Question: After years of research, by myself and others, we are well and truly stumped. I would be ever so grateful for some advice on how to untangle the mystery of the origin of our surname.
DUERDEN is our surname, and many believe it is derived from DEARDEN. However, we have yet to find a common lnk to DEARDEN (that wasn't just an error in spelling, for instance we find the surname spelled DEARDEN on the census one year, but the other years the same family are DUERDEN). Also, there are DEARDEN's and DUERDEN's living in Lancashire at the same time. So, my question is how do we go about finding whether this theory is true or not? Is there a book that has the information (heraldry?) and we have just not seen it yet?
Answer: One would have thought that the surname DEARDEN came from this part of the country because of its ending, but, in fact, it is not easily traced. My own guess, based upon some fifty years of the study of etymology of surnames, it that is probably derived from one of two sources (a) the anglicisation of an Irish surname; (b) from a place name, which has not been found, or more likely , from Doddon in Cheshire, a few miles to the east of Chester.
One must recall theat surnames were written down by the person listening to the name being pronounced. They wrote down what they thought they heard and the owner probably could not read to check whether it was correct or not, according to their own spelling. This is the origin for so many variations in spellings of surnames. One must also remember that the vowel (a-e-i-o-u) is generally interchangeable and whether there is one or two Ds would depend upon the emphasis made after the vowel sounds by the next consonant.
Without an extensive search, I would not be able to find a coat of arms associated with the surname.