The surname of JORDAN was a baptismal name 'the son of Jordan'. This great personal name was given to returning crusaders from the River Jordan, which flows through the Sea of Galilee into the Dead Sea. It was common practice for them to bring back flasks of water from the river in which John the Baptist had baptized people, including Christ, and to use it in the christening of their own children. Thus Jordan became quite a common given name in commemoration of this. The name is also spelt JURDISON, JORDAIN, JUDUN, JOURDAIN, YARDENY, JORDI and JUDSON, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Jordanus (without surname) 1121, County Suffolk. Robert Jurdan was documented in County Yorkshire in the year 1188. Roger filius Jurdon, was recorded in the year 1273 in the County of Cambridge. Walter Jordan of the County of Sussex was documented in the year 1327. Matilda relicta Jordan was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Frances Nelson married Rachel Jurdison at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1763. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. The lion is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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