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About the study

This Fitzpatrick One-Name Study has grown out of my 30+ years of research into my personal Fitzpatrick roots.  By far the focus of this study are the Fitzpatricks of the former Barony of Iveagh, which is located in modern Co. Down.

Based on DNA evidence it appears likely that the vast majority of Fitzpatricks that trace to Co. Down descend a group of men surnamed McIlepatricke, who were resident in Upper Iveagh at the time of Pender's Census (1654-1659).

The aims of this study are:

  1. To catalogue ALL Fitzpatricks from Co. Down before ca.1911 from Parish, Civil, Census records etc.
  2. To detail the main Co.Down Fitzpatrick lineages from ca. 1800-1850 and, where possible, establish their connections to Fitzpatricks living today.

Variant names

FitzPatrick, McPatrick, McIlepatrick, Mac Giolla Phádraig, Gilpatrick.

Historical occurrences of the name

Fitzpatrick is best known as the translation of the surname Mac Giolla Phádraig. Gilla Patráic mac Donnchada was a tenth century king of Ossory and his sons were subsequently styled Mac Giolla Phádraig, i.e., son of Giolla PhádraigThe Mac Giolla Phádraig surname was used in Ossory until 1541 when Brían Óg Mac Giolla Phádraig, on surrender to Henry VIII, took the surname Fitzpatrick.

The earliest appearance of possible Fitzpatrick surname variants in Iveagh is found in the 1608 Patent Roll of James I.  There we note a pardon to Turlaghe McGilpatricke Moyle McConwall, gent.  There are numerous pardons for Iveagh residents, although most frequent of the family names is Magenise (var. Magennis ), who were by far the most prominent Iveagh clan.

The first occurrence of a definite Fitzpatrick surname variant in Iveagh is found in the Pender's Census (1654-1659).  There we note one of the 'Principal Irish Names' was McIlepatricke, and their number was 10.  This is interpreted as meaning the McIlepatricks of Upper Iveagh were a prominent clan and numbered 10 male heads of households.

Perhaps the leading member of the Fitzpatrick clan at this time was Neese McIlepatricke, who was a smith. The 1663 Subsidy Roll for the Lordship of Newry and Mourne, Kilkeel Parish, lists Neese M'Ilepatrick of Ballygoan.  And a reference to Neese is also found in Bagenall's rental book of 1688 as the former tenant of Ballygowan Townland, as follows:

'Ballygoan formerly lett to Neece McIlpatrick the smith and now lett to his son Owen...'

It is noted that Neese is a variant of Aongus, as is Magennis, hence intermarriage between the McIlepatrick and Magennis clans is a possible explanation why Neese came to bear his name.

Name frequency

Today Fitzpatrick ranks as about the 60th most common surname in Ireland, and significant numbers of Fitzpatricks are also found in England, Scotland, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Distribution of the name

The surname Fitzpatrick is geographically diverse, both within Ireland and globally.  Based on the Griffith's Valuation of the mid-1850s, 75% of Fitzpatricks in Ireland were resident as follows: County Laois (18.9%), County Cavan (14.7%), County Down (7.9%), County Cork (6.2%), County Kilkenny (6.0%), County Tipperary (5.3%), County Clare (4.0%), County Dublin (4.0%), County Kildare (3.2%), County Fermanagh (2.9%) or County Monaghan (2.7%).


Data for this study is drawn primarily from:

Co. Down birth and marriage records to ca. 1910 (Parish and Civil);

Ireland Census records: 1901 and 1911;

England, Scotland and Wales Census records: 1841-1911;

Co. Down Rent Books records; and,

Fitzpatrick DNA study.


There is significant genetic diversity associated with the surname Fitzpatrick.  The Fitzpatrick DNA study, which was begun in 2000 by Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick, has identified several major Fitzpatrick groups that are genetically unrelated prior to ca. 2600 BC. The largest group trace their roots to Co. Laois and Co. Kilkenny, and the other distinct groups trace mainly to Co. Cavan, Co. Clare, Co. Cork or Co. Down. This accounts for approximately 50% of the DNA study members. About a further 25% fall into small groups of unknown origin, and the remaining 25% have not yet found matches within the study - although some have had success with matches on other surname projects.

The haplogroup that defines the Fitzpatricks that are the focus of this One Name Study is Z255, i.e., the Irish Sea haplogroup.

The DNA data for the entire Fitzpatrick DNA project is found at the Fitzpatrick DNA website.


The Fitzpatrick One Name Study website is now live.