Annie O'Neill

Clark Family

The Clark name has the same remote origins in Ireland, England and Scotland. The Latin word clericus originally meant clergyman and then came to mean clerk or scholar. In Irish, the word clé was anglicised in translation to Clark. Until the end of the 19th century, the names Cleary and Clark were interchangeable in some parts of the country. The O'Clery name was originally found in County Galway and later became widespread in counties Donegal and Derry.

The first Clark ancestor I have located was Francis Clark born somewhere in Ireland about 1795. He gave his occupation as a Hand Loom Weaver for the 1841 Census and he was living Hand Loom Weaver - Francis Clarkat Lyons Lane, Port Glasgow with his wife Peggy, children Fanny 1826, John 1828, Francis 1829, Rebecca 1831 and James 1835 and John and Mary Lillotson. I don’t know if these Lillostsons were related or just boarding with the Clark family.

All the children were given as being born in Renfrewshire so the family had left Ireland sometime before 1827. For the 1851 census Francis was down as being born 1801, still a weaver and living in Newark Street with wife Margt and children Fanny, John now a Mariner, Rebecca and James now also a weaver. Francis may have been a Mariner away as sea for the census, married or deceased.

Both Rebecca and James married in 1859, James married Catherine Roy on 3 Jam 1859 and Rebecca married James Roy (Catherine Roy’s brother) on the 28 September. Francis died on 7 July 1859 of Consumption at Bay Street, Port Glasgow and the family gave his father as Francis Clark a labourer but no details on his mother. Francis’s wife Margaret Green (Peggy) did not show up on the 1861 census in Port Glasgow but in 1871 she was living with her daughter Rebecca and her husband James Clark. She died in April 1875 of Apoplexy and her parents were given as Charles Green, a Coachman and Martha Evans.

I could not find further trace of the children John and Francis, Fanny was not to be found for the 1861 or 1871 census in Scotland but she died unmarried at 34 Bouverie Terrace, Port Glasgow in 1877 of General Decline over several years.

James Roy and Rebecca Clark had three children James 1864, Margaret 1868 and Mary Ann 1872. I could not find the couple in the 1861 census but in the 1871 census James was a Iron Caulker, Rebecca was a Factory worker, Margaret Clark was also a factory worker and Euphomia Clark (Fanny?) was also listed with the family together with two children James and Margaret. They were living in Bay Street, Port Glasgow. James Roy was born 17 July 1835 in County Down, Northern Ireland. I could find no further trace of the family after the birth of Mary Ann Roy in 1872.

James Clark and his wife Catherine Roy’s children were James 1858, Mary Anne 1860, Francis 1863, Charles 1867 and John 1869. They were living at 45 Bay Street, Port Glasgow for the 1861 census and Bouverie Street, Port Glasgow for the 1881 census, I could not locate them in the 1871 census. James was a Boilermaker and Riveter in the Port Glasgow shipyards. Catherine Roy died in 1883 of Dropsy aged 45 years and James Clark her husband died in 1884 of Pneumonia aged 49 years. The youngest of their children, John was only 14 years old. In the 1891 census John was listed as a Rigger and then no further evidence as to what became of him.  I could not locate Mary Ann in the 1891 census or any marriage of death record for her in Scotland.

James Clark 1858 married firstly Mary McCabe and they had two children James 1883 and Catherine 1886.  Mary McCabe died in 1889 after under the influence of alcohol she suffocated in a clothing chest!  Their son James never married and died of pheumonia in 1913 and I could not locate Catherine in Port Glasgow after her mother died.

Mary McCabe Newspaper Report










Next in 1895 James married Rachel Murphy daughter of Helen Murphy and an unknow father, she was born in the Coleraine Workhouse in Derry, Northern Ireland.  Their children were Helen 1897, John Roy 1899 (died aged 1 year), Mary Ann 1902, Francis 1904 (died aged 7.5months) and John 1908

Helen 1897 married Francis McConnaghy in 1916 and after the birth of their fourth child moved to Pensylvannia USA in 1927 where they had another five children.  Mary Ann married George McGowan around 1931 possibly in the USA as their first two children were born there, they were back in Scotland for the birth of their third child in 1938 and George died when the merchant ship SS Gretavale was torpedoed by the Japanese in 1941.  John 1908 was my grandfather and married Annie McDonald in Luton, England on 22 June 1940.  John and Annie had four daughters who all married and thus the name Clark passed out of our family.