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2,478 study surnames with us
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2967

Fitz-henry

 

About the study

The Fitz(-)Henry one-name study covers the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris names where-ever they are found in the world. The presence of the hyphen in Fitz-Henry is variable within families, and even within the life records of a single individual, although it is more common in the older records.
Fitzharris was originally a variant which people used interchangeably with Fitzhenry in Ireland.
It seems that when a Fitzhenry or Fitzharris left Ireland, the version they used when they emigrated then stuck!
Fitzsenry is a variant which developed in one Fitzhenry family in Iowa in the 1880s.
 
All variants of the name are given equal standing in this study.

My study started in earnest in 2002 with my own name of Fitz-Henry. In 2011, I added Fitzharris to my registered names.

Since then I've met lots of lovely family history researchers from all over the world who have given me lots of help and information. This one-name study is a way of saying 'thank you' to all those people and hope that I can pass on the information that I have gathered to another generation of Fitz(-)Henry/Harris researchers.

Most of us hit a wall with our ancestors at some time. If you have a Fitz(-)Henry or Fitzharris in your tree and want to know more, please contact me (details below). If you want to let me know about your Fitz(-)Henry  or Fitzharris ancestors, then please drop me a line - it may be someone that I've hit the wall with! All queries are answered - I can't guarantee to have the information you are looking for, but I may be able to pass you on to someone who does.

Variant names

My main four variants are:
Fitzhenry and Fitz-Henry
Fitzharris (Fitzhenry and Fitzharris were interchangeable in Ireland)
Fitzsenry (a variant found in Iowa)
 
Historical but now obsolete variants are:
Fitz Harriss
Fitz Harry
Fitz Harries
Fitz Henri
 

Name origin

Fitz Henry is a Norman name, brought to Britain by the Norman invaders in 1066.
 
It is a patronymic name (describing a person by who their father was) meaning 'son of Henry', although the original Normans would have spelled it Fitz Henri.
 
From here on I'm going to use the modern spelling: Fitzhenry
 
Popular legend says that all Fitzhenrys are descended from Henry 1 of England by his mistress Nesta of Pembroke. However Henry was also reputed to have 20 illegitimate children by various women.
There are further true patronymic uses of the name spontaneously arising in later records so it is unlikely that there is one true 'common ancestor'.

Norman/Platagenet nobles took the Fitzhenry name to Ireland in the 12th century with the invasion of Ireland. The Fitzhenry name has historically been associated with County Wexford where the Fitzhenrys had several castles and desmenes.

In Ireland, the name became more "Anglicised" to Fitzharry or Fitzharris. Both Fitzhenry and Fitzharris were used by the same families.

In England, the name became even more Anglicised to Harrison (literally the Son of Harry) and the Norman version virtually died out in England and Wales.

With the creation of the British Empire, the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris names spread to all parts of the globe with a British influence. The bearers of these names were mainly Irish soldiers in the British army, or Irish prospectors and settlers. There were/are branches in India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, as well as a small number in South America. Most bearers of the Fitzhenry and Fitzharris names in England today can trace their routes back to an Irish ancestor.

There is a large Fitzhenry and Fitzharris presence in the United States of America.
Numerically, the largest family tree in the USA is descended from Enoch Fitzhenry, a legendary figure who was allegedly captured by pirates and taken from Ireland to the USA in the 1770s.

There are also a large number of smaller Fitzhenry and Fitzharris family lines in the USA derived from those Irish leaving their homeland for a better life especially around the time of and  after the great famine for the 1850s.

History of the name

The name isn't at the forefront of history but noted Fitzhenrys and Fitzharrises past and present include:
 
Louis Fitzhenry - (1870-1935) elected as a Democrat to the Sixty-third Congress (1913-15) and district judge for the southern district of Illinois (1918-1933) (USA)
 
Charlotte Fitzhenry (Robling) - journalist and photographer for the AP news agency (USA), Louis' daughter.
 
Damien  Fitzhenry - legendary hurler who represented Wexford (Ireland)
 
Joseph Henry Fitzhenry - noted art dealer and major benefactor of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England in the late 19th century (England).
 
Robert Fitzhenry - co-founder of the publishing house Fitzhenry and Whiteside in 1966 (Canada)
 
Sir Edward Fitzharris - heir to the Baronetcy of Kilfinnin in County Limerick, tried and executed for treason against King Charles II of England in 1681.
 

Name frequency

2014  distribution from the excellent forebears.co.uk website
http://forebears.co.uk/surnames/fitzhenry#nations2014 accessed 18 May 2015
 
FITZHARRIS
 
CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
United States5231: 612,37150,705
Ireland2731: 16,8251,830
England1831: 295,08226,179
Australia741: 318,46230,613
New Zealand591: 77,06411,116
Canada591: 600,46752,053
Scotland531: 100,0008,843
United Arab Emirates11: 9,446,00083,428
Wales11: 3,100,00018,969
Luxembourg11: 549,70012,745
Guam11: 159,3582,578
 
FITZHENRY
 
CountryIncidenceFrequencyRank in Nation
United States9011: 355,46132,372
South Africa6941: 77,8139,230
England3931: 137,40514,737
Australia2511: 93,88911,103
Canada1151: 308,06529,230
Ireland1041: 44,1643,646
Belgium221: 509,18552,530
New Zealand71: 649,53638,459
Wales21: 1,550,00012,161
Croatia11: 4,290,61219,810
Finland11: 5,460,45925,746
Scotland11: 5,300,00038,841
Northern Ireland11: 1,800,0008,430
France11: 65,959,000277,603
Guernsey11: 63,0851,818

Distribution of the name

Although there have been a small number of English Fitzhenrys and Fitzharrises who have always been in England,  the vast majority of the bearers of this name today originate from ancestors who were part of the Norman colonisation of Ireland.
 
From Ireland, Fitzhenrys and Fitzharrises have settled in:
England, Wales and Scotland (making the return journey!)
The United States of America
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
South Africa
 
And to a lesser extent, India and South America.

Data

I have a database containing over 8700 persons, over 4000 of which are Fitzhenry and Fitzharris born into the name.

DNA

The Fitz(-)Henry ONS Y-DNA project was launched on 12 May 2008. The testing company is FamilyTreeDNA. Are you a male Fitz(-)Henry who is considering having your DNA tested? Get it done at mate's rates through our project!
Here's the Y-DNA study homepage at FamilyTreeDNA: http://www.familytreedna.com/public/Fitz-Henry#surnames
My own website for the DNA study is: http://www.fitzhenrydna.com

Links

Contact