Show ContentsClem History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Clem name began with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from the given name Clement which means the son of Clement. The name is from Latin origin and applies to a mild or merciful individual. It gained popularity in Medieval Europe when it was borne by an early saint who was a disciple of St. Paul, and later when the name was used by several early popes.

Early Origins of the Clem family

The surname Clem was first found in Brecknock, in the Welsh princedom of Powys, located in the border country between Wales and England. A bearer of Clement is said to have arrived in the Norman Conquest of England with Bernard Newmarche. Together they later fought in Brecon where they conquered the Lordship of Caron; after this battle Clement was given land at Llangorse Lake and at Cathedine.

There is a record of a grant of these lands to Geoffrey Clement made at Westminster by Edward 1 on the 10th February 1290. There has also long been a family of this name in Oxfordshire, where record of the Knights Templar show William and Richard Clement in 1153, and Robertus Clemens in 1155. [1]

The name was "enormously popular in the 13th century. Hence as a surname itself and its variants will be immortalized in our directories." [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Eustace filius Clement, Oxfordshire; Hugh Clement, Cambridgeshire; Richard Clemence, Huntingdonshire; Matthew Clemens, Oxfordshire; Peter filius Clement, Salop (Shropshire); and Clemens Janitor, Norfolk. [2]

Later the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed: Clemens Alius Elenoe; Johannes Clement; and Petrus Clementson as all holding lands as that time. [2]

In Scotland, "the following spellings all occur in 1684 (Parish): MacClymont, McClamont, McClamot, McClemen, McClement, MeClemin, McClymon, McCIymond, and McLymond, and Clymont. McClymonts are mentioned as farmers in Ayrshire in 1613. James McClymont, witness in Carrick, 1687." [3] The name is thought to have been "from Gaelic MacLaomuinn, 'son of Lamont.' In the Dean of Lismore's Book we find VcClymont along with Clynelymyn (i.e. Clan Lamont). M'Lagmanid 1358, MacLagmayn 1410, Mc Laiman 1802, M'Lawmane c. 1353." [3]

Early History of the Clem family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clem research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1162, 1210, 1233, 1273, 1379, 1489, 1685, 1742, 1258, 1594, 1660, 1660, 1508, 1570, 1508, 1572, 1626, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Clem History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clem Spelling Variations

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 Clem family name include Clements, Clement, Clemens, Climer and others.

Early Notables of the Clem family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Clement of Dunblane (d. 1258), a Dominican friar, and close associate of King Alexander II of Scotland, who was made Bishop of Dunblane; and Gregory Clement (1594-1660), an English Member of Parliament (MP) and one of the regicides of King Charles I, he was hanged, drawn and quartered at Charing Cross on 17 October 1660. Margaret Clements or Clement (1508-1570), was a learned lady, whose maiden name was...
Another 74 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clem Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Clem Ranking

In the United States, the name Clem is the 3,724th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [4]

Ireland Migration of the Clem family to Ireland

Some of the Clem family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 123 words (9 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Clem migration to the United States +

For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, the Canadas, 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 Clem surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Clem Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Hans Clem, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1748 [5]
  • Jakob Clem, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1749 [5]
  • George Clem, who arrived in Maryland in 1749 [5]
Clem Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Jose Clem, aged 40, who landed in New Orleans in 1829 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Clem (post 1700) +

  • Dr. Ralph S. Clem, Florida International University professor, geographer, author, decorated U.S.A.F. General
  • Brian L. Clem, Democratic member of the Oregon House of Representatives
  • John Lincoln Clem (1851-1937), American Army general who had served as a drummer boy in the Union Army in the American Civil War, the youngest noncommissioned officer in Army history
  • Mitch Andrew Clem (b. 1982), American cartoonist best known for his web comics
  • Clem Tillion (1925-2021), American politician, member of the Alaska House of Representatives from 1963 to 1975 and the Senate from 1975 to 1981, Senate president from 1979 to 1981
  • Clem S. Morris, American Democratic Party politician, Candidate for West Virginia State House of Delegates from Ritchie County, 1928
  • Clem Labine (1926-2007), American Major League Baseball player
  • Clem Morden (1907-1987), former Australian rules footballer who played from 1928 to 1932
  • Clem and Ruby Krider, American longtime supporters of the Arts, eponym of the Krider Performing Arts Center (KPAC) in Paris, Henry County, Tennessee
  • Clem F. Crowe (1903-1983), American NFL and CFL football coach

Suggested Readings for the name Clem +

  • Descendants of Adam and Rachel Clem, 1788-1978 by Anna Clem Williams.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. 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)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  5. 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) on Facebook