Show ContentsFitsmorris History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Norman invaders, if they could be called that since their movement into the eastern portion of Ireland was relatively peaceful, added their old Norman conventions for surnames to the previously established Irish system for hereditary surnames. One of the most frequent forms of surnames for both cultures was the patronymic surname, which was formed from the name of the original bearer's father or grandfather. The Norman tradition that the Anglo-Normans brought with them used diminutive suffixes such as "-ot," "-et," "-un," "-in," or "-el." to demonstrate the bearer's relation to the male relative. Occasionally, two suffixes were combined to form a double diminutive, as in the combinations of "-el-in," "-el-ot," "-in-ot," and "-et-in." The Normans also formed patronymic surnames in a manner very similar to the Irish: they simply added a prefix to their father's name. These Anglo-Norman people, however, used the prefix Fitz-, which was derived from the French word "fils," and ultimately from the Latin "filius," which both mean "son." Although this prefix probably originated in Flanders or Normandy, it can now only be found in Ireland. The surname Fitsmorris is derived from Mac Muiris. The name means "son of Morris." The personal names Maurice and Morris are derived from the Latin name Mauritus, which is itself a derivative of Maurus.

Early Origins of the Fitsmorris family

The surname Fitsmorris was first found in Kerry, Galway and Mayo. "No more illustrious name than Fitz Maurice is to be found in the annals of Ireland, for it was borne during several generations by the descendants of Maurice Fitz Gerald, the founder of the great historical house of Geraldine. He was companion-in-arms of the redoubtable Earl Strongbow, and by his gift Baron of Naas and Wicklow. One of his sons was the ancestor of the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster-Premier Dukes of Ireland; from another sprung the princely Desmonds, and a line of seventeen powerful Earls." [1]

Early History of the Fitsmorris family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitsmorris research. Another 156 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1485, 1810, 1893, 1502, 1590, 1551, 1600, 1633, 1696, 1668, 1741, 1694 and 1747 are included under the topic Early Fitsmorris History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fitsmorris Spelling Variations

Pronunciation, rather than spelling, guided the early scribes and church officials in recording names. This process of estimation often produced to the misleading result of one person's name being recorded under several different spellings. Numerous spelling variations of the surname Fitsmorris are preserved in documents of the family history. The various spellings of that name included Fitzmaurice, Fitzmorris, FitzMaurice, FitzMorris, Morris and many more.

Early Notables of the Fitsmorris family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family name at this time was Rev. Francis Orpen Morris (1810-1893) of Cork, author of works on natural history. The Fitzmaurices have traditionally held the position of Lord Kerry and Baron Lixnaw. They include: Thomas Fitzmaurice, sixteenth Lord Kerry and Baron Lixnaw (1502-1590), who was the youngest son of Edmund Fitzmaurice, tenth lord Kerry. His son, Patrick Fitzmaurice, the seventeenth Lord Kerry and Baron...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fitsmorris Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fitsmorris family

During the late 18th and 19th centuries hundreds, of thousands of Irish left their homeland for North American shores. The earlier settlers left for the promise of free land or to participate in the development of what was seen as a new land. This pattern of immigration continued for many years, growing at a slow but steady pace. The 1840s, however, forever disrupted this pattern. In that decade, Ireland experienced an unprecedented plague of disease, starvation, and death, all of which were produced by the failure of the island's potato crop. That decade alone the numbers of people leaving the island rivaled all of the previous years of Irish immigration combined. When these large immigrants hit North American shores they unfortunately encountered more discrimination from the established population. They were, however, very warmly received by industrialists and those with a passion for nation building. The former saw the Irish as a cheap source of labor required for the extraction of coal and lumber, and the manufacture of products, the latter regarded them as a means to occupy the west and to construct the essential bridges, railways, canals, and roadways required by an industrialized nation. Whenever and however the Irish arrived in North America, they were instrumental to the development of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Irish name of Fitsmorris: Charles, Jeremy, John, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas Fitzmaurice all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870; John FitzMorris arrived in New England in 1773.

  1. Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3 on Facebook