The surname of FITZGERALD is one of the commonest surnames in all Ireland, and is borne by families of all ranks of society, from the ducal family of Leinster, baronets and knights, down to the humblest persons. It came to Ireland, however with an aristocratic Anglo-Norman, or more accurately Cambro-Norman knightly family from Wales which played an important role in the Anglo-Norman conquest of the island in the 12th century. Fitzgerald families held sway for centuries with their principle castle strongholds at Maynooth and Kilkea in County Kildare. The head of the main branch, the Duke of Leinster, is the premier peer of Ireland. A branch of the family also hold the title of Knight of Glin, which they have held since at least 1299. The family seat, Glin Castle in Limerick was built in 1260. The family can be traced to an English landowner, Walter FitzOther, who was a keeper of Windsor Forest before 1100. His son Gerald was constable of Prembroke Castle, and it was the latter's son who went to Ireland and established the Irish family. Maurice Fitzgerald fought for the King of Leinster, who had lost his territory in 1168, and also assisted in Strongbow's invasion of Ireland in 1172. A branch of the family was established in France, where it became prominent under the name of Giraldin. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000.
Edward Fitzgerald (1809-1893) was an English Scholar. He was famous for his English poetic version of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Kilrush, County Kildare. Many Highland families migrated from Scotland to Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries, and were granted the lands of the native Catholic Irish. People heard of the attractions of the New World, and many left Ireland to seek a better life sailing aboard the fleet of ships known as the 'White Sails', but much illness took its toll with the overcrowding of the ships which were pestilence ridden. From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagons to the prairies, and many loyalists went to Canada about the year 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
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