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House of Gordon Genealogy
& DNA Project
Compiled by T. A. Gordon

Through the centuries, many origins for the House of Gordon have been suggested, including geographic and
historical events. Most common are references to Normandy, Macedonia and Gaul. Though nearly all of these
phonetic variations Gordon surname are purely coincidence, especially further back in time, through DNA, it may
be possible to eventually confirm or more likely rule out integrity of such proposed origins. Therefore, the following
list should not be given as fact of Gordon origins, rather treated as a summary of proposed leads that may deserve
further investigation.

For purposes of completeness this chronology traces all references to the Gordon surname and possible
variations known to us from 2500 BCE to the end of the 19th century.

  • 2500 BCE
    Gordion (Gordium) site settlements in Anatolia (near Ankara, modern-Turkey) (Webpage: Gordion)

  • Pre-750 BCE
    Gyrton, Thessaly (Greece) and located on the Pineiós River; The Gyrtonians are mentioned by Homer in
    Odyssey, and was said to have been founded by Gyrton, the brother of mythic Phlegyas (Homer, Odyssey,
    8th Century).

  • 700s BCE
    Mythic King Gordias (Gordius), father of King Midas, rises to power and establishes Gordion/Gordium (near
    Ankara, Turkey) as the capital of the Phrygia Kingdom; ties the Gordian knot to his ox cart. Located just the
    north of the river Sangarius and southwest of Ankara, later called Juliopolis in the first century AD (Strabo 24
    CE; Webpage: Gordion). See 334 BCE: Alexander the Great.

  • 700s BCE
    Gortyn, Crete, referenced in Book III of Homer's Odyssey; Known for nearby labyrinths of the Minotaur.
    According to one tradition, Gortys was named after its mythical founder Gortys, the son of Radamanthys,
    King of Phaistos and brother of Minos. A second legend states that Gortyn was founded by the mythical
    Gortys of Tegea in
  • Arcadian Gortynia. Another legend has Gortyn founded by Queen Gortyna of Crete and mother of King
    Taurus (Homer, 8th Century).

  • 427 BCE
    Gordonia (Gordynia, Gortynia, Gortunia, Gordenia, Gordounia) in Macedonia, Greece, where it is mentioned
    by Greek historian Thucydides (Chapter 8) in HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR that Athenian King
    Sitalces marched between Idomene and the plains of Cyrrhus and Pella, placing Gordonia in the upper
    valley of the Vardar River (Axios). Stephanus of Byzantine wrote about Gordonia in the 1st century in his
    book Ethnica and second century Roman Ptolemy in Geography. According to the legends, the ancient city
    of Gordonia was built by King Gortys, son of mythic King Stymphylos and great grandson of King Arcas.
    Greek geographer Pausanias in Description of Greece describes Gordonia as a small village about 2 CE.
    (Thucydides).

  • 334 BCE
    Alexander the Great passes through Gordion/Gordium (near Ankara, Turkey) en route to Cilicia (the ancient
    name of southern Turkey) and splits the Gordian Knot at Temple of Zeus in the town’s acropolis. See 750
    BCE: Mythic King Gordias. (Webpage: Gordion)

  • 279 BCE
    Gordion in Anatolia (near Ankara, Turkey) settled by Gauls from Thrace

  • 189 BCE
    Gordion in Anatolia (near Ankara, Turkey) settled by Romans

  • 53 BCE
    In his attack on the cities of Ghent (Gent) and Courtray (Kortryk), in Flanders (Belgium), Julius Caesar gives
    praise in his fifth book of Commentaries to a valiant people among the Nervii and who defended Ghent as
    the Gorduni, ultimately appointing the Gorduni his district lieutenants (Caesar, Book 5, pp. 36). (Ghent lies
    just 30 miles northwest of Brussels and is a part of the region historically known as Gaul. Ghent is roughly
    150 miles (310 km) northwest of present-day Rouen, Normandy and 82 miles (131 km) northwest of Calais).
    The territory of Normandy changed considerably over the centuries; in the 14th century it encompassed
    most of present-day France.

  • 7 CE
    Greek geographer Strabo in Book VII - Fragments, describes a city called Gortynia (Gortynium, Gordonia) in
    Macedonia “to the south of the narrow pass” now known as “Demir Kapija” (Greek: “Stenae”). Gortynia may
    have changed its name to Gevgelija (Vardarski Rid). See Gordonia - Thucydides in 427 BCE.

  • 238 CE
    Gordian I (Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus Africanus) ascends to Emperor of Rome.
    May have originated from Gordion, Anatolia. His mother Ulpia Gordiana was a Roman. Presented by ancient
    Roman historian Eutropias in Book IX of Abridgement of Roman History in 370 AD. He was followed in the
    same year by his son, Gordian II and grandson, Gordian III (Eutropias 370 CE).

