The surname of JUDKINS was a baptismal name 'the son of Jordan' from the nickname Judd. 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. Early records of the name mention Thomas Judkins, servant of Mr Thomas Lucis, who was buried at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1648. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Edward James and Jane Judkin were married at the same church in the year 1677. George Gundry and Elizabeth Mary Judkins were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1778. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Arms registered at Heyford, County Northampton. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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