The Ord Family in
Wellington County, Ontario, Canada
Click on any of the following to be taken to that section or page.
Contents of this page
Links to other related pages on this web site
Welcome to my page on the Ord Family of Puslinch. This page is part of my personal family history website and represents one of my own ancestral lines. It is also a cousin page to the Stewart Pioneers of Puslinch, a website for Puslinch researchers in cooperation with the Puslinch Historical Society. If you are specifically looking for information on the Ord family then this is where to start. Otherwise you may wish to begin at the start page of my family history, or at the introduction page for the Stewarts of Puslinch (just follow the preceding links).
This is an account of the Ord family who settled in Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario, Canada in the mid-19th century. Here I present all the known information on their descendants and their ancestors. The family originated in Berwickshire, Scotland from where Robert Ord and his wife Mary Edgar emigrated in 1850. They settled in a community of Scots immigrants in a settlement in southern Puslinch, called Badenoch. The Scots in southern Puslinch were primarily Highlanders who had been evicted from their lands during the Highland Clearances. Most of them spoke Gaelic as their first language. Even though the Ords were Lowlanders, they seem to have got along fine with their Gaelic-speaking Highlanders and even intermarried with some of the Highland families..
Robert Ord's nephews, David Ord and George Ord, both immigrated to Australia. It is not known if the Australian Ords and the Canadian Ords ever kept in touch with each other after emigration. The Australian and Canadian Ord descendants only became aware of each other in 2002 through Internet genealogical research.
Please Note: This page is intended only as a narrative historical overview of this family. There is additional detailed information available for almost ever person presented on this page. To avoid the unnecessary work of double-entering some data, the additional information can be found in the accompanying GEDCOM database. Please make sure you click on the INDEX button at the bottom of the page so you don't miss out on potentially valuable additional information.
The research presented on this page is not mine alone. It contains information submitted by all the Fellow Researchers listed below. I am indebted to them for their generous contributions. This page is intended as a place for researchers to freely and cooperatively share our research with each other. It would be too cumbersome a task to reference each piece of data as to which researcher it has come from. The information shown on this page should be understood as a product of ALL of the Fellow Researchers. I am merely the editor and not the sole author. - Ryk
There appears to be three geographic concentrations of the Ord surname in Great Britain. These concentrations are shown on the map at the right.
1. The first area is in north-central Scotland in the area of Inverness, Elgin, Moray and Banff. This concentration may originate in the area of the Muir of Ord in Ross-shire, just across the Beuly Firth from the town of Inverness.
Ord Settlements in Ross-shire, Scotland, near Inverness
The Ord in Ross-shire, Scotland
(just across the firth from Inverness)
2. The second area centres around the River Tweed in the borderlands of Northumberland, England, and Berwickshire, Scotland. This concentration likely originates around the settlements of East and West Ord in Northumberland, about a mile southwest of Berwick-upon-Tweed (shown on the map below). Whether the surname arose from the place name or vice versa is not known.
The Ord Settlements in Northumberland - West Ord, Middle Ord, Ord Mains, East Ord, South Ord and Ord Hill.
3. A third, though large in size, contains a much smaller concentration of the surname. This concentration can be found across the Orkneys and Hebrides. (Shown on the map above-right.) The smaller density of this concentration of Ords might suggest that a later member of the family migrated from one of the other two settlements. This area contains no known place names associated with the name "Ord".
These disparate geographic clusters suggest more than one geographic origin to the surname, more than one eponymous origin, and possibly even more than one ethnic origin. However, it is worth noting that the Cuthbert surname shows a very similar pattern with a large cluster around Berwick and another large cluster around Inverness. Their origin story is that they originate around Lindisfarne (near Berwick) and one family migrated north to Inverness in the 8th century. Could an Ord have migrated with the Cuthberts?
