Show ContentsFitzmaurice 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 Fitzmaurice 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 Fitzmaurice family

The surname Fitzmaurice 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 Fitzmaurice family

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

Fitzmaurice Spelling Variations

In the days before Gaelic or English gained any significant semblance of standardization, the scribes who created documents simply recorded names as they sounded. Consequently, in the Middle Ages many people were recorded under different spellings each time their name was written down. Research on the Fitzmaurice family name revealed numerous spelling variations, including Fitzmaurice, Fitzmorris, FitzMaurice, FitzMorris, Morris and many more.

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

Fitzmaurice Ranking

In the United States, the name Fitzmaurice is the 18,229th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [2]

United States Fitzmaurice migration to the United States +

Many Irish families left the English-controlled Ireland in the 19th century. Early immigrants were primarily after land and the opportunity of living a life entirely of their own fashioning. In the 1840s, this pattern of immigration changed as the Great Potato Famine struck Ireland. Hundreds of thousands left the diseased and starving island with little expectations but many hopes. By this time there was very little available land in the east, so many immigrants joined the movement for the western frontier lands, or settled in established urban centers. Irish immigrants not only made enormous contributions to the rapid development and population of North America, but they also brought with them a rich cultural heritage. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Fitzmaurice:

Fitzmaurice Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Lawrence Fitzmaurice, aged 30, who landed in Missouri in 1845 [3]
  • Charles, Jeremy, John, Michael, Patrick, and Thomas Fitzmaurice all, who arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1870

Australia Fitzmaurice migration to Australia +

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

Fitzmaurice Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Caroline Fitzmaurice, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "America" on December 30, 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [4]
  • Mr. Michael Fitzmaurice, (Fitzmorris), (b. 1816), aged 22, Irish labourer who was convicted in County Kerry, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Clyde" on 11th May 1838, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [5]
  • Henry Fitzmaurice, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Andromache" in 1850 [6]

New Zealand Fitzmaurice 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:

Fitzmaurice Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Joseph Fitzmaurice, (b. 1857), aged 21, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Western Monarch" arriving in New Zealand in 1879 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Fitzmaurice (post 1700) +

  • Michael John Fitzmaurice (b. 1950), United States Army soldier, recipient of Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War
  • Brigadier-General James Michael Fitzmaurice (1900-1983), American Vice Commanding General Tactical Air Command (1947-1949) [8]
  • Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice CMG (1861-1924), Irish civil engineer
  • James Michael Christopher Fitzmaurice DFC (1898-1965), Irish aviation pioneer, member of the crew of the Bremen, which made the first successful Trans-Atlantic aircraft flight from East to West in 1928
  • George Fitzmaurice (1877-1963), Irish dramatist and short story writer
  • Edmond John Fitzmaurice (1881-1962), Irish-born prelate of the Catholic Church, Bishop of Wilmington (1925 to 1960)
  • Martin Fitzmaurice (1940-2016), English darts master of ceremonies, caller, scorer and referee, known for his expression "Are you ready? Ladies and Gentlemen... Let's... Play.... Darts"
  • Cecil O'Bryen Fitz-Maurice (1919-1998), 8th Earl of Orkney
  • George William Hamilton FitzMaurice (1827-1889), 6th Earl of Orkney
  • Thomas FitzMaurice (1803-1877), 5th Earl of Orkney
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  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
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  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. State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 26) America voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1830 with 135 passengers. Retrieved from
  5. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 24th February 2021). Retrieved from
  6. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ANDROMACHE 1850. Retrieved
  7. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  8. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, February 29) James Fitzmaurice. Retrieved from on Facebook