The Clark Family
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

Left=The Clergy Emblem depicting the Burning bush, the symbol of the Church of Scotland. Middle=the Clergy Plaid. Right the Irish Clergy Crest.

Motto=Nec tamen consumebatur ("and it was not consumed").

In the early Middle Ages any literate person could style himself clericus, a word which was appended to signatures in countless documents of that time. The Ragman Roll of 1296 contains the names of nine persons calling themselves Clark, but these probably did not become surnames. Later the surname Le Clerc surfaced. Clerk meant secretary, scribe, scholar, or clerk. In Gaelic it was Cleiriach, which became Cleary and MacCleary in Ireland.

O'Cleirigh meant "grandson of the scribe" in Irish Gaelic. The surname Cleary came from Cleireach of Connacht, who was born around 829 A.D. Clerk/Clark is the oldest true surname recorded anywhere in Europe. The Irish branch, of this family group, settled in Derry and Donegal, Ireland; where they became famous poets. In Cavan, Ireland, the name was anglized as Clarke.

The clergy in the Scottish Highlands belonged to a militant order. It was recorded that a clergyman in Skye in the 18th century attended church with his two-handed sword, and that his servant walked behind with his bow and a case of arrows.

When Presbyterianism became Scotland's national church, there was opposition and many times the service could not be held or was postponed, when a certain person came to the door . It is said that Colin Campbell, minister of Ardchatten, was denied admittance by the MacDonalds. Campbell, however, was ready for the cause. He was dressed in his kilt, and armed with a sword in one hand and a cocked pistol in the other, and defied the masses to remove him. Many surnames are of ecclesiastical origin (Clark, Gilchrist, Gillies, MacClery, MacGilchrist, MacMillian, MacNab, MacNiven, MacPherson, MacTaggart, and MacVicar).

Clark is the fourteenth (14th) most common surname in Scotland. Johannes Clark was prior of Scone in 1524. George Rodger Clark (1752-1818) held possession of the Southwest territory in Ohio, and was of Scottish descent.

Clan Chattan was the clan of the Clarks.


The crest of George T. Clark, Esquire

George T. Clark, Esquire. Dowlais House Merthyr Tydvil, a lion, rampant; supporting a shield, gyrommy of eight. Motto: Try and tryst.

Clark shield

Clark - in hand a dagger, in bend sinister.


Clerk/Clarks found in the Ragman Rolls of 1296 were:

  1. Clerk of Colgynton, Adam of the County of Edinburgh
  2. Clerk de Eyeton, William of the County Berwickshire
  3. Clerk de Louweder, William le fiz Alain of the County of Berwickshire.
  4. Clerk de Rokesburgh/Roxburgh, Walter County of Roxburgh
  5. Clerk, Guy burger of Jeddeworth
  6. Clerk, Pieres, County of Edinburgh.
  7. Clerk, Richard, citizen of Jeddeworth
  8. Clerk, William of the County of Lanark


Ann Agnes Clark, was born in Portsoy on March 26, 1858, and was christened on April 5, 1858 in Berryhillock, Deskford, Banffshire, Scotland. In the 1861 Scottish Census, Agnes Ann Clark was 3 years old. Their address was 9 South High Street, in Fordyce District, Portsoy, Banffshire, Scotland.

She married Alexander Malcolm on November 6, 1883 in Leslie, Fifeshire, Scotland..

Alexander Malcolm was born August 12, 1859, Parish of Leslie, Auchtermuchty, County of Fife, Scotland. Alexander was an engineer with White's Engineering Company in Auchtermuchty.

Ann Agnes had a sister, Georgina Clark, who was born on August 28, 1860 in Fordyce, Banff, Scotland and worked in a paper mill; and a brother, William James Clark, who was born June 20, 1863 in Fordyce, Banff. William was a pattern-maker for a firm in Leslie, Fifeshire, Scotland