  • 500s CE
    Gourdon, Saône-et-Loire, France, where a monastery was recorded. Gourdon may have derived its name
    from the Gallo-Roman given name "Gordus, Gordonis."

  • 760 CE
    A Gordoun served as Dapifer (Grand Steward) to Pepin the Short (le Bref). According to John Docwra Parry
    in his banner/arms were described as “three stars in pal, or in a field azure,” described as still being used by
    some Gordouns in France today (Parry 1831).

  • 790 CE
    Sir John de Gordoun of France mentioned in Straloch and Records of Aboyne as being elevated to Duke,
    then powerful High Constable and Peer of France, under Charlemagne, serving as General of Brittany after
    conquering the region, carrying its Prince prisoner to Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) on the
    border of Belgium and Germany (Gordon 1894; Parry 1831, pp. 125-6). He died soon afterwards at his
    Castle Château de Moret on the banks of River Seine in Fountainbleau, in the Seine-et-Marne region of
    France. According to Annals of France, he had four sons, the eldest Gui de Gordoun. Descendants of his
    sons went on to establish the Vicomte de Armagnac in southern France and Baron Gordoun of Genouillac
    (Gilles 1566). See Aymeric de Gourdon/Fortaniers de Gourdon of Gourdon Lot 961 AD.

  • 800s CE
    Château de Gourdon (Castle Gourdon) erected in village of Gourdon, Alpes-Maritimes, on the French
    Riviera. Originally built as a Saracen fortress in the 9th century, it evolved into a chateau in the 13th century
    and was completely restored in 1610. Early history has been lost and ties to any Gordoun family are not
    documented.

  • 839 CE
    A charter indicating a gift from Odolric de Gourdon to Sarlat Abbey in the Gourdon Lot district of France in
    836.

  • 840 CE
    A Gordoun served as High Constable in the reign of Louis le Doubbenair (Louis the Pious), son of
    Charlemagne (Parry 1831).

  • 961 CE
    Count Raymond I of Toulouse wills Gourdon Lot (Midi-Pyrenees region, ancient Quercy) to Aymeric de
    Gourdon of the powerful de Gourdon family, known as the Fortaniers de Gourdon, which would be later
    decimated by King Richard the Lionheart. Just to the north is the township of Milhac, a Gourdon stronghold
    in medieval times (Roche 1910, p. 437). See Baron Gordoun of Genouillac 790 CE.

  • 1040 CE
    Duncan I, King of Scotland, is slain near Elgin by Macbeth (of Shakespeare). His son, Malcolm (Canmore)
    flees to England to the protection of King Edward the Confessor, remaining under his protection for fifteen
    years. King Edward assists Malcolm to regain the throne in 1057 with the support of the Earl of Northumbria.
    It is possible that the first Gordon in England may have been a French or Norman knight named Adam de
    Gordoun and was associated with this contingent, receiving the lands in Berwickshire (present day Roxburgh
    district) as his reward and to which it is said he gave his Gordon name (Gordon, C.A. 1890, pp. 4, 5; Taylor
    1889, pp. 293).

  • 1066 CE
    Possible date of a de Gordoun coming to England with William the Conqueror.

  • 1093 CE
    King Malcolm Canmore invades England and is killed near Alnwick, Northumberland, with Adam de Gordoun
    in his contingent.

  • 1095-99 CE
    First Crusade

  • 1100 CE
    An Alexander Gordon, Bishop of Galloway and Archbishop of Athens is recorded (Archaeological collections
    1885, pp. 153; Weis et al., 1999 pp. 121).

  • 1120 CE
    Alexander de Gordoun is Chamberlain to King Alexander I and is granted lands of Merse (within
    Berwickshire) for fending off attackers to the King.

  • 1124-53 CE
    Possible date. Chalmers states the progenitor Laird Gordon comes from England in the reign of David I and
    obtained lands of Gordon (Gordun, Gordin or Gordyn in borderlands Berwickshire). He had two sons,
    Richard, and Adam. (Chalmers, op cit)

  • 1130 CE
    Adam Gordun “Filius Adae de Gordun” grants lands specially limited, apparently for the site of a church and
    cemetery for the parish of Gordun, and extensive land to the Abbey of Kelso (Burke 1838 pp. 45; Burke
    1848, pp. 62).

