Clinton Surname Genealogy

Clinton has both English
and Irish roots.  The principal English derivation is from a place
name in Oxfordshire, Glympton.  The lords of Glympton were first
Climptons and later Clintons.  A branch of this family transposed
itself to County Longford in Ireland in the 1650’s.  There was
also in Ireland the Scots/Irish McClintock which sometimes contracted
to McClinton and sometimes further to Clinton.

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Clinton Ancestry

England.  The Clintons of
were a substantial family, playing their role in
political life, with some interruptions, from the 12th to
19th centuries.  Geoffrey de Clinton was the chamberlain to Henry
I and he built Kenilworth castle in Warwickshire.  William Clinton
was Lord High Admiral of
England in 1333. Seven generations later, Edward Clinton held the same
title in Elizabethan times and was ennobled as Lord Lincoln.  His
descendant Henry Clinton became the second Duke of Newcastle in 1768.

However, this family’s fortunes took a nosedive during the Victorian
era.  Henry Lord Clinton had to flee the country because of his
gambling debts (only in the end to save himself by marriage to a
wealthy heiress); while his brother Arthur Lord Clinton committed
suicide after having become embroiled in a sensational court case where
his love letters to a transvestite were read out.

Ireland.  A Clinton,
Clinton, had supported the Royalist cause during the
English Civil War and lost his estates as a result.  He settled
instead in Longford County, Ireland.  His son Charles decided not
to stay. He set off for America in the summer of 1729 with a
group of like-minded Protestants who formed the Clinton Company.

The largest numbers of Clintons in Ireland were to be
found in County
Louth where a Clinton family had arrived as part of John de Courcy’s
Anglo-Norman invasion force in the 1180’s.  Their family fortunes
took a downturn during Cromwellian times when Stephen Clinton of Clintonstown lost his

There were also Scots
McClintons in County Down (McClintocks whose name had
contracted to McClinton).  Many of these Clintons and McClintons
also emigrated.

America.  The early
Clintons show a curious English/Irish disparity:

  • the English
    Clintons – George Clinton a governor of New York between 1743 and 1753
    and his son Sir Henry
    who commanded the English troops for part of the Revolutionary War –
    returned to England.
  • but the Charles Clinton who had arrived
    Ireland settled in upstate New York and his descendants became
    thoroughly Americanized.

Charles’s youngest son, was an American general during the
Revolutionary War and emerged as a hero.  When the British
evacuated New York in 1783, Washington and Clinton led the American
forces back into the city
side by side on
.  His
nephew DeWitt Clinton was largely responsible for the building of the
Erie Canal (labelled at the time Clinton’s ditch).  But the canal
proved a great commercial success and the Clinton name was celebrated
not only in New York but also in the Midwest.

Clintons in the South.
Clinton, the seat of Sampson county in North Carolina, was named after
Richard Clinton, a Revolutionary War officer and politician.
Richard was the illegitimate son of John Sampson and his servant girl
Rachel Clinton and he inherited the family wealth and position after
Sampson’s death in 1762.  Both Sampson and Clinton were of Scots
Irish origin.

What then of Bill Clinton’s ancestry?  Genealogists find a typical
Southern mishmash of southern and border forebears.  Clinton’s
mother side had Irish roots.  However, Clinton took the name not
of his natural father but of his step-father, Roger Clinton.  The
most influential person in his youth was probably his step-uncle,
Raymond Clinton,
a small-time Arkansas operator who had his political
connections and ran a Buick franchise in Hot Springs.

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If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

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Edward Clinton, Earl of Lincoln, was Lord High Admiral of England in
Elizabethan times.
George Clinton
was an American hero of the revolutionary War and later
became US Vice President.  DeWitt Clinton was mainly responsible for the construction of the
Erie Canal.  William Jefferson Clinton, born in Hope Arkansas, was the 42nd
President of the United States.
Rodham Clinton

was Senator for New York, US Secretary of State, and subsequently ran
unsuccessfully for the Presidency in 2016.

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  • 3,500 in the UK (most numerous
    in Durham)
  • 4,500 in America (most numerous
    in Texas).
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)



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