In Gaelic the word ord or uird means "hammer". Ord is also believed to be Angle or Jutish. The Angles and Jutes came from the area of present-day Denmark. The name Ord, Orrd, Ourd, and Urd can be found in Denmark, low Germany, and Flanders. There was a Countess Ord in Flanders involved in the Flemish uprising against Spanish rule in the 1500s or 1600s and land grants were made to Ords in both Durham and Northumberland in Britain in the 1100s, including one Henry de Orde, 1116, of the Tweed area. The Lower Tweed area was once part of the Danelaw and was settled by Danes. In later years trade between the Tweed and Flanders remained high. Thus a Danish or Flemish origin for the Tweed area Ords is certainly plausible, but a Gaelic origin is still possible. The northern Ords would seem more likely to be of Gaelic origin. However no one is known to have successfully traced any of these concentrations back to any particular eponymous origin.
Some contributors have suggested that the name Ord may mean "a point" as in a point of land, an arrowhead or spearhead. The name Ord may also derive from the Latin "ordo" meaning "order, a straight row". The word "ordinance" originally referred to stores of arrows and spearheads. The word "order" means "to point the way, to give direction", but it also means "to set in a straight row". The word "goad" comes from "go"+ "ord", meaning "go-point", a sharp stick used to make cattle or horses move faster
Thus it appears that the name Ord has multiple geographic and ethnic origins. As our Ords come from an area with Norman, Jutish, and Gaelic histories, it is impossible to determine which, if any, of these is the origin of our family's name.
Click here to learn more about surnames.
In the late 18th century David ORD, probably of Norham, Northumberland, England, married on 11 APR 1779 in Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland to Elspeth COCKBURN of Berwickshire, Scotland. She is believed to have been born 22 DEC 1754 in Duns, Berwickshire, Scotland, as the daughter of Andrew Cockburn and Margaret Clochrie, however this has not been verified. David and Elspeth were married just a few miles away from the historic site of the Battle of Flodden Field (the 16th century battle between England and Scotland where King James IV died). Although this cross-border marriage might at first sound quite unlikely for the era, a quick glance at a map will clarify any doubts. Coldstream, Berwickshire, Scotland and Norham, Northumberland, England are both situated on the banks of the River Tweed which forms the eastern border between Scotland and England. So, although these two towns are in different countries, they are in fact located only five or six miles apart on opposite banks of the same river. The Borderlands were also known for their culturally mixed loyalties.
David and Elspeth had the following children:
Almost nothing is known for certain about the ancestors of the Ord family who lived in Berwickshire, Scotland. Given the geographic concentration of the surname Ord in the Berwick/Northumberland area and given the settlements bearing the name Ord, and given the citations of the name in records into antiquity, it would seem nearly certain that David Ord's ancestors were domestic to the Borders and had been for many, many generations. However little more is known about this family.
A possible ancestry is suggested in the corresponding personal data pages, but that ancestry is based solely on IGI data and should be considered as unverified.
The ancient county of Berwickshire no longer exists, but is now part of the district known as the Scottish Borders. The nearby city of Berwick (meaning "corn farm") has changed hands between England and Scotland no less than 12 times in the last 1000 years. The mixing of Scottish and English elements in the people and culture of this area is strong. This may explain why the descendants of this family, though of mixed English/Scots blood, considered themselves to be Scots, not English.
We do know that Robert Ord was a blacksmith and that his son-in-law, Leonard Tait was also a blacksmith. It may be that Leonard was Robert's apprentice before they came to Canada or their common occupation could be a coincidence. That is all that is known for certain of the Berwickshire Ords.
Robert Ord was born 28 AUG 1788 in Buncle and Preston, Berwickshire, Scotland. He married on 13 JUN 1814 in Edrom, Berwickshire, Scotland to Mary Edgar. She was born 9 DEC 1791 in Ayton, Berwickshire, Scotland as the daughter of Mark Edgar and Jane Waddell. Robert Ord was trained as a blacksmith and probably worked as such in Scotland.
