Origins of the Cloud Surname
The Cloud Family Association Historian, genealogist Jan Cloud, wrote:
"I have heard at various
gatherings that the names McCLOUD, MacCLOUD, McCLEOD, etc. were changed to Cloud
after emigration to America.
This is a sweeping generalization and over simplification ....
Possibly some were changed, but I have traced only one Cloud family where
there is evidence of that. Forrest
Cloud, Revolutionary Soldier of CT and later of Vermont
had a brother who did not serve in the Revolution (that I could find) who left
many descendants in Vermont.
I spent hours trying to connect them to the PA Clouds, but finally found
a record in CT that indicates their name was originally MaCleod ( can't remember
the exact spelling here) and would therefore presumably be Scottish.
"There are also very
suspicious ties to the names CLOYD and CLOUDT.
Cloudt, to my knowledge, is usually of German origin.
I often copy these in indexes, but as yet, have not found that they converted
the name to Cloud. I used to copy
Cloyds when they appeared in indexes with Clouds, but have pretty much given
that up. My gut feeling became that
Cloyd was common enough to represent a separate name, unrelated to Cloud.
There might have been an occasional one that was a misspelling of Cloud,
but I have no evidence for that.
Also, the story of the Cloud family originating in
France gives rise to asking -- what was the
early French surname, if any? I was in correspondence with a person several years
ago who said that she traced the name back to
France (I assume as Cloud, but she did not say).
I heard no further from her when I asked about her sources.
She was a very new tracer of family history, so I'd really like to see
the evidence which she never provided.
"There is a family of
Clouds who settled in Cincinnati that list their
origin in the census as from
They used the regular spelling of Cloud in this country.
Many years ago, Roy
Cloud of Redwood City, CA
said that he had found a listing of a "de la Cloude" on a roll of archers in
in the 1400s (as I recall). I asked
his widow if she could give me the source for that info.
She promised to look, but I never heard back from her.
on English surnames identify Cloud(e) as stemming from "a dweller near a hill."
The name goes back in English parish registers to the 1500s.
However, there were clusters of Clouds in areas other than Wiltshire in
early records, so it may be possible that the name sprang up independently in
(The following excerpted from a paper entitled:
CLOUD FAMILY; Compiled by Rachel Adams (Cloud) Pond; Regent, Pierre Van Cortlandt
Chapter, D.A.R., Peekskill, New York, and by Chaplain (Col.) Clifton Ray Pond,
D.D.; Member, Empire State Society, S.A.R.; New York, 1961.)
Several theories regarding the origin
of the Cloud name in England have been found. Bardsley’s Dictionary of
English and Welsh Surnames speaks of “Cloud” from the Norman “Cloet”, appearing
in County Somerset in 1379, as Robert Watte Cloud, and Richard Cloud or Clode.
Potts, in “Our Family Ancestors”, and
Elizabeth Seip, who has written a pamphlet on the Clouds (part of which is included
in Pott’s book) state that there were Clouds in England centuries before the
coming of the Normans, so the family could not derive from the Norman, Roger
Cloet, who arrived in England in 1185. The first Cloud in England was a
Frankish Chieftain who joined the Saxons at an early time in the invasion of
Britain. The name is found especially in the southwestern counties - a
region in which the Saxon element has always predominated.
Miss Seip says that the bearers of the
CLOUD NAME can claim descent from Frankish Knights and Royal Saints.
Another theory has been given us by
Alexander Moore Cloud of Tazewell, Tenn., who made quite an intensive study of
his branch of the Cloud Family. He writes that the family descends from
the McCloud (McLeod) Clan of Scotland, a small clan that was almost wiped out
in the latter part of the sixteenth century by smallpox. Only three women
and two men survived. One of the men went to Ireland, where his descendants
are called McCloud. The other man went to Wiltshire, England, and dropped
the “Mac” from his name. He purchased a large tract of land, studied law
and got into England's political circles. He was the father of five children
- two sons and three daughters. The younger son went to France, married
at age 48, had one daughter and one son named Abner Cloud. This Abner became
a Roman Catholic priest and remained unmarried. The older son was named
William Cloud in honor of his father’s friend, William Penn. William Cloud
was born in Wiltshire, England in 1620, bought land in Pennsylvania of William
Penn, and became the founder of the CLOUD FAMILY in America.