Explore the Family Name Clair

The meaning of Clair

1. French: from the male personal name Clair (from Latin Clarus ‘illustrious’), which was borne by two early Christian saints, a 3rd-century bishop of Nantes and the 4th-century St. Clair of Aquitaine. 2. French: nickname for a cheerful individual, from the adjective clair ‘bright, light’. Compare Leclair 1. 3. American shortened form of French Leclair 1, a cognate of 2 above. 4. Americanized form of German Klare or perhaps Klehr. Compare Klair 1. 5. Irish: variant of Clare or a shortened form of McClair, itself probably a shortened and altered form of McCleary.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Clair in the United States?

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Clair has seen a slight decrease between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Clair was ranked as the 6,858th most popular surname, dropping to the 7,292nd position in 2010, representing a 6.33% decline. Despite the drop in rank, the count of individuals with the Clair surname increased from 4,520 in 2000 to 4,571 in 2010, indicating a growth rate of 1.13%. However, the proportion of people named Clair per 100,000 decreased by 7.74%.

Proportion per 100k1.681.55-7.74%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Clair

On the aspect of ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows some shifts among those bearing the surname Clair between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of White individuals with the surname declined slightly by 4.06%, whereas the Black population saw an increase of 19.37%. The Hispanic community also recorded a significant rise of 74.22%. There was a substantial increase in the number of individuals identifying with two or more races and the Asian/Pacific Islander ethnicity, growing by 54.10% and 31.58%, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals with the surname dropped by 19.51%.

Two or More Races1.22%1.88%54.1%
Asian/Pacific Islander1.33%1.75%31.58%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.82%0.66%-19.51%

Clair ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Clair is British & Irish, which comprises 49.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (24.4%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (6.3%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Eastern European, Spanish & Portuguese, and Nigerian.

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British & Irish49.1%
French & German24.4%
Ashkenazi Jewish6.3%

Possible origins of the surname Clair

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Clair have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom81.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom81.50%
West Midlands, United Kingdom81.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom81.50%
Greater London, United Kingdom81.50%

What Clair haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Clair is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L48 and I-M438, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Haupt, Bullen, Towers, Edmunds, Symons, Ralph, Banner, Rennie, Knott, Mackie.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Clair surname are: U5, H1, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

clairPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Clair have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Clair" Surname 37.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Clair" Surname 17.1%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Clair" Surname 16.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Clair" Surname 16.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Clair?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Clair are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%