Sometime in the early 1840s at least some of the Ord family immigrated to Canada. It is not certain exactly when. They have not been found in the 1841 census for England or Scotland. So it must be considered that they may have been in Quebec by 1841 where Robert's first granddaughter was born. And they may have lived there longer than previously believed. (The oddity is that Jane Ord's eldest son is shown as having been born in England in 1841 but her husband is shown in the 1841 census living in Northumberland, England with no family.) Birth records indicate that at least Jane with her husband and family were in Beverly Township in Wentworth County, Ontario (just south of Puslinch in Wellington County) in 1848, however it is not certain that Robert and the rest of the Ord family had yet immigrated. Robert's son, Andrew Ord, gives his date of immigration as 1850. In 1851 both census and birth records show the Ord family living in Puslinch, Wellington County, Ontario.
Although Robert was trained as a blacksmith, it appears that after he immigrated to Canada he worked primarily as a farmer. Like his son Andrew, and his son-in-law, Leonard Tait, it appears that subsistence farming took precedence over skilled trades in Puslinch on what was still only semi-developed land. Robert and Mary had the following children:
Margaret Ord died giving birth to her daughter Margaret Black. John Black married secondly about 1868-1869 to Charlotte Roberts of PEI with whom he had the following children:
As noted above, David Ord, the brother of Robert Ord who emigrated to Canada, had two sons, George and David, who emigrated from Berwickshire to Australia. David Ord, brother of Robert, married Agnes Weatherstone (not to be confused with the Canadian couple of the same names above.) They had the following family:
David Ord's descendant, Lecki Ord, the first female Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Australia, has been researching this family and further information on these Australian branches can be found online here.
Lecki Ord's website presents an alternative proposed ancestry for Robert Ord. Her proposed ancestry shows our Borderland family having migrated just a generation earlier from the northern coastal region of Banffshire. Whereas the proposed ancestry presented above on this page suggests our family migrated from five or six miles away across the River Tweed in England. Both of these are only theories and we do not possess any documentary evidence to verify either theory. Lecki and I continue to consult with each other as we pursue our mutual theories in hopes that one of us will find proof.
We are certain of the family of David Ord and Elspeth Cockburn. However, it is with the birth of David Ord that we disagree. Please do not take David's ancestry as proven; it is speculative and based only on IGI data. It is included for your enjoyment.
People researching this family include the following. If you wish your name added to the fellow researchers' list, please contact me.
|Hamilton, Ontario, Canada||Ancestors and descendants of the Canadian branches|
|Lecki Ord||Melbourne, Australia||Ancestors and descendants of the Australian branches|
|Jack Sykes||Kitchener, Ontario, Canada||Ancestors and descendants of Andrew Ord's daughter Florence Isabel Ord (Cunnington)|
|Nora McLean||Alberta, Canada||Ancestors and descendants of Margaret Ord and John Black|
For more information on
any individual person featured on this page,
1. click on the INDEX button below,
2. then select the first letter of the surname you are looking for.
The index button will take you to my searchable GEDCOM database hosted by RootsWeb's World Connect Project. This allows you to download my GEDCOM in 10-generation chunks. Then you can import my data directly into your own genealogy program without having to retype it.
= This person has known descendants.
ABT = "about" and is used in three ways:
Where it precedes a precise date of birth, such as "ABT 3 DEC 1855", then it means that the person was baptized on 3 DEC 1795, but his/her exact date of birth is unknown.
Where it precedes a semi-precise date of birth with the month only given, such as "ABT DEC 1855", then that means that the birth is recorded in the civil birth registrations for the quarter ending with that month. Thus the person's birth was registered sometime between the beginning of October 1855 and the end of December 1855, but no baptism record has been found nor any more precise birth record.
Where it precedes a year only, such as "ABT 1855", then it means that there is no information on the person's birth date at all and an educated guess has been made that he/she was probably born sometime around 1855.
Please post your questions, comments, corrections, or additional information to:
BROWN'S GENEALOGY DISCUSSION FORUM
(click on the link to be taken to the discussion forum)
I will no longer be accepting genealogical inquiries via
If you wish to contact me regarding any genealogical matters
please post your inquiry on the discussion forum
and I will be pleased to respond to you there.
This page was last updated on January 07, 2010