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

Origins Available: English, German

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

Cleek is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Cleek family once lived in the region of Clegg in Rochdale in the county of Lancashire.


Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Cleek family name include Clegg, Clegge, Cleg, Claig, Claigg, Claige, Cleig, Cleigg, Clegges, Clegs, Cllege, Cleagg, Cleagge and many more.

First found in Lancashire where they held a family seat from very ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cleek research. Another 185 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1679, 1755 and are included under the topic Early Cleek History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 23 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cleek Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Cleek family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 169 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Cleek surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Cleek Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Michael, Mathias, and Jacob Cleek, who came to America in 1732 (their brother Baltas Cleek died on route)


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: Qui potest capere capiat
Motto Translation: Let him take who can take.


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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  2. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. 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.
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Cleek Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Cleek 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 21 August 2013 at 16:06.

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