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CLARK Family History

Clark (Variants: Clarke, Clerk, Clerke) - Clerk, a clergyman, a scholar, one who can read and write. Derived from the Middle Ages where exclusive members of religious orders learned to read and write, denoting any literate man. In Ireland the English surname was frequently adopted, partly from anglicised translation for Irish Gaelic Ó Cléirigh or ‘Cleary’.

In Old English terms cler(e)c ‘priest’, reinforced by Old French ‘clerc’. Both a derivative of Late Latin ‘clericus’, from Greek ‘klerikos’, a derivative of kleros ‘inheritance’, ‘legacy’, with reference to the priestly tribe of Levites ‘whose inheritance was the Lord’. In medieval Christian Europe, clergy in minor orders were permitted to marry and so found families; thus the surname could become established.

In 1881, Clark population was recorded 90,003 at UK with 3,234 residing in Kent with the most frequent occurrences of 38 in Cudham, Kent.

Clark stands 27th and Clarke 39th in the Registrar General's comparative list: and for 33,557 Smiths registered within a given period, there were 12,229 Clarks and Clarkes. Thus for every three hammermen we have at least one 'ready writer.' If the Reg. General had reckoned Clark and Clarke as one name, it would have stood ninth in point of numerousness.

As a surname, Clarke appears frequently to have aliased some other appellative; for instance the baronet family, C. of Salford, originally Woodchurch, from the parish of that name in Kent, soon after the Conquest became Clarkes (Le Clerc) in consequence of a marriage with an heiress, and the family for some generations wrote themselves "Woodchurch alias Le Clerc," and vice versa, until at length the territorial appellation succumbed to the professional one, which was right, for.

In 1881, it was recorded that Agricultural Labourer was the most common occupation for Clark with 4% recorded in the UK. A less common occupation for the Clark family was Coal Miner. Agricultural Labourer, Labourer and Farmer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Clark.


1881, 1891 Census The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016. 

1881 Census in Kent

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain.


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    I am looking for areas of origin in Ireland for my grandmother's Clark family. Emigrated to the US before 1860. Robert Clark  (b. 1820 )married Mary McCraw (b. 1832) in Ireland, possibly Carlow or Cork. Traveling to Ireland and want to look up local origins
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    I am a Clark. Highly decorated Airborne Ranger in the US Army, Father was a highly decorated Command Sergeant Major in the Army. Daughter is attending the Citadel to become an Officer in the Navy
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    I am descended from William Clark (of Lewis and Clark Expedition)’s grandfather, in USA.
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    Hello, looking for any relatives to Catherine Clark who married and lived in the Bronx, NY approx 1959 to 1975. Please email directly. Thank you. Debra
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 1 of 3) The Clark name has a long history in Ireland, but now DNA and some recorded history says its origin is from the north-west region of the Emerald Island. The Clark story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup D2] can trace their beginnings to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Clark surname origin is from the Cenél Conaill [R1b-L513, Subgroup D] who found the Dál Fiatach.
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 2 of 3) A group will also found the Kingdom of Ercing in Wales as trade with Romans will become essential around 300 CE. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Clark story begins in pre-history Ireland but this line and many of his kin will move to Wales, then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.
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    Anthony Barrett

    (Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207
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