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Clerk Genealogy and Clerk Family History Information

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About the Clerk surname

CLERK, a surname, as already stated, derived from the word Clericus,  the designation given in the dark ages to those of the clergy and the few other persons who acquired the arts of reading and writing, for the purpose of being able to transcribe the orders of the sovereign, the sentences of courts, and the acts of the legislature; kings and nobles, in those remote times, confining their attention almost exclusively to martial exercises and deeds of arms. Blackstone observes “that the Judges were usually created out of the sacred order; and all the inferior offices were supplied by the lower clergy, which has occasioned their successors to be denominated clerks to this day.” – Comm. i. 17. “Adam the clerk, son of Philip the scribe, occurs as the designation of a person mentioned in an ancient record at Newcastle.” [Lower on English Surnames.] The name of Clericus was assumed both by those who held such offices, and by their descendants. Clark and Clarke, the English method of spelling it, are but variations of the same name. Though the spelling may be different, the pronunciation is invariable Clark.

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