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I am of mixed Scottish, Welsh and miscellaneous ancestry. My mother and father's families were, respectively, named Davis and Clark. Growing up with my mother and her mother, I learned more about that side of my family, which was itself half Scottish - including a sojourn in Ireland courtesy of Oliver Cromwell and his adherents - and half Welsh.


photo of Gavin and Andrew.
G&A ca. 1994.


My sons Gavin and Andrew are making their mark despite my shortcomings.

Most of the interactive features of our Clark IP sites and systems have been created by Gavin, whose late night forays into Webland allow us to keep up with the Cyberjoneses.

Our "Asia office" (from 2014 AKA our Singapore office) is valiantly manned by "musuko-san" (honorable number two son) Andy, in real life disguised as manager for Asia for a US-based software firm.


Clark: This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a medieval occupational name for a scribe or secretary, or for a member of a minor religious order. The word "clerc", from the Olde English pre-7th Century "cler(e)c", priest, originally denoted a member of a religious order only, but since the clergy of minor orders were allowed to marry and so found families, the surname could become established.

It should also be noted that during the Middle Ages virtually the only people who were able to read and write were members of religious orders and it was therefore natural that the term "clark" or "clerk" would come to be used of any literate man, particularly the professional secretary and the scholar. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. Early usage does not distinguish clearly between profession and family.

One Richerius Clericus, Hampshire, appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. The first recorded spelling as the family name is apparently that of Willelm le Clerec, which was dated 1100, in "The Old English Byname Register of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. An early governor of Edinburgh Castle around 1190 was named Clerk, but it is unclear whether that was a position or a surname. Other early recordings include: Reginald Clerc, noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Rutland (1205), and John le Clerk, registered in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire (1272). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Clark, Clarke, Clerk and Clerke.

Richard Clarke (no relation) was noted as a passenger on the "Mayflower" bound for the New World in 1620. Lawrence Clark, together with his wife, Margaret, and son, Thomas, were famine emigrants who sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Shenandoah", bound for New York in March 1846.

When translated into Gaelic it becomes Chleirich, resulting in Mac a'Chleirich - son of the clerk (surviving mainly in McCleary, or MacChlery, often anglicised recursively back to Clarkson).

The name also appears in Italian as di Clerico, in French as le Clerc, in Dutch as de Klerk, in Swedish as Klerck and Klarck. Several other European languages have an equivalent, such as Schreiber in German. In Japanese, Clark is spelled クラーク, and so it goes.


Miscellaneous Genealogy

Be ye Mac, M' or Mc?
The number of letters doesn't clearly define the origin of one's "macness." Didna ma'er then and doesna ma'er now.
Coon Hunting in Rhode Island
An abbreviated list of web sources on the Clark family tree.
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