Early Origins of the Fitznigell family
The surname Fitznigell was first found in Cheshire
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
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
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 the Baron
William FitzNigel who was recorded in the Domesday Book
census of 1086. He was preceded by Nigel of Cotentin (c.1070-1080,) who was the hereditary Constable of Chester. Another early mention is of Nigel (d. 1169,) who was an Anglo-Norman bishop of Ely, and Lord High Treasurer for both Henry I and Henry II of England
. His son Richard FitzNigel, (d. 1198) was Bishop of London (1189-98) and treasurer of England
Early History of the Fitznigell family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fitznigell research.Another 215 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1424, 1510, and 1600 are included under the topic Early Fitznigell History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fitznigell Spelling Variations
Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England
, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Nigell, Nigel, FitzNigel, FitzNigell and others.
Early Notables of the Fitznigell family (pre 1700)
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fitznigell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Fitznigell family to the New World and Oceana
Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Fitznigell or a variant listed above: Philip Nigel, who settled in Baltimore in 1834; and John Nigal, who arrived in Boston in 1849.