Recorded in many spellings as shown below, this was originally a popular English and French personal name given especially to the children of the Knight Templars, known as The Crusaders. These people were both soldiers and pilgrims and the often returned with flasks of water taken from the River Jordan, and this was used for the baptism of their children. The word derives from the Hebrew 'yarden' meaning 'to descend' (to the Dead Sea). The personal Latinized form of the name, Jordanus, is first recorded in the registers of the abbey of Bury St.Edmunds, Suffolk, in 1121, whilst Jurdanus de Brakenberge appears in the Danelaw Rolls of Lincoln in 1191. Amongst the first surname recordings is that of John Jorden of Cambridge in the year 1202, and Walter Jurdan of Sussex in 1327. 'Magot Juardan, vidua' meaning widow, appears in the Poll Tax rolls for Yorkshire in 1379. In 1573 Thomas Jourden married Marcia Burrowes by civil license in London, and a further very interesting recording is that of Sislye and Mary Jordan, who on February 18th 1623, were recorded as 'living at Jordan's Journey,' a village in the colony of Virginia, America. They were amongst the earliest registered settlers in the New England colonies. The surname is recorded in the spellings of Jordan, Jordain, Jorden, Jordens, Jordin, Jordine, Jordon, Jourdain, Jourdan and Jourdon. A coat of arms granted in Wales, has the blazon of a silver field, a red chevron between three red greyhounds courant. This family claim descent from Jordan de Cantington, who is believed to have accompanied William, The Conqueror on his invasion of England in 1066, although this is not proven. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Jurdan. This was dated 1182, in the 'Book of Seals', for Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as The Church builder' 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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