Fitzsimmons Coat of Arms / Fitzsimmons Family Crest
This Anglo-Norman surname was brought to Dublin the the early 14th century by a settler from Cornwall in England, and the name is now distributed almost equally in Leinster, where it is commonest in and around Dublin, and in Ulster where the heaviest distribution is in County Cavan. The name in Gaelic is rendered as MacSiomoin. 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. Early records of the name mention Richard Fitz-Symond of County Norfolk, who was recorded in the year 1419, and Edward Fitzsimmons appears in London in 1563. The Irish prefixes of Mac (son of) and O (grandson or descendant of) gave rise at an early date, to a set of fixed hereditary names in which the literal patronymic meaning was lost or obscured. These surnames originally signified membership of a clan, but with the passage of time, the clan system became less distinct, and surnames came to identify membership of what is called a 'sept' of people all living in the same locality, all bearing the same surname, but not necessarily descended from a common ancestor. Adoption of the name by people who did not otherwise have a surname and by their dependents was not uncommon. Later, nicknames were in some cases to supersede the original clan names. An eminent member of the name was Robert Fitzsimmons (1862-1917) English born American pugilist and world champion, born in Helston, Cornwall. After emigrating to the United States in 1890, he won the world middleweight championship in 1891, and won the light-heavyweight championship in 1903. He retired from the ring in 1914. 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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