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

Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish

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

Although the Clerkin 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 Clerkin 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 Clerkin 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 Clerkin 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 Clerkin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Clerkin 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:

Clerkin Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Anne Clerkin, aged 40, who landed in America, in 1896

Clerkin Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Thomas Clerkin, aged 22, who emigrated to the United States from Liverpool, in 1904
  • Bernard Clerkin, aged 17, who landed in America from Castlisahan, Co. Cavan, in 1905
  • Bridget Clerkin, aged 24, who emigrated to the United States from Castlisahan, Co. Cavan, in 1905
  • Ellen Clerkin, aged 22, who emigrated to America from Shercock, Ireland, in 1906
  • Catherine Clerkin, aged 26, who emigrated to the United States from Monaghan, Ireland, in 1906


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  • John J. Clerkin (b. 1949), American Republican politician in the Vermont House of Representatives
  • Cavan Clerkin (b. 1973), British television actor and writer


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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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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  2. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  5. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  6. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  7. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  9. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  10. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  11. ...

The Clerkin Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Clerkin 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 8 January 2013 at 07:50.

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