What is the origin of the last name Gordon?

The last name Gordon has its origin in both Gaelic and Norman roots. In Gaelic, the name is derived from the word "gor" meaning "spacious" or "great," and the word "dun" meaning "fort" or "hill." In Norman, the name can be traced back to the place name "Gourdon" in France. Over time, the spelling and pronunciation of the name evolved, resulting in the surname Gordon.

Countries of origin for the last name Gordon

The last name “Gordon” has a rich and complex history, with roots that can be traced back to various regions and cultures. Here are the key facts about the meaning and origins of the surname:

1. The surname “Gordon” is of Scottish origin, and it is a habitational name derived from places in Berwickshire and Aberdeenshire, Scotland. These places are believed to be named after a Gaelic term “goradan,” meaning “spacious fortification” or “large fort.”

2. The Gordon family played a significant role in Scottish history, with their origins dating back to the 12th century. They were prominent in the North-East of Scotland, particularly in Aberdeenshire, and rose to prominence through various military and political achievements.

3. The Gordons are associated with the Clan Gordon, one of the oldest and most powerful Scottish clans. The clan’s lineage can be traced to Sir Adam de Gordon, a Norman knight who settled in Scotland during the reign of William the Lion.

4. Over the centuries, members of the Gordon family migrated to other countries, particularly during times of political upheaval and economic opportunities. Consequently, the surname Gordon can be found in several English-speaking countries, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

5. The surname Gordon gained prominence in the United States, especially during the waves of Scottish immigration that occurred in the 18th and 19th centuries. Scottish immigrants, including many Gordons, played a crucial role in shaping American culture, politics, and society.

6. The surname Gordon has also been adopted by individuals of non-Scottish ancestry through marriage or other means. Therefore, not all bearers of the name share a direct ancestral link to Scotland.

7. As is the case with many surnames, variations and alternative spellings of the name Gordon exist. These variations can be the result of phonetic changes, regional dialects, or deliberate alterations over time.

8. The popularity of the surname Gordon has been reflected in the naming of places, streets, and organizations in various parts of the world. These locations and institutions often serve as reminders of the cultural and historical significance associated with the name.

In conclusion, the last name Gordon has its roots firmly planted in Scottish history and is associated with the Clan Gordon. It has spread across different countries, and its bearers have made significant contributions to the places they have settled. The surname continues to be an important part of individuals’ identities and serves as a testament to the enduring legacy of the Gordon family.

Interesting facts about the last name Gordon

  • The surname Gordon originated in Scotland and is derived from the place name Gordon in Berwickshire.
  • The name Gordon is of Norman-French origin, brought to Scotland by Sir Adam de Gordoun who received a grant of land in Berwickshire from King William the Lion in the 12th century.
  • The name is derived from the Old Gaelic word “gor” meaning “spacious” or “large” and the word “dun” meaning “fort” or “hill.”
  • The Gordon family played a significant role in Scottish history and produced many influential figures, including George Gordon, the 4th Earl of Huntly, who was one of the most powerful men in Scotland during the 16th century.
  • One of the most famous individuals with the surname Gordon is General Charles George Gordon, a British army officer and administrator remembered for his service in China and his heroic defense of Khartoum during the Mahdist War.
  • The Clan Gordon is one of the oldest and most prestigious Scottish clans, having been recognized as a unique family since the 12th century.
  • There are several notable places named Gordon around the world, including the town of Gordon in New South Wales, Australia, and the county of Gordon in the state of Georgia, United States.
  • The surname Gordon has been popularized in modern culture through various fictional characters, such as James Gordon, the police commissioner in the Batman comic book series.

Name Rank


There are around 161833 people with the last name Gordon in the US

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