Guerdain family page
Ile au Guerdain in Portelet Bay painted in 1890
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Origin of Surname
The derivation of this name is not known, but we have found nothing to support J Bertrand Payne's suggestion that its origins are in Switzerland. It may be long-established locally, meaning guardian or warden. There were two families in Jersey bearing this name. In St Brelade the name took the form Le Goupil dit Guerdain, which is long-extinct, but gave its name to L`Ile au Guerdain, now called Janvrin`s Tomb, in Portelet Bay, which is overlooked by their earlier home, now Portelet Inn. The other family, named Guerdain, lived in the northern parishes, especially in Trinity, from at least the early-16th century. Both families, however, might well share an identical origin, in which case they will indeed be long-established.
It is not found in Normandy today but Guérin, which is very common there, may be an alternative spelling. If so, the name probably derives from the earlier forename Warin.
Payne's suggestion, see below, that the family arrived in the 17th century is contradicted by the appearance of four Guerdains in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550 - Deonys, Michel and two Perryns. A tree can be traced back to Nicholas Guerdain, born in Trinity about 1516, and possibly a century earlier (see below).
Variations of the name can be found on record in Jersey as early as the beginning of the 14th century.
And genealogist the Rev J A Messervy disputes Payne's assertion that the Guerdains adhered to the Royalist cause, explaining that they were devout Parliamentarian partisans
Switzerland is traditionally assigned as the country whence this family emigrated to Jersey. Dr Denis Guerdain, probably the first settler in the island, was a firm adherent of the Royal Cause at the period of the Rebellion. Indeed, it was here that the ever spendthrift and careless Prince Charles, during his visit in 1646, fist battre de la monnaye, a la maison de Monsr Denis Guerdain a la Trinite, no doubt to defray expenses that even the enthusiastic and loyal Jerseymen refused to incur.
Another of its members married a member of the local family of Richardson, who having survived her husband, erected a monument to his memory in the Parish Church of Trinity, adorned with the arms of both families.
- Guerdain, 1668
- Le Guerdain 1607
- Gerdain 1528
- de Gurdyn 1309
- Guerden 1323-4
- Guerent, 1331
- Guerant, 1363
- Le Guerden
- Le Goupil dit Guerdain
- Descendants of Nicholas Guerdain and Jeanette de Gruchy
- Descendants of Perrin Le Guerdain and Perrotte
Family history and biographies
- History of Guerdain family in Jersey
- Aaron Guerdain, physician and supporter of the Parliamentarians
- Denis Guerdain, brother of Aaron and also physician and supporter of the Parliamentarians
This will created by a member of the Guerdain family is now held by Jersey Archive. By visiting the archive site and using the names, date and reference number shown here, it is possible to view a copy of each will. You will have to subscribe to the Archive's online service to do this. To find out more about this collection, which covers the period from 1663 to 1980, and how to search for your family's wills there, visit our Jersey wills page
- Marie Guerdain 3 February 1690 - D/Y/A/1
- La Guerdainerie, Trinity
- Ile au Guerdain (Janvrin's Tomb) in Portelet Bay