Select Jardine Surname Genealogy

The surname Jardine comes from the French jardin, a "garden," and would describe someone who lived at or near a garden or perhaps worked in a garden.  The name probably crossed the Channel with the Norman Conquest.  It made its first appearance in Scotland with Winfredus de Jardine who appeared on charter lists in 1153.

Jardine may also have originated from the Portuguese Jardim - when Portuguese immigrants arrived in English-speaking lands and anglicized their names.    

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Select Jardine Ancestry

Scotland.  The Jardine clan first established themselves in the 14th century when they settled at Applegirth in Dumfriesshire and built Spedlins Tower there.  "From then till records were kept and land accounted for and enclosed, the family was known as de Gardine de Applegirth."  The spelling became Jardine by about 1500.

The Jardines were involved in various border skirmishes with the English in subsequent centuries, at times invading English lands and at other times being invaded. Their fortunes improved in the late 16th century when Sir Alexander Jardine fought on the King's side and enlisted many men, known as "Jardine's men," into the Jardine clan.

The Jardines, unlike the Armstrongs, were able to hold onto their lands and they remained a force on the Scottish borders.  Among notable Jardines from Applegirth in the following centuries were:
  • The Rev. John Jardine, one of the leading figures in Edinburgh of the 18th century Scottish Enlightenment.
  • James Jardine, a farmer's son, who became a civil engineer and in the early 1800's helped build the Grand Union Canal which ran through England to London.
  • Sir William Jardine, the 7th baronet, who made natural history available to the Victorian reading public through his The Naturalist's Library series.
In the 19th century, many Jardines moved north to Glasgow, south into England, or emigrated - Canada being a favored destination.

England.  One Jardine line from Closeburn in Dumfriesshire migrated south to England where William Jardine was a Justice of the Peace in Dunstable.  He died there in 1873.

“The deceased gentleman had been ailing for some time and there is no doubt that the melancholy death of his son in India a few months ago hastened his end.” 

His son William had died of cholera in India that year at the age of 32.  The Jardine family, however, remained in India and Douglas Jardine, the controversial English cricket captain of the 1930’s, was later born there.

Lancashire  Other Jardines were to be found in the north of England, mainly in Lancashire.
  One family history recorded John and Catherine Jardine from Dumfriesshire coming to Blackburn in the 1830's.  William Jardine later established his draper's shop there.  Jardine Organs in Manchester dates back to 1846 when Frederick Jardine joined an existing company of organ-makers.  His uncle George had already departed for New York and set up his own organ business there.

Nottingham  The larger Jardine presence in England turned out to be in Nottingham further south.  John Jardine, who started his working life there as an apprentice watchmaker, built up a business in the late 1800's making lace-making machines.  According to the Nottingham Illustrated:

"The appliances turned out by Mr. Jardine have always enjoyed an exceptional reputation for accurate adjustment, smooth and reliable working, and great durability."

His son Ernest expanded the Jardine business into typewriters and became a great benefactor for the town of Nottingham in the inter-war years.      

Far East.  It was a ship surgeon from Lochmaben in Dumfriesshire, William Jardine, who would challenge the hegemony of the all-powerful East India Company in Asia in the 1830's.  He ventured into opium trading in China and co-founded the trading firm of Jardine, Matheson and Co. 

From 1842, when the company was first established in Hong Kong, Jardines - as it is more usually called - developed into one of the largest trading and industrial combines in the region.  After William's death in 1843, the company was managed by a number of nephews and their descendants, including Robert Jardine and the Buchanan-Jardines. William Keswick, a great-nephew of the Jardine founder, ran the business in the 1870's and shifted its focus from opium to real estate and railways.  The Thistle and the Jade, first published in 1982, is a well-written history of the company.

.  Many Jardines emigrated to Canada in the first half of the 19th century, in particular to New Brunswick and the maritime provinces.  This early history has been covered in Donald Jardine's 1997 book,  Jardines of Atlantic Canada.

The first arrival from Dumfriesshire appears to have been "Old Jock" Jardine in 1816, to be followed by two of his nephews John and Thomas.  They started a shipbuilding business in Richibucto (now Rexton) Kent county, which was to be the basis of that town's economy in the era of wooden sailing ships for the next sixty years. 

Another Jardine entrepreneur was Robert Jardine who arrived in the early 1830's.  He emerged as a major railroad promoter for the region and became actively involved in its politics.  A number of other Jardines were to be found at this time in New Brunswick, as well as in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.      

  The Jardine numbers in America are much fewer than in Canada. 

It was said that George Jardine came to New York from London in 1836 to make the barrel organs that were sometimes used in small churches to accompany the congregational singing.  But he soon turned to building organs with keyboards.  Four of his sons and two of his grandsons became organ builders.  Their work “was not of the highest price or grade, and yet had a large circulation."

Some Jardines arrived via Canada, such as John and Elizabeth Jardine who crossed the border from Ontario to Michigan at the time of the Civil War and then settled in Wisconsin.  Later came Caribbean Jardines.

Caribbean.  Jardines in the Caribbean are perhaps more likely to be of Portuguese than of Scottish origin.  A large number of Jardims from the Portuguese island of Madeira came to St. Vincent, Trinidad, and British Guyana from the 1840's onwards.  Many of these Jardims became Jardines on or after their arrival, such as John Gonsalves Jardine who came to St. Vincent in the 1870's.

South Africa.  The Jardine name in Durban dates back to 1858 when a Jardine family was recorded as arriving in the port on the Phantom.  A more substantial presence occurred in the 1890's when a prosperous Jardine family came from Scotland and started work on a large manor house in the then wild interior of the country.  Calderwood House, completed in 1902, was an elegant Victorian mansion of its time.  It has recently been restored.

Australia.   William Jardine from Dumfriesshire was one of the pioneer settlers of the Monaro district.  He had arrived in Australia in 1841, reached Monaro five years later, and he and his sons became sheep farmers there.

Another Jardine family, from a "fine old Scottish border family," were intrepid explorers of the remote northern Cape York Peninsula.  The Jardine river of northern Queensland was named after them.  Son Frank established a family cattle station at the Somerset outpost.  He married the neice of the King of Samoa and lived out his life there, terrorizing the local Aborigines and earning the nickname of "devil man."

Select Jardine Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Jardine Names

Sir Alexander Jardine
was the successful chief of the Jardine clan during the Anglo-Scottish wars of the early 16th century.
Sir William Jardine, 7th baronet of Applegirth, made natural history available to all levels of Victorian society through his hugely popular The Naturalist's Library.
Dr. William Jardine was the Scottish ship surgeon who became a trader in the Far East and co-founded the famous Hong Kong trading firm of Jardine Matheson (Jardines).
Douglas Jardine was an English cricketer famous (or infamous) for his captaincy of the English cricket team in Australia in 1933-33 during the Bodyline series.

Select Jardines Today
  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous in the Scottish borders)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in California).
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada).

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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