland and was born in 1871. He was a Justice of the Peace for county Kerry. He succeeded his father in 1906, and in 1897, he married Edith Susan, daughter of Richard John Leeson Marshall of Callinafercy, Milltown. The ancestry of this family traces back to Adam Gordon, Dean of Caithness, and son of the 1st Earl of Huntly and Elizabeth Crichton. He died in 1529, having fathered the following four children: William (Chancellor of Dunkeld, Rector of Petty), George (of Beldornie, ancestor of the Gordons of Wardhouse), John, and Elizabeth (married Ogilvie of Findlater and later John, son of the 4th Earl of Huntley). His son John was of Drummoy, and he married Margaret Mackreth and had a son with her also named John. This John Gordon was of Golspitour and afterwards of Embo in Sutherland. He married Jean, daughter of Gilbert Gordon of Garty, and died in 1628, having four sons and four daughter with her. His eldest son was Sir John Gordon, 1st Baronet of Embo, created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1631. In 1627, he married Margaret, daughter of Robert Leslie, of Findrassie, and he died in 1649, being survived by his eldest son, Sir Robert Gordon, 2nd Baronet, a Member of Parliament for Sutherland.
Early American and New World Settlers
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions four bearers of this last name:
1) Alexander Gordon of Exeter, 1677-1689
2) Edmund Gordon came aboard the Susan & Ellen in 1635 at the age of 18
3) John Gordon of Bridgewater, 1682
4) Nicholas Gordon, New Hampshire, 1689
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing this surname include Daniel Gordon (Boston 1651), Laughleth Gordon (Boston 1651), George Gordon (Virginia 1636), Ursillas Gordon (Virginia 1714), Alexander Gordon (Maryland 1716), Roderick Gordon (Virginia 1732), and Barbara Gordon (Philadelphia 1746).
In Canada, some of the earliest bearers of this name were George, James, and Barnard Gordon who came to Nova Scotia in 1749 AD. In Australia, one of the earliest settlers with this last name was James Gordon, a convict from Middlesex, England who came to New South Wales (a penal colony) in April of 1820 aboard the Agamemnon. In New Zealand, some of the earliest bearers were Bernard, John, and William Gordon who came to the cities of Wellington, Otahuhu, and Auckland, respectively.
Early Americans Bearing the Gordon Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains four entries for this surname:
1) [Az] 3 boars' heads couped [or]. Wax seal on will of William Gordon, dated 29 Feb. 1684, at Urbanna, Va. Wm. & Mary Quar., Jan 1893, p. 121
2) Az 3 boars' heads couped or within a double tressure flory counter flory with a thistle bet 2 roses on each of the 4 sides or and a fleur-de-lis at each corner. Az 3 boars' heads couped or within a double tressure flory counter flory with a thistle bet 2 roses on each of the 4 sides or and a fleur-de-lis at each corner. Motto: Ne nemium. Painting owned by Miss Lena Smith, Scotland Neck, N. C. Bertrand de Gordon shot Richard Coeur de Lion. From Mrs. Everett
3) Az 3 boars' heads erased or. Tomb of Samuel Gordon in Blandford Churchyard, Va. D. 14 April, 1771, aged 54 years. Crozier Va. Heral., p. 10.
4) Quart 1: [Az] 3 boars' heads couped arg; 2: 3 garbs; 3: [Or] 3 crescents within a royal tressure [gu]; 4: 3 cinquefoils. Crest: an arm embowed, holding a dagger. Seal Patrick Gordon, Gov. Penn., 1726-36. Sylvan City, 1883, p. 457.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains two entries for this name:
1) South Caroline, from Caithness, Scotland. Quarterly: 1st, Azure, on a fesse argent between three boars’ heads couped or, a wolf’s head couped sable 2nd, Or, three lions’ head erased gules, for Badenoch, 3rd, Or, three crescents, within a double tressure, flory, counterflory gules for Seton, 4th: Aazure three frases argent for Fraser. Crest: A heart’s head affronte proper. Motto: Animo.
2) James and John Gordon of Lancaster, Virginia, 1738, originally from Newry, county Down, in modern day Northern Ireland. Azure, a pheon between three boars’ heads erased or.
Matthew’s American Armoury (1907) and Bluebook contains one entry for this name:
1) Gordon, of Brandon, Virginia and Louisville, Kentucky. Arms: Azure, on a fesse argent, between three boar’s head couped or, a wolf’s head couped sable. Crest: A hart’s head affronte proper.
