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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

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 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 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 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 United States in the 20th Century


  • George Henry Clark, who arrived in Alabama in 1917

Clark Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Alexr Clark, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Rd Clark, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Thom Clark, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Uriah Clark, who arrived in Anapolis (Annapolis), Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Win Clark, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760


Clark Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Mary Clark, aged 18, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "John & Mary" from Belfast
  • William Clark, aged 27, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Francis Clark a painter, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Zephyr" in 1833
  • Ann Clark arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Zephyr" in 1833
  • Elizabeth Clark, aged 5, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Zephyr" in 1833


Clark Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • William Clark, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Daniel Clark, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Clark, English convict from Huntingdon, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Reuben Clark, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Clark, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia


Clark Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Archibald Clark landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • C Clark landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Peter Clark landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • R Clark landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Tyne
  • Rice Owen Clark landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840


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  • Eugenie Clark (1922-2015), nicknamed "The Shark Lady," an American ichthyologist, known for her research on poisonous fish of the tropical seas and on the behavior of sharks
  • S Clark, American passenger from USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
  • Mr. Stephen Clark (1895-1914), American Third Class Passenger from Chicago, Illinois, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • William Clark (d. 1913), American Olympic sliver medalist for archery at the 1904 games
  • Ellery Clark (1874-1949), American two time Olympic gold medalist in the 1896 games
  • Mrs. Virginia Estelle Clark, (née McDowell), aged 26, American First Class passenger from Los Angeles, California who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 4
  • Mr. Walter Miller Clark (d. 1912), aged 27, American First Class passenger from Los Angeles, California who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • William Clark (1770-1838), American explorer, soldier, Indian agent, and territorial governor, best remembered as leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • William Patrick Clark Jr., (1931-2013), American rancher, judge, and public servant, United States National Security Advisor (1982-1983), and the Secretary of the Interior (1983-1985)
  • Otis Clark (1903-2012), African-American who was the oldest living survivor Tulsa race riot, Hollywood butler to movie stars Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, and Joan Crawford

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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. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Moncrieffe, Sir Ian of That Ilk and Don Pottinger. Clan Map Scotland of Old. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1983. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Adam, Frank. Clans Septs and Regiments of the Scottish Highlands 8th Edition. London: Bacon (G.W.) & Co, 1970. Print. (ISBN 10-0717945006).
  9. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  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 2 July 2015 at 22:24.

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