History of the Jordan's of Mayo
and some information on the Keane's too (My mothers family)


The Jordan's of Mayo are predominantly of Norman descent stemming from one Jordan D'Exeter who accquired estates in Ireland following the Norman Invasion of 1172. The original source of the name is said to come from knights of the crusades who brought back bottles of water from the river Jordan and used it to baptise their children whom the accordingly named "Jordan".

The name in Irish, McSíurtáin or MacSuirtain, denotes one who was a "descendent of Jordan". According to Edward McLysaght, the lands which the family controlled , the barony of Gallen in Mayo, became knows as MacSiurtains Country and is thus described in the Fiants and and the "Composition of Connaught". The earliest written records of the name in Ireland occur in the "Annals of Connaught" between 1336 & 1470. By the Sixteenth century they were considered by the new interlopers to be a Gaelic Sept (tribe) and in "The Composition book of Connaught" Their Chief was called "MacSurtaine alias Jordan". It is to be presumed that the Mayo Norman Jordan D'Exeter landed somewhere in North Mayo near Killala perhaps.

Philip A. Crowl's The Intelligent Travellers Guide to Historic Ireland makes particular reference to the ruins of Ballylahan castle, the seat of the Mayo Jordan's which still stand alongside the junction of the N58 from Ballyvary to Ballina and the R321 linking Straide with Bohola.

"These scattered ruins are those of a thirteenth century castle built by Jordan of Exeter. It was a polygonal courtyard castle with a twin towered gatehouse, of which the remains of only one gatehouse are still to be seen".

Bearers of the name today in Ireland are most common in Mayo and Galway however as McLysaght states the name is "numerous in all the provinces" even though some of the Jordan's of Dublin and the East coast rnay instead by descentents of the English Jordan, a separate entity altogether and bearing no connections with the MacSuirtains of Mayo.

My branch of the Jordan family are from the area of Aughamore in East Mayo. The name is quite common in that part of the county and the ruins of a castle "Raith Castle" can still be seen, home of the first of the Jordan's to move to that area, presumably from the North Mayo (Straide/Ballylahan) area.

Actually the following is my family tree and migrations so far as I've been able to figure it out: (I'm quite short on dates yet) so anyone with any input I'd appreciate it!

THE JORDAN'S: (My paternal lineage)

My Father Vincent born in 1931. His family are Paddy (Aughamore), Mark (Castlebar), May (McInerney - Dublin)), Tom (Manchester), Margaret (Croke - Dublin), Pauline (RIP), Vincent (Dad) and Anne (Garvey - Claremorris) 

Their Father (My grandfather) was Pat Jordan (c.1885- April 1949). He was married to Mary Glavey (c.1895- December 1970)

Apart from my grandfather Pat, the Jordan's were Maggie (Harpole - Went to Nebraska and eventually Montana)) Mary Ellen (Went to NY), Annie (Quinn), Mark and Patrick

The Glaveys were Maggy (Jordan) Sonny (Pat), Tom, Molly (Jordan) Bridie (Murphy - Manchester) and Mick

My great grandparents on the Jordan Side were Patrick Jordan and Mary Flanigan

My great great grandparents on the Jordan side were Pat Jordan and ??? Kenny.

On the Glavey side my great grandparents were Thomas Glavey and Mary Costello

My great great grandparents Thomas Glavey and ???? Kneafsey AND ?? Costello (GGGF) and ??? O' Brien (GGGM)

THE KEANE'S: (My maternal lineage)

My mother Pauline was born in 1938

Her family are Gerald (Aughamore), Maureen (Hunt - LA, CA), Pauline (Mam), Paude (Scunthorpe - UK) and Dympna (Breaffy)

Her father was Owen Keane (1895-May 1969). Mother Jane Waldron (1898-May 1943)

In addition to my grandfather the Keanes were Maggie, Nora, Delia, Rose (Mulrannan - Liverpool), Sara (O'Reilly - Ballyvary), Mary, Michael (NY), Patrick (NY), Austin (NY), and finally my grandfather Owen. 

The Waldrons were Michael, Johnny, Bill, Frank, Paddy, Jim, Mary, Jane, Annie, Katie, Delia and Nora.

Owen Keanes parents (My great grandparents) were Patrick Keane and Mary Regan. My great great grandparents Mary Regan's side were Mickey Regan and Moira "Mor" Regan.

My great grandparents on the Waldron side (My grandmother Jane's parents) were John Waldron and Mary Brett.

Notable bearers of the name Jordan include Neil Jordan, the film director, born in Sligo, famous for such films as "Mona Lisa", "The Crying Game" and the eponymous historical Irish biopic "Michael Collins", Eddie Jordan, chairman and director of the same named Formula 1 racing team, Kate Jordan (1862-1926), the American playwright and novelist who was born in Ireland AND of course "Cousin Michael" of the Chicago Bulls who finally retired FINALLY in 1999 .

BLAZON OF ARMS: Gules, a Lion rampant between three crosse crosslets or.
Translation: The lion, king of beasts, signifies Majesty and Kingship. It is also emblematic of Courage, Generosity and Strength. The Cross symbolises the love of God for sinful man. Gules (Red) denotes military fortitude and Magnanimity. Or (Gold) denotes power and Splendor
CREST: A cross crosslet fitched
Burkes Heraldry details these arms as being granted to the Jordan's of Roslevin Castle in Mayo. (I'm not sure where Roslevin Castle is but can anyone that know please e-mail me)
MOTTO: Percussus resurgio
Translation: When Struck down I rise again.

INVITATION: This is the information I have been able to establish on the Jordan name. If you have anything further to contribute on any aspect of the name please e-mail me and I will be sure to add the information to that contained here.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: I would like to acknowledge the use of some of the information contained in here from the "Family Name History of the Irish Jordan's" by The Historical Research Center. If you would like to find out more about your own name you can visit their Webpage

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This site is maintained and updated by Peter Jordan,

Last Updated 6th February 1999

© Peter Jordan, 1999