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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Fitzgerald family come from? What is the Irish Fitzgerald family crest and coat of arms? When did the Fitzgerald family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Fitzgerald family history?

The Strongbownians added their own naming traditions to the eastern region of Ireland to which they arrived. The impact of this new tradition was not extremely disruptive to the pre-existing Irish tradition because the two had many similarities. Both cultures made significant use of hereditary surnames. And like the Irish, the Strongbownians often used prefixes to build patronymic surnames, which are names based on the given name of the initial bearer's father or another older relative. Strongbow's followers often created names that were built with the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word fils, and ultimately from the Latin filius, both of which mean son. They also used diminutive suffixes such as "-ot," "-et," "-un," "-in," or "-el," and occasionally even two suffixes combined to form a double diminutive such as "-el-in," "-el-ot," "-in-ot," and "-et-in," to build patronymic names. The surname Fitzgerald is derived from the Norman personal name Gerald, which consists of the Germanic elements "geri" or "gari," which mean "spear," and "wald," which means "rule." The name features the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix fitz, which means son of in Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately comes from the Latin word "filius." The Gaelic form of the surname Fitzgerald is "Mac Gerailt."


Church officials and medieval scribes spelled names as they sounded; therefore, single person, could have his name spelt many different ways during their lifetime. While investigating the origins of the name Fitzgerald, many spelling variations were encountered, including: Fitzgerald, Geraldines, Desmond, Gerald, Geralds and others.

First found in Munster, where they were granted lands by the Earl of Pembroke during his invasion of Ireland in 1172. Otho Geraldino, one of the chief commanders of Williams the Conqueror landed in England at the time of the Conquest and was created a Baron for his efforts. As Norman constable of Pembroke, South Wales, he went into Ireland with Strongbow in the Anglo- Norman invasion. Two generations later, Maurice was the first to use the name Fitzgerald. He was granted lands in Munster in the south of Ireland. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitzgerald research. Another 663 words(47 lines of text) covering the years 1333, 1411, 1316, 1716, 1513, 1537, 1411, 1809, 1883, 1534, 1612, 1660, 1634, 1664, 1660, 1660 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Fitzgerald History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 155 words(11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fitzgerald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland went through one of the most devastating periods in its history with the arrival of the Great Potato Famine of the 1840s. Many also lost their lives from typhus, fever and dysentery. And poverty was the general rule as tenant farmers were often evicted because they could not pay the high rents. Emigration to North America gave hundreds of families a chance at a life where work, freedom, and land ownership were all possible. For those who made the long journey, it meant hope and survival. The Irish emigration to British North America and the United States opened up the gates of industry, commerce, education and the arts. Early immigration and passenger lists have shown many Irish people bearing the name Fitzgerald:

Fitzgerald Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Redmond Fitzgerald landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Cate Fitzgerald, who landed in Maryland in 1678
  • Luke FitzGerald, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • Moriss FitzGerald, who arrived in Maryland in 1678
  • Thomas FitzGerald, who landed in Maryland in 1678

Fitzgerald Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Fitzgerald, who arrived in New England in 1717
  • Patrick Fitzgerald, who landed in New England in 1738
  • Anne Fitzgerald, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1743
  • Eliza Fitzgerald, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1744
  • William Fitzgerald, who arrived in America in 1760

Fitzgerald Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Morris Fitzgerald, who landed in New York, NY in 1811
  • Robert Fitzgerald, aged 31, landed in Louisiana in 1812
  • John G Fitzgerald, aged 39, landed in Georgia in 1812
  • Mary Fitzgerald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815
  • Matthew Fitzgerald, who landed in New York, NY in 1815

Fitzgerald Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Margarett Fitzgerald, who landed in Colorado in 1907
  • Edward James Fitzgerald, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1926


  • John Francis Fitzgerald (1863-1950), Irish-American politician and grandfather of President John F. Kennedy
  • Michael G. Fitzgerald (1950-2006), American film historian and author
  • Ella Fitzgerald (1918-1996), American jazz singer, considered one of the most influential jazz vocalists of the 20th Century and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • James F. Fitzgerald (b. 1926), American businessman and philanthropist
  • Frances FitzGerald (b. 1940), American journalist and author awarded the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • Brigadier-General Shepler Ward FitzGerald (1884-1953), American Commandant of Army Air Force Radio School Number 4 (1943-1946)
  • Barry Fitzgerald (1888-1961), Academy Award winning Irish actor
  • Garrett FitzGerald (1926-2011), Irish politician, former Prime Minister on two occasions
  • George Francis Fitzgerald (1851-1901), Irish physicist
  • Geraldine Fitzgerald (1913-2005), Irish-American actress and member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame



  • Proud Shoes: The Story of An American Family by Pauli Murray.
  • The Knights of Glin: A Geraldine Family (also Fitzgerald) by J. Anthony Gaughan.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crom aboo
Motto Translation: Crom for ever.


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  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigress 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)

Other References

  1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  2. MacLysaght, Edward. Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7).
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. Sullivan, Sir Edward. The Book of Kells 3rd Edition. New York: Crescent Books, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-517-61987-3).
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  10. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  11. ...

The Fitzgerald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Fitzgerald Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 5 September 2014 at 22:53.

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