Fitzgeffray History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Norman prefix "Fitz," meant "son of" and was used with the father's name, until the father died. When patronymic names became surnames the Fitz became a permanent part of the surname. It has been suggested that the FitzGeoffrey surname came from Geoffrey, Earl of Essex.

Early Origins of the Fitzgeffray family

The surname Fitzgeffray was first found in Bedfordshire (Old English: Bedanfordscir), located in Southeast-central England, formerly part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia, where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book, [1] indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Blackburn Hall in Bedfordshire who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086. Sir John Fitzgeoffrey was one of the Barons who rebelled against King John and was at Runnymede in 1215 at the signing of the Magna Carta.

Early History of the Fitzgeffray family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitzgeffray research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1511, 1575, 1638, 1575, 1617 and 1611 are included under the topic Early Fitzgeffray History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fitzgeffray Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled FitzGefferey, FitzGeofferey, FitzGeferey, FitzGeffrey, FitzGeoffry, FitzGeoffrey and many more.

Early Notables of the Fitzgeffray family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Charles Fitzgeffrey (1575?-1638), Cornish poet and divine, born at Fowey in Cornwall about 1575, son of Alexander Fitzgeffrey, a clergyman who had migrated from Bedfordshire. [2] Henry Fitzgeffrey (fl. 1617), English writer of satires and epigrams, "is commonly assumed to...
Another 47 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fitzgeffray Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fitzgeffray family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Fitzgeffray or a variant listed above were: George Fitzgeffrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1623; and William Fitzgeffrey, who arrived in Virginia in 1623.

  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook