Who we are, and who are we?
The Fitzpatrick Y-DNA study, which was started 18 years ago by Dr Colleen Fitzpatrick, has found there are several large and distinct groups of Fitzpatricks.
Aligning the results of the DNA study with historical records and genealogies has enabled three of these larger genetic groups to also be defined by geographic location. They are Fitzpatrick of Ossory, Fitzpatrick of Bréifne and Fitzpatrick of Iveagh.
There are also two other large groups that we can distinguish genetically, but at this stage we are unable to identify an Irish homeland. It is possible one, or even both, of these groups are Mac Giolla Phadráig Bréifne or Ó Maol Phádraig Bréifne because there are some associations with Cavan. Until we discover more we will refer to them by their haplotype; both groups are branches of haplotype R-FGC11134.
In addition to the five larger groups mentioned, there are many smaller genetic groups that include haplotypes R-Z255, R-L513, R-M222, R-U106, I-M223 and J-M172. The L513 group is particularly interesting becuase it is strongly associated with the surname Maguire and, therefore, may represent descendants of Gilla Phádraig of Fermanagh of the Maguires.
And then there are many individuals with no close Y-DNA matches to any other Fitzpatricks; they include men identified by haplotypes R-Z253, R-CTS1751, D, E, I and Q-M242.
Many of us have a strong understanding of who we are as Fitzpatricks. But for many the question is, "Who are we?"
Whatever being a Fitzpatrick means to you, know the Fitzpatrick Clan Society warmly embraces all who have connections to the Fitzpatrick surname.
The Clans we know
Fitzpatrick of Ossory
Very much has been written about the Fitzpatricks of Ossory and much of that recorded relates to the line of Brian Óg Mac Giolla Phádraig (c. 1485-1575) who was the last claimant to the kingdom of Ossory (Osraige). Under surrender and regrant he was created the Baron of Upper Ossory in 1541 by Henry VIII; in doing he took the surname Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has remained a common surname in Counties that share the territory of ancient Ossory, viz., Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary and Waterford. Many Fitzpatricks who trace to Ossory are readily identified by their distinctive Y-DNA signature and further, very recent obtained, DNA evidence has revealed fascintaing insights into the roots of the most notable of all Fitzpatrick Clans, challenging the long held beliefs that they descend from the ancient Giolla Phádraig dynasts.
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Fitzpatrick of Bréifne
The swathe of territory that is Bréifne has a history of