Ludovich William Clark was born on May 3, 1835, in Ordiquhill Parish, County of Banff, Scotland; and baptized on May 17, 1835, in Ordiquhill Parish, Banffshire, Scotland. His Birth/Baptism records show his father as George Clarke and his mother as Anne Dow. Witnesses to the birth were William Elder of Corcairn and George Watson of Nethermill. Ludovich lived in High Street Dutchess Cottage in the 1882 census,in the parish of Leslie, Fifeshire, Scotland. He was a master shoemaker and a Constable. Ludovich is from the Gaelic Maldonuich, and it is an ancient name. Ludovich (age 22) was living in Berryhillock Parish, Deskford, Banffshire, Scotland when he married (1)Isabella Grieve (age 21) on June 18, 1857 in Ordiquhill Parish, Berryhillock, Deskford, Scotland. Again Ludovich's parents are listed as George Clark and Ann Dow. Ludovich and Anne were married by Alexander Spencer, Free Church Minister of Cornhill. Witnesses to their marriage were: William Elder of Corncairn and George Watson of Nethermill. Isabella was the daughter of Charles Grieve, schoolmaster, and Christian Shee(marriage certificate). Isabella was born around 1838. When Ludovich and Isabella were married, she was living in Portsoy, Parish of Fordyce, Scotland. After the death of Isabella on March 5, 1864, Ludovich married (2) Helen Girden Farquharson (age 24), daughter of John Farquarson, an agricultural laborer, and Ann Stewart; on November 24, 1864 in Dufftown, Fordyce, Banff, Scotland (8 months after the death of Isabella). Helen lived in Dun Hose, according to the marriage records. "After banns according to the Forms of the Established Church of Scotland." Ludovich and Helen were married by John Innes, Minister of Fordyce. Ludowich is again listed as a master shoemaker and widower age 28. Witnesses were: Robert Wilson and James Clark. Helen was christened on October 19, 1840, at Mortlach, Banff County, Scotland. Helen's parents were: John Farquharson, an agricultural laborer, and Ann Stewart. Helen is shown in the 1881 census.


George Clark is listed as a merchant tailor, finishing tailor, and postmaster. George was christened February 2, 1801 in Udny, Aberdeen, Scotland. His parents are listed as John Clark and Isobel Moir. He was residing at Corncairn when his son Ludovick(h) was born. He was listed as a merchant general on the marriage license of his son, Ludovich. He married Ann Dow, daughter of Harry Dow and Helen Watt, on January 19, 1823 in Old Machar, Aberdeenshire, Scotland (this is also recorded in Kinnethmont/Kennethmont Parish as February 4, 1823). I can only guess that the first was the marriage application and the second the actual marriage date.

Ann Dow was christened in 1802 in Echt, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Ann died on May 5, 1886 in Cornhill, Parish of Ordiquihill, Banff, Scotland, of heart disease. On the death certificate, her parents are listed as Henry Dow (crofter) and Helen Watt. Informants were: George Clark and John Raffan (her son-in-law).

The children of George and Anne Clark were:

  1. Agnes Clark was born in 1825 in Kennethmont, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
  2. Elizabeth "Elsie" Clarke was baptized in 1826 in Rhynie/Kennethmont, Aberdeen, Scotland. Elsie married William McKay on May 21/27, 1854 in Ordiquhill, Banff, Scotland. William was born January 19, 1837, in Marnock, Banff, Scotland.

    The Children of Elizabeth and William McKay were:

    Ann McKay was born July 8, 1855 in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    Mary McKay was born January 4, 1857, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    Elizabeth McKay (twin of William) was born August 12, 1858, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    William McKay (twin of Elizabeth) was born August 12, 1858, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    George McKay was born January 14, 1861, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    John Hutcheon McKay was born September 14, 1863, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.
    Alexander McKay was born November 20, 1865, in Marnock, Banffshire, Scotland.

  3. Helen Clark was baptized in 1826 in Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland(Elsie and Helen were twins). Helen Clarke married John Raffan. John was a crofter in the 1881 census and had 6 acres of land in Cornhill, Ordiquhill, Banffshire, Scotland.

    John Raffin was born December 7, 1855 in Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland. John is mentioned as :son in law" on Ann Clark's (ms Dow's) death certificate.
    Ann Raffin was born August 12, 1858 in Ordiquhill, Banffshire, Scotland.
    George Hay Gordon Raffin was born August 12, 1858 in Ordiquhill, Banffshire, Scotland.

  4. George Clark was born July 15, 1827, in Blackhillock, and baptized on July 30, 1827, in Ordiquihill, Banffshire, Scotland.. At the time of George's birth, his father, George, was residing at Blackhillocks, as post office station subordinate in Keith, Banffshire, Scotland. Witnesses to his baptism were: William Mitchell of Scatterly, and George Runcie os Culsin, Boyndie. George married Robina Johnston Walker.

