Fitzgerald History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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."

Early Origins of the Fitzgerald family

The surname Fitzgerald 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." [1]

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. [2]

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." [1]

Early History of the Fitzgerald family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitzgerald 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 Fitzgerald History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fitzgerald Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Fitzgerald 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 Fitzgerald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Fitzgerald migration to the United States +

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 United States in the 17th Century
  • Redmond Fitzgerald, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Cate Fitzgerald, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [3]
  • Luke FitzGerald, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [3]
  • Moriss FitzGerald, who arrived in Maryland in 1678 [3]
  • Thomas FitzGerald, who landed in Maryland in 1678 [3]
Fitzgerald Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Fitzgerald, who arrived in New England in 1717 [3]
  • Patrick Fitzgerald, who landed in New England in 1738 [3]
  • Anne Fitzgerald, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1743 [3]
  • Eliza Fitzgerald, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1744 [3]
  • William Fitzgerald, who arrived in America in 1760 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fitzgerald Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Morris Fitzgerald, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [3]
  • Robert Fitzgerald, aged 31, who landed in Louisiana in 1812 [3]
  • John G Fitzgerald, aged 39, who landed in Georgia in 1812 [3]
  • Mary Fitzgerald, who arrived in New York, NY in 1815 [3]
  • Matthew Fitzgerald, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fitzgerald Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Margarett Fitzgerald, who landed in Colorado in 1907 [3]
  • Edward James Fitzgerald, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1926 [3]

Canada Fitzgerald migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Fitzgerald Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Frederick Fitzgerald, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Frederick Fitzgerald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • James Fitzgerald, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Richard Fitzgerald, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Richard Fitzgerald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Fitzgerald Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Fitzgerald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1811
  • Bridget Fitzgerald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1816
  • Mary Fitzgerald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1820
  • John Fitzgerald, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1821
  • James Fitzgerald, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1825
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Fitzgerald migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Fitzgerald Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Miss Elizabeth Fitzgerald, (b. 1768), aged 25, Irish convict who was convicted in Cavan, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Boddingtons" on 15th February 1793, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1836 [4]
Fitzgerald Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss. Catherine Fitzgerald, Irish convict who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Miss. Elenor Fitzgerald, Irish convict who was convicted in Waterford, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Atlas" on 29th November 1801, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Mr. Thomas Fitzgerald, British convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • Mr. John Fitzgerald, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in December 1818, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Thomas Fitzgerald, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Fitzgerald migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Fitzgerald Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • M.A. Fitzgerald, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Oriental
  • Thomas Fitzgerald, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Geo Fife
  • J. P. Fitzgerald, aged 23, a doctor, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Oriental" in 1840
  • Dr. J.P. Fitzgerald, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Oriental" arriving in Port Nicholson, Wellington, New Zealand on 31st January 1840 [9]
  • Mr. Fitzgerald, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Earl of Lonsdale" arriving in Bay of Islands, North Island, New Zealand on 11th April 1841 [10]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Fitzgerald (post 1700) +

  • 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
  • Thomas R. Fitzgerald (1941-2015), American jurist, Chief Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court (2008-2010), Member of the Supreme Court of Illinois (2000-2008)
  • Brigadier-General Shepler Ward FitzGerald (1884-1953), American Commandant of Army Air Force Radio School Number 4 (1943-1946) [11]
  • Frances FitzGerald (b. 1940), American journalist and author awarded the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
  • 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
  • James F. Fitzgerald (b. 1926), American businessman and philanthropist
  • C. B. Fitzgerald, American Republican politician, Mayor of Seattle, Washington, 1919-20; Appointed 1919; Washington Republican State Chair, 1925 [12]
  • Anthony J. Fitzgerald, American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1935 [12]
  • Alice Fitzgerald, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Massachusetts, 1980 [12]
  • ... (Another 180 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. H. Fitzgerald, British Seaman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [13]
Flight 191
  • Mrs. S Fitzgerald, American passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash [14]
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Augustine Francis Fitzgerald (1914-1941), Australian Blacksmith 4th Class from Mornington, Victoria, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Lloyd Gerald Fitzgerald (1916-1941), Australian Acting Supply Petty Officer from Kirribilli, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [15]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Joseph V Fitzgerald (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Collyhurst, Manchester, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [16]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Gerald Fitzgerald, British Padre, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [17]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Michael Fitzgerald, British Leading Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [18]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John E. Fitzgerald, English Electric Attendant from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [19]


The Fitzgerald 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Fitzgerald +

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

  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/boddingtons
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 14th July 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/atlas
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  9. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, February 29) Shepler FitzGerald. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/FitzGerald/Shepler_Ward/USA.html
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 28) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  14. ^ Flight 191's Victims - latimes. (Retrieved 2014, April 16) . Retrieved from http://articles.latimes.com/1985-08-04/news/mn-4349_1_fort-lauderdale-area
  15. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  16. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  17. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  18. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  19. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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