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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish

Where did the Scottish Clark family come from? What is the Scottish Clark family crest and coat of arms? When did the Clark family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Clark family history?

Although the Clark surname has long been born in Scotland, the name itself is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It is derived from the Old English "clerec," which is itself derived from the Latin "clericus," meaning "priest." The term "clerec" originally denoted a member of a religious order; however, as these were the only people who were taught to read and write, the term eventually came to refer to any literate man. Thus, the name Clark may have originally referred to a scholar, a scribe, a secretary, or a member of a religious order. The name in Gaelic was Mac a' Chleirich. Even today, the word and profession "clerk" is typically pronounced "clark" throughout the United Kingdom.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Clark, Clerk and others.

First found in the counties on both sides of the border between England and Scotland. There is a record of a James the Clerk, witnessing a charter in Dumfriesshire in 1249. The Clarks were not a full-fledged clan; rather they were probably a sept of the ecclesiastic Clan MacPherson, although the Camerons also show a tie with the Clarks and Clarksons. Even though Clerk or Clark was primarily a name given to those of a specific occupation, the Celtic Church of the north would undoubtedly have assumed an order that was very clan-like. The Clarks would also have been amongst the most educated and wise people to have lived in Scotland, and as conveyors of the Christian faith their power and authority would have often matched that of chiefs. The Feudal System initiated by Ceanmore in southern Scotland, was more fully implemented by the Norman King David I, who often made abbots as powerful as Chiefs, granting them extensive tracts of land and power. Clarks, then, would have certainly held a special role of authority as individuals, if not as a clan.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clark research. Another 209 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1406, 1599, 1675, 1683, 1729, 1770, 1775, 1838, and 1859 are included under the topic Early Clark History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 88 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clark Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Clark family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 275 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Clark Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Nic Clark, who landed in New England in 1632
  • Nico Clark, who landed in America in 1632
  • Nicholas Clark, who arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Geo Clark, aged 15, arrived in Barbados in 1635
  • Gilbert Clark, aged 19, arrived in St Christopher in 1635


Clark Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Eliza Clark, who landed in Virginia in 1701-1702
  • Zach Clark, who arrived in Virginia in 1701
  • Honnery Clark, who arrived in North Carolina in 1702
  • Ben Clark, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Danll Clark, who landed in Virginia in 1704


Clark Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Zachariah Clark, who landed in America in 1801-1802
  • William Clark, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Patrick Clark, who landed in Louisiana in 1805-1809
  • Francois Clark, who arrived in Louisiana in 1805-1809
  • Elnr Clark, who arrived in America in 1805


Clark Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • George Henry Clark, who arrived in Alabama in 1917

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  • Dick Clark (1929-2012), well-known entertainer and broadcaster who hosted "American Bandstand" for over 30 years
  • Captain Laurel Blair Salton Clark M.D. (1961-2003), former NASA astronaut who worked as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Columbia
  • Ann Nolan Clark (1896-1995), American writer
  • General Wesley Kanne Clark KBE (b. 1944), American retired Army officer and the Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1997 to 2000 and Rhodes Scholar
  • Major General Mark Wayne Clark (1896-1984), American general during World War II and the Korean War. Among his awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Grand Croix Légion d'honneur
  • William Mansfield Clark (1884-1964), American chemist
  • Robert "Bob" Clark (1941-2007), award winning American film director, producer, and writer best known for "A Christmas Story" (1983)
  • Technical Sergeant Francis J Clark (1912-1981), American Army soldier awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1944
  • Brigadier-General Frank Sheldon Clark (1885-1975), American Member Joint Post War Separation Committee Board (1944-1945)
  • Brigadier-General Harold Lyman Clark (1893-1973), American Commanding Officer 52nd Troop Carrier Wing (1942-1945)

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  • Adam's Ancestors (including the Clark Family) by Thomas Nathan Clark.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: In Deo speravi
Motto Translation: In God have I trusted.

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Clark Clan Badge
Clark Clan Badge

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A clan is a social group made up of a number of distinct branch-families that actually descended from, or accepted themselves as descendants of, a common ancestor. The word clan means simply children. The idea of the clan as a community is necessarily based around this idea of heredity and is most often ruled according to a patriarchal structure. For instance, the clan chief represented the hereditary "parent" of the entire clan. The most prominent example of this form of society is the Scottish Clan system...

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Septs of the Distinguished Name Clark
Clark, Clerk and more.

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  3. Urquhart, Blair Edition. Tartans The New Compact Study Guide and Identifier. Secauccus, NJ: Chartwell Books, 1994. Print. (ISBN 0-7858-0050-6).
  4. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  5. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  6. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  7. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  8. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and David Hicks. The Highland Clans The Dynastic Origins, Cheifs and Background of the Clans. New York: C.N. Potter, 1968. Print.
  9. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. The Charters of David I The Written Acts of David I King of Scots, 1124-53 and of His Son Henry, Earl of Northumerland, 1139-52. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press, 1999. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Clark Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Clark Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 20 April 2014 at 14:06.

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