  • 1138 CE
    According to tradition, father of first documented Gordon in line, the Laird of Gordon of Berwickshire, falls at
    the Battle of Standard. The Laird of Gordon was the father of Richard of Gordon and Adam of Huntly.
    (Bulloch)

  • 1147–49 CE
    Second Crusade

  • 1187–92 CE
    Third Crusade

  • 1199 CE
    Bertrand de Gourdon, a descendant of the Gourdons of Gourdon Lot mortally wounds Richard the Lion-
    heart with an arrow before the castle of Chalus in the Limoges region of France, near another town called
    Gourdon, just north of Cahor.

  • 1202–04 CE
    Fourth Crusade

  • 1212-30 CE
    King Leonés Alfonso IX dismantles the political and military center, Gordon Castle in La Pola de Gordon (32
    km west of Leon) in Northern Spain.

  • 1217–21 CE
    Fifth Crusade: Sir William de Gordon was one of the officers in command of the first Scots contingent of
    1000 men that went on this wave to the Crusades. He died before Tunis while on the way to Palestine
    (Gordon 1949, Edward of Cairnfield).

  • 1228–29 CE
    Sixth Crusade

  • 1248–54 CE
    Seventh Crusade: Adam de Gordun of Huntly dies en route to Palestine to assist King Louis IX of France
    (Gordon 1949, Edward of Cairnfield).

  • 1263 CE
    King Henry III of England signs treaty with Pontius de Gordoun in France, designating the de Gordoun as Vir
    Nobilis (nobleman) and granting him continuation of his Castle of Gordoun in Normandy with the honors,
    privileges and territory anciently thereto belonging (Rymer 1704-35). Note: Normandy in 13th century was
    expansive compared to present-day borders.

  • 1270 CE
    Eighth Crusade: Adam de Gordon joined Louis XI of France on a Crusade.

  • 1271–72 CE
    Ninth Crusade

  • 1272 CE
    Sir Adam de Gurdon is recorded as keeper of the forest of Wolmer. He first settled in Selborne, County
    Southampton, in a mansion called The Temple. He had two sons, one moving to Wiltshire and the younger
    to London. His estate became known as Gurdon Manor, which now belongs to Magdalen College at Oxford
    University. The name Gurdun is first recorded in the Battle Abbey Roll of the Auchinleck Manuscript, listing
    the surnames of those Normans that served under William the Conqueror in defeating the English at the
    Battle of Hastings in East Sussex on October 14, 1066. Battle Abbey was erected as repentance for killing so
    many, including King Harold. Gurdon family tradition states that they originated in Gourdon, North of Cahors,
    France. Descendants dispersed throughout Suffolk and Norfolk. Arms include 3 wolves’ heads. (Burke 1863-
    71, pp. 555; Burke 1848, pp. 62). See 1199, Bertrand de Gourdon.

  • 1296-1320 CE:
    First War of Scottish Independence Sir Adam de Gordon falls at Dunbar in 1296. The Gordons supported
    Wallace and Bruce in the Wars of Independence. Sir Adam de Gordon was Bruce’s ambassador to the Pope
    and bearer of the Declaration of Arbroath (the document declaring Scottish Independence). In gratitude, Sir
    Adam’s son Sir Adam received lands of Strathbogie (Huntly) in Aberdeenshire in 1319.

  • 1311 CE
    Adam de Gordoun petitions “Parliament holden at Perth” for the privilege of calling his Strathbogie estate
    Huntly.

  • Aft. 1320 CE
    Sir William Gordon of Stichel branch, progenitor of the Lowland Gordons

  • 1332-57 CE
    Second War of Scottish Independence King David confirmed in a charter dated March 20, 1357 "confirming
    to John de Gordun the donation which King Robert I had made to his grandfather, Sir Adam de Gordun, of
    the lands of Strathbogie.

  • 1376 CE
    Joannes de Gordon (Sir John Gordon) receives new charter from King Robert II reaffirming the lands of
    Strathbogie to his grandfather.

  • About 1408 CE
    Split of the Jock & Tam Gordon lines and the Seton-Gordon line. This event is important because it marks
    the earliest time in history where the results of Y-DNA testing can be compared to Gordon pedigrees.

  • 1449 CE
    Earl of Huntly created.

  • 1562 CE
    Mary Queen of Scots watches as friend Sir John Gordon, "The Cock O' The North" is beheaded.

  • 1599 CE
    Marquess of Huntly created

  • 1660 CE
    Earl of Aboyne created

  • 1651 CE
    First documented Gordon family in America. See Alexander “Old Alex” Gordon of Exeter New Hampshire
    (Webpage: www.TheGordonDNAproject.com).

  • 1684 CE
    First Duke of Gordon created

  • 1688-1745 CE
    Jacobite Risings, esp. Rebellions of 1715 and 1745.

