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
Portuguese immigrants arrived in English-speaking lands and anglicized
their names.

Resources on

Jardine Ancestry

The Jardine
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
    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

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
William Jardine was a Justice of the Peace in Dunstable.
He died there in 1873.

deceased gentleman
had been ailing for some time and there is no doubt that the melancholy
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
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.
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

. It was a ship surgeon from Lochmaben in
Dumfriesshire, William
, 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.

said that George Jardine came to New York from London in 1836 to make
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
. 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.”

Jardine Miscellany

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

Select Jardine Names

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.
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

  • 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).




Click here for return to front page

Leave a Reply