Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > CLARE

Origin and popularity of the name CLARE


Clare : 1: Irish (Clare Wicklow and Wexford): habitational name from Clare in Suffolk (an eastern county of England) the center of a major Norman baronial estate since the Norman Conquest. The English placename probably originated as a Celtic river name meaning ‘bright gentle or warm’. The surname is not from the Irish county name Clare which is either from the surname or from a place called with Gaelic clár ‘plank bridge’. Another Norman surname in the southeast of Ireland was de Clere from Clères in Seine-Maritime (France) named from the local river.2: English and French: from the Middle English Old French female personal name Cla(i)re (from Latin Clara from clarus ‘clear bright famous’) which achieved some popularity greater elsewhere in Europe than in England through the fame of Saint Clare of Assisi (see Chiara). The English surname seems to have been interchangeable with Clear 1.3: English: occupational name from an agent derivative of Middle English cley ‘clay’. The work of medieval clayers involved plastering a framework of interwoven twigs with mud to produce wattle-and-daub work.4: Americanized form of German Kler and probably also of French Clair or Claire.


Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England
FNI : The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names of Ireland, ©2021 Kay Muhr and Liam Ó hAisibéil
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 168,530 individuals with the name CLARE on Geneanet.


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    Variants of name CLARE