  5. John Clark was born February 7, 1929 and baptized February 20, 1829. (Ordiquhill Parish Records) Witnesses were: William Mitchell Scatterly and George Runcie, Culpin, Moyndie.

  6. Ludovich(k) William Clark was born on May 3, 1835 and baptized on May 17, 1835 (see above) Ordiquhill Parish, Banffshire, Scotland. At this time, his father was living in Corncairn. Witnesses were: William Elder, Corncairn, and George Watson, Nethersville.

    Ludovich was shown in the 1851 census for Ordiquhill, Rothiemay, Cornhill as an apprentice shoemaker (age 15) to James Raffin (age 37)shoemaker and is living with him and his wife Margaret.

  7. James Clark was born May 2, 1939 in Corncairn and baptized May 20, 1839. James was a druggist when residing in Portsoy, Banffshire, Scotland. Witnesses were: William Edler, Corncairn and Walter Bernysman, Corncairn. James married (1) Charlotte Emily Kirkton, daughter of Alexander Kirkton, a farmer and Isobel Sharp. They were married on September 1, 1864 in Cornhill Parish, Ordiquhill, Banffshire, Scotland. James parents are lisited as George Clark, merchant (deceased) and Ann Clark (ms Dow).

    Charlotte was christened on October 26, 1841 in Ordiquhill, Barnffshire, Scotland. Charlotte was living in Culphin, Ordiquhill, Banffshire, Scotland, at the time of their marriage. Charlotte's parents were lisited as: Alexander Kirkton, a farmer, and Isabella Kirkton (ms Sharp). They were married by Alexander Spencer, Minister of Free Church of Cornhill. Witnesses to their marriage were: James Morrison and Ludovich William Clark. It is thought that Charlotte died before 1881, since she is no longer on the 1881 census, instead James is married to a Jeannie ?.

    The Children of James and Charlotte Clark were:

    Isabella Ann Clark was born on August 20, 1865. in Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland.
    George Alexander Clark was born on May 10, 1867, in Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland. He is found living with his father and his second wife in the 1881 census.
    James Clark was born on December 6, 1869, in Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland.
    John Francis Clark was born on April 10, 1872, in Fordyce, Banffshire, Scotland.
    ? (F) Clark was born in 1880 in Portsoy, Banffshire, Scotland. Since this child seemingly died before she was named, this might be when Charlotte died as well?

  8. Alexander Clark was born in 1842 (?) in Ordiquhill, Banff. He married Elspeth Baird who was christened February 23, 1850 in Leochel, Suchnie, Aberdeen.

    Children of Alexander Clark and Elspeth Baird were:

    Alexander Clark was born November 13, 1873, in Aboyne, Aberdeen.

    Jane R. Clark was born in 1879 in Aboyne, Aberdeen.

***William Smith, George Clark's nephew was also a tailor and was living with his family in 1851 census. He was from Auchindo.


John Clark married (1) Elizabeth Moir and (2)Isobel Moir

The Child of George and Elizabeth was:

  1. James Clark was christened on September 8, 1799 in Aberdeen, Undy, Scotland.
    The Children of George Clark and Isobel (Moir) were:

  2. George Clark was christened on February 2, 1801 in Udny, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

  3. Robert Clark was christened on April 13, 1802 in Udny, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

  4. James Clark was christened on June 29, 806 in the chapel of Garioch, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

  5. Ann Clark was christened on March 4, 1811, in Invevurie, Aberdeen, Scotland.

  6. Andrew Clark was christened on May 11, 1821 in Invevurie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

    ***A special thanks to Anne Dow, for sharing her records on this family!

  7. William Clark was born April 27, 1809 at Crosshill, Parish of Tarves, Aberdeen, Scotland. He married Rachel Callander (b. December 27, 1819 in Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland). Rachel died January 1867 and is buried in St. Patrick's cemetary in Kinmount Ontario, Canada.

    This information (about William Clark) was submitted by He says that William moved to Jamaica as a missionary and that several of their children were born there, before they moved to Ontario, Canada, and later Kansas. William Clark is said to be buried there in the Welcome Cemetary. William died February 10, 1895. I have not explored these records as yet.

    For More Information About the Scottish Clarks:

    Ms. Elissa H. Perry
    P.O. Box 11096
    Lexington, KY 40512


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