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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish


The ancient name of Clerkin finds its origins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from a name for a person who concerned himself with matters of scholarly importance or of religious orders or as a secretary. The surname Clerkin originally derived from the Latin form clericus Even today, the word and profession clerk is typically pronounced clark throughout the United Kingdom.

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The surname Clerkin was first found in Northumberland, where the ancestral home of the Clerkin family is thought to be located. The family held a family seat in this county from the days before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

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 Clerkin family name include Clark, Clerk and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clerkin research. Another 151 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1599, 1683, 1655, 1675, 1729, 1639, 1714, 1659, 1735, 1689 and are included under the topic Early Clerkin History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 93 words (7 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 201 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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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 Clerkin surname or a spelling variation of the name include :

Clerkin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


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

Clerkin Settlers in 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: Fortitudo
Motto Translation: Fortitude.

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  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  8. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  9. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  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 19 February 2015 at 12:03.

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