Clarkin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Although the Clarkin 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. [1] Thus, the name Clarkin 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.

Early Origins of the Clarkin family

The surname Clarkin was first found in the counties on both sides of the border between England and Scotland. Early Scottish records show Roger Clericus held a land between 1174 in Kelso, Thomas Clericus was one of those appointed in 1246 to determine the right marches of Wester Fedale and James the clerk was witness to a charter by Richard de Bancori of land in Dumfriesshire in 1249. A few years later, "nine persons named 'le clerk,' rendered homage for their possessions, 1296." [1]

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.

Important Dates for the Clarkin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clarkin research. Another 138 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1406, 1599, 1683, 1675, 1729, 1775, 1859, 1770, 1838 and are included under the topic Early Clarkin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clarkin Spelling Variations

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

Early Notables of the Clarkin family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst bearers of this family name during their early history was Richard Clark of Montrose, who became vice-admiral of Sweden in the 17th century; Sir James Clark, a physician to the King; Samuel Clarke (1599-1683), an English clergyman and significant Puritan biographer; Samuel Clarke...
Another 44 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clarkin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Clarkin family to Ireland

Some of the Clarkin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 82 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clarkin migration to the United States

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Clarkin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Bridt Clarkin, aged 20, who arrived in New York in 1854 [2]
  • Ellen Clarkin, aged 9, who arrived in New York in 1854 [2]
  • Elizabeth Clarkin, aged 20, who landed in New York in 1862 [2]

Clarkin migration to Canada

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Clarkin Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Ann Clarkin, aged 40, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland

Clarkin migration to New Zealand

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Clarkin Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Owen Clarkin, (b. 1840), aged 34, Irish shepherd from Meath travelling from London aboard the ship "Tweed" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1874 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Clarkin (post 1700)

  • Theresa C. Clarkin, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Rhode Island, 1936 [4]
  • Robert J. Clarkin, American Republican politician, Candidate for Rhode Island State House of Representatives 18th District, 2002 [4]
  • Golda Clarkin, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Colorado, 1960 [4]
  • Franklin Clarkin, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Harbin, 1919 [4]
  • John Clarkin (b. 1872), Scottish footballer
  • John-Paul Clarkin (b. 1978), New Zealand polo player, son of Paul Clarkin
  • Paul Clarkin (1953-2004), New Zealand polo player
  • Anthony "Tony" Michael Clarkin (b. 1946), British musician, best known as the guitarist of the rock band Magnum


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  3. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  4. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from
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