The name is derived from the Latin title clarensis which was used among British royalty. It is believed the name first caught on as a given name in the 19th-century.
In 1900, it was the 17th most popular make name in the United States. Though it never reached the top 10, it consistently remained in the U.S. top 100 until around 1951. As of 2010, it was the 983rd most popular male name in the United States.
The name has also occasionally been used in France and in the Spanish-speaking world. In Poland it has been Polonized as Klarencjusz. The designated name-day being April 26.
It was born by early ACLU pioneer, Clarence Darrow (1857-1938) and is currently born by U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas (b.1948).
- H. Fros, F. Sowa, Księga imion i świętych, t. 3, Kraków 1998.