This uncommon name is of early medieval English origin, and is derived from one of the diminutive forms of the personal name Jordan. The given name has two possible sources: it may derive from an Old German personal name, "Jordanes", thought to contain the same root as the Old Nose "jordh", land; or, and this is the more likely source for most bearers of the modern surname, it may be taken directly from the name of the river Jordan, which is so called from the Hebrew "Yarden", from "yarad", to go down, descend to the Dead Sea). Returning Crusaders and pilgrims would frequently bring back flasks of water from the river Jordan to be used in the baptism of their children, since John the Baptist had baptized people, including Christ Himself, in the river. The given name Jordan thus acquired some popularity, and has generated a number of surnames, among them Judd, Jurd, Jutte and Jude, from diminutive forms. The given name is recorded in the Latinized form of "Jurdanus" in 1196, and one Judde Rampe is listed in the Lancashire Assize Court Rolls of 1246. Examples of the surname from London Church Registers include the christening of Alice, daughter of William Judd, at St. Mary Magdalene, on October 27th 1566. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a silver fesse ragulee between three silver boars' heads, couped, on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Judde, which was dated 1204, in the "Pipe Rolls of Herefordshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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