The Clan/Sept History
The Jordan name comes from the Gaelic Mac Siúrtáin. It was adopted by one a
Connacht family who came to Ireland with the Norman invasion of 1172.
Ultimately, Jordan is derived from the name of the river Jordan, "Yarden" in
Hebrew. The name first became popular in Europe as a personal name during the
Crusades when it was a common practice for Crusaders to bring back vials
containing the waters of this river to use in the baptism of their children.
Medieval scribes and church officials spelt names simply the way they sounded,
which explains the various name spelling variations of the name Jordan that were
encountered when researching that surname. The many spelling variations
included: Jordan, Jordane, Jordain, Jordaine, Jourdan, Jourdane, Jorden, Jurden,
Jurdon, MacShurtan, MacJordan, MacShurton, MacShurdane, MacShurtaine,McShurtan,
McJordan, McShurton, McShurdane and many more.
First found in Exeter, where they were granted lands by King William for their
assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. The Jordans were descended
from Jordan de Cantington, one of the nobles who was a companion of King
William, Duke of Normandy. Jordan de Cantington was also known later as Jordan
of Exeter from the area in which he settled and was granted lands in England.
This noble family accompanied Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, in his invasion of
Ireland in 1172, and acquired lands from King John the English King.
A great number of Irish Families left their homeland in the late 18th century
and throughout the 19th century, migrating to such far away lands as Australia
and North America. The early settlers left after much planning and deliberation.
They were generally well off but they desired a tract of land that they could
farm solely for themselves. The great mass of immigrants to arrive on North
American shores in the 1840s differed greatly from their predecessors because
many of them were utterly destitute, selling all they had to gain a passage on a
ship or having their way paid by a philanthropic society. These Irish people
were trying to escape the aftermath of the Great Potato Famine: poverty,
starvation, disease, and, for many, ultimately death. Those that arrived on
North American shores were not warmly welcomed by the established population,
but they were vital to the rapid development of the industry, agriculture, and
infrastructure of the infant nations of the United States and what would become
Canada. Early passenger and immigration lists reveal many Irish settlers bearing
the name Jordan: Stephen Jurden, who sailed to New England in 1633; Anthony
Jordan who settled in Virginia in 1635; followed by Eliza in 1650; Jacob in
1649; Ann in 1655.
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