Jordan was a very popular personal name given especially to Crusaders' children due to the fact that the Crusaders brought back with them flasks of Jordan water for the baptism of their children. The name itself comes from the Hebrew "Yarden" meaning "to go down" or "descend", i.e. to the Dead Sea. The Latinized form of the name, i.e. "Jordanus", is first recorded in the 1121 Registers of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk. One Jurdanus de Brakenberge appears in the early 12th Century Social and Economic Documents of London. The surname from this source first appears in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). A John Jorden is entered in the 1202 Fine Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The spellings "Jourdan" and "Jurdain" appear in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, dated 1327 and 1332 respectively. On February 16th 1623, Sislye and Mary Jordan are recorded on a list of the living at "Jordan's Journey" in "Virginea"; they are among the earliest recorded settlers in America bearing this name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Jurdan, which was dated 1182, in the "Seals List of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches" 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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