Explore the Family Name Clare

The meaning of 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. History: The Irish suname is borne by an extensive family, now spread throughout the world. Its bearers claim descent from one of the first Normans to become established in Ireland (in 1170–72), namely Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, better known as ‘Strongbow’, whose surname was derived from his estate at Clare in Suffolk.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Clare's popularity saw a slight decrease in rank from 2000 to 2010, moving from 7328 to 7702 - a change of -5.1%. Despite this drop in rank, the count of individuals with the surname Clare actually increased by 2.86% during the same period, going from 4189 to 4309. The proportion of individuals with the surname Clare per 100,000 also decreased slightly, falling by 5.81%.

Proportion per 100k1.551.46-5.81%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Clare

In terms of ethnicity, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the distribution for the surname Clare showed some notable changes between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander more than doubled, increasing by 119.74%. The Hispanic population also saw growth, with an increase of 52.22%. Those identifying as Black saw a smaller increase of 8.29%. Meanwhile, the proportion identifying as White decreased by 3.16%, and those reporting two or more races also declined by 24.24%. The American Indian and Alaskan Native group witnessed a minor decrease of 2.22%.

Asian/Pacific Islander0.76%1.67%119.74%
Two or More Races1.65%1.25%-24.24%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.45%0.44%-2.22%

Clare 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 Clare is British & Irish, which comprises 53.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.2%) and Italian (4.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Ashkenazi Jewish, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Nigerian.

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British & Irish53.7%
French & German22.2%

Possible origins of the surname Clare

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 Clare have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom88.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom88.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom88.40%
Greater London, United Kingdom88.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom87.10%

What Clare 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 Clare 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 I-S2606 and I-L38, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Colley, Weathers, Laurie, Prince, Moon, Gee, Maxwell, Cody, Stead, Brett.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Clare surname are: H1, H3, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

clarePaternal 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 Clare 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.

"Clare" Surname 52.2%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Clare" Surname 39.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Clare" Surname 20.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Clare" Surname 19.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Clare?

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 Clare 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%