Desmonde History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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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 Desmonde 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 Desmonde is "Mac Gerailt."
Early Origins of the Desmonde family
The surname Desmonde was first found in Munster, where they were granted lands by the Earl of Pembroke during his invasion of Ireland in 1172.
Saint and Bishop Gerald (d. 731), of Magh Eo, now Mayo, "was, according to the life published by the Bollandists, and attributed by Colgan to Augustin Magraidin (1405), a monk from the neighbourhood of Winchester, who, with some companions, migrated to Ireland, in order to lead a solitary life. Another account connects his leaving England with the defeat of St. Colman, bishop of Lindisfarne, at the conference at Whitby on the Easter question. The party landed in Connaught and made their way northward to Sligo. Gerald built a church in Mayo which he called Cill n-ailither, or the Church of the Pilgrims." 
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. 
Maurice Fitzgerald (d. 1176), was the Welsh conqueror of Ireland, "the son Nesta, daughter of Rhys the Great, king of South Wales. He was thus half-brother to Robert Fitzstephen and Meiler Fitzhenry, and brother of David II, Bishop of St. David's. His father Gerald, according to later genealogists, was grandson of Walter Fitzother, who figures in 'Domesday' as a tenant at Windsor and elsewhere, and lord of manors in Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire, Middlesex, and Buckinghamshire." 
Early History of the Desmonde family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Desmonde research. Another 332 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1333, 1411, 1316, 1716, 1513, 1537, 1411, 1809, 1883, 1398, 1513, 1487, 1534, 1534, 1528, 1589, 1612, 1660, 1634, 1664, 1660, 1660 and 1661 are included under the topic Early Desmonde History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Desmonde Spelling Variations
Names were simply spelled as they sounded by medieval scribes and church officials. Therefore, during the lifetime of a single person, his name was often spelt in many different ways, explaining the many spelling variations encountered while researching the name Desmonde. Some of these variations included: Fitzgerald, Geraldines, Desmond, Gerald, Geralds and others.
Early Notables of the Desmonde family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family up to this time was Gerald Fitzgerald, 4th Earl of Desmond (d. 1398), Justiciar of Ireland, the son of Maurice Fitzthomas, the first earl of Desmond.
Gerald Fitzgerald, 8th Earl of Kildare (d. 1513), was son of Thomas Fitzgerald, seventh earl of Kildare.
Gerald Fitzgerald (1487-1534), 9th Earl of Kildare, was impeached of high treason and died for his causes at the Tower of London 1534.
Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, called...
Another 72 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Desmonde Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Desmonde family
Irish immigration to North American began in the late 18th century as many Irish families desired to own their own land. This pattern of immigration grew slowly yet steadily until the 1840s. At that time, a failed crop and a growing population in Ireland resulted in the Great Potato Famine. Poverty, disease, and starvation ravaged the land. To ease their pain and suffering the Irish often looked upon North America as a solution: hundreds of thousands undertook the voyage. Their arrival meant the growth of industry and commerce for British North America and the United States. For the individual Irishman, it meant survival and hope, and the opportunity for work, freedom, and ownership of land. The early immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Desmonde: Redmond Fitzgerald landed in Virginia in 1635.
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The Desmonde Motto +
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.
- ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
- ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)