I have identified 49 different Gordon family mottoes:
1) Absit fraus - (Let deceit ? )
2) Altiora pete - (Seek higher things) (of Tichmurie)
3) Animo non astutia - (By courage and prudence) (of Down)
4) Aut mors aut vita decora - (Either death or honourable life) (of Carnouise)
5) Aut mors aut vita decus - (Either death or honourable life) (of Edinglassie)
6) Byd bee
7) Bydand - (Remaining) (of Cockclarochie)
8) Byde together - (of Auchendown)
9) Corde manuque - (With heart and hand) (of Invergordon)
10) Deo favente - (God willing)
11) Divisa conjungo - (I heal divisions) (Gordon of Glastirim)
12) Doe well and let them say
13) Dread God - (of Aston and Craighlaw)
14) Dum vigilo tutus - (Whilst I stand still and watch) (or While I am vigilant I am safe) (the later is for Gordon of Knockespoch) (An allusion to the crest of the arms, a stag at gaze)
15) Dum spiro spero - (While I have breath I hope)
16) Ever faithful - (of Tachaie)
17) Fertur discrimino fructus - (Profit is gained by|
18) Fortuna sequatur - (Let fortune be attendant)
19) Forward without fear
20) God for us
21) Gradatim plena - Full by degrees
22) In hoc spes mea - In this is my hope (of Beldorney)
23) In recto decus - (There is honor in the right path)
24) Legibus et armis - (By laws and arms) (of Gordonbank)
25) Majores sequor - (I follow my ancestors)
26) Maneo - (I stay)
27) Maneo non fugio - (I stand firm and do not fly)
28) Ne nimium - (Not too much)
29) Nil arduum - Nothing is difficult (of Banff)
30) Non astutia - (Not by craft)
31) Non fraude sed laude - (Not by deceit but with honour) (of Aberdeen and Terpersey)
32) Non mihi commodus uni - (Of service not to me alone)
33) Nunc mihi grata quies - (I am now quiet)
34) Pax et libertas - (Peace and liberty)
35) Salus per Christian - (Salvation through Christ)
36) Sans crainte - (Without fear)
37) Sequor - (Follow)
38) Sic tutus - (Thus safe) (of Park) (of Craig)
39) Spero - I hope
40) Stant caetera tigno - (The rest stand on a beam)
41) Sub tegmine - (Under the canopy ? )
42) Time Deum - (Fear God)
43) Truth prevails
44) Tum pace quam praelio - (As well in peace as in war)
45) Vel pax vel bellum - (Either peace or war) (of Rothemay)
46) Veritas ingenio - (Truth with wit)
47) Victrix prudentia - (Patience conquers)
48) Vigilando - (Vigilant)
49) Watch - (of Haddo)
We have 68 coats of arms for the Gordon surname depicted here. These 68 blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
There are hundreds of notable people with the Gordon surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Alan Lee Gordon (1944-2008) who was an American songwriter born in Natick, Massachusetts, best known for co-writing the song “Happy Together” for the Turtles, 2) Alexander Gordon (1781-1873) who was a British officer in the Napoleonic Wars, Captain in the 15th Hussars who fought in the Peninsular War, 3) Anna Adams Gordon (1853-1931) who was an American social reformer and president of the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union who was born in Boston, Massachusetts, 4) Barton Jennings Gordon (1949) who was an American lawyer that served as a congressman from Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1985-2001, 5) Bernard Marshall Gordon (1927) who was an American engineer, investor, and entrepreneur who is considered the father of high speed, analog to digital conversion, 6) Major General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885), known as “Chinese Gordon”, was a British Army officer and administrator, born in London, England, who served in the Crimean War and other conflicts, 7) David Gordon (1948) who was an American libertarian philosopher and historian who held Rothbardian views and was a fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, 8) Walter Henry Gordon (1863-1924) who was a United States Army General from Artonish, Mississippi who was a Major of the First Delaware Infantry during the Spanish-American War, 9) Dr. Isabella Gordon (1901-1988) who was an Scottish Marine biologist who was an expert in carcinology, and 10) Walter Gordon (1893-1939) who was a German theoretical physicist born in Apolda, Germany associated with the University of Hamburg and Humboldt University known for the Klein-Gordon equation, a relativistic wave equation.