  • 1726 CE
    William Gordon in The History of the Ancient, Noble and Illustrious House of Gordon, indicates Gordoun
    contemporaries in France having the title "Vicomte de Gordoun" state that the tradition of their de Gordoun
    pedigree descends from those of the city Gordinia in Macedonia mentioned in 427 BCE. He further states
    the title continues to exist at the time he published (Gordon 1726-7).

  • 1750 CE
    Robert Gordon's Hospital established in Aberdeen, later to be renamed Robert Gordon College and Robert
    Gordon University.

  • 1769 CE
  • Alexander Gordon establishes Gordon’s Gin distillery in London.

  • 1780 CE
    Lord George Gordon provoked the Gordon Riots and the march on Parliament.

  • 1823 CE
    Duke of Gordon promulgates Excise Tax, which effectively legalizes whisky production in Scotland.

  • 1864 CE
    Major-General Charles George Gordon, known as Chinese Gordon, Gordon Pasha, and Gordon of
    Khartoum, quashes the Taiping Rebellion and the Chinese Emperor promotes Gordon to the rank of Titu
    "Chief commander of one province's military," one of the highest grades in the Chinese army, decorated him
    with the Yellow Jacket, and raised him Qing‘s Viscount of second class. The British Army promoted Gordon
    to Lieutenant-General and he was knighted as a Companion of the Bath (Forbes 1884).

  • 1870 CE
    Major-General Charles George Gordon, reaches Khartoum, Sudan.

  • 1881 CE
    The 100th (later 92d) Highland Regiment was raised in 1794 by the 4th Duke (reportedly assisted by the
    Duchess and her daughters) of Gordon and commanded by his son, the Marquis of Huntly (later the 5th
    Duke). In 1881, the 92d (Gordon Highlanders) Regiment was consolidated with the 75th Highland Regiment
    to become the 2d Battalion, the Gordon Highlanders.

SOURCES

Ancient City of Gordion  http://sites.museum.upenn.edu/gordion/

Archaeological and historical collections relating to Ayrshire & Galloway, Volume 5, Ayrshire and Galloway
Archaeological Association, 1885

Burke, Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey, Annotated: Annotated, E. Churton, 1848 Burke, Sir Bernard, A
genealogical and heraldic history of the landed gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 1, Harrison, 1863 & 1871

Burke, John, A genealogical and heraldic history of the commoners of Great Britain and Ireland enjoying territorial
possessions or high official rank: but uninvested with heritable honours, Volume 4, Colburn, 1838

Caesar, Julius. Book 5, pp. 36

Chalmers, George (1742-1825), Caledonia, or an account, historical and topographic, of North Britain, from the
most ancient to the present times: with a dictionary of places, chorographical and philological, Volumes I, II, III, IV.
1887; Downloadable from University of California Libraries.

Eutropias, Book IX of Abridgement of Roman History, 370 CE

Forbes, Archibald, Chinese Gordon-General Charles George Gordon (1833-1885). 1884.

Gilles, Nicole, Annales de France. (Les croniques et annales de France, depuis la destruction de Troye, iusques
au Roy Loys unziesme), 1566

Gordon, C.A., A Concise History of the Ancient and Illustrious House of Gordon, Aberdeen. 1754. (Written by hand
and published later by D. Wyllie & Sons, 1890)

Gordon (1949): Gordon, Edward (of Cairnfield), History of the House of Gordon, 28 Volumes, Privately published in
Scotland. 1949.

Gordon, Charles, 11th Marquess of Huntly (ed.), The Records of Aboyne, 1230-1681, New Spalding Club.
Aberdeen. 1894.

Gordon, William, The History of the Ancient, Noble, and Illustrious House of Gordon. 2 vols. Edinburgh. 1726-1727.

Homer, Odyssey, 8th Century

Parry, John Docwra, History and description of Woburn and its abbey, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green.
1831.

Roche, M. (Publisher), Bulletin de la Société scientifique, historique et archéologique de la Corrèze, Volume 32,
see Famille de Gourdon, pp. 436-440, 1910.

Strabo (Horace Leonard Jones, translator), Geography. Book VII. (North and East Europe), Loeb Classical Library
No. 182, 1924, Original: 24 CE.

Taylor, James, The Great Historic Families of Scotland, Volume 2, J.S. Virtue, London. 1889.

Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War (Chapter 8).

Weis, Frederick Lewis & Beall, William Ryland, The Magna Charta sureties, 1215: the barons named in the Magna
Charta, 1215, and some of their descendants who settled in America during the early colonial years, Genealogical
Publishing Com. 1999.
CHRONOLOGICAL SUMMARY OF PLACES AND EVENTS THAT MAY
RELATE TO THE GORDON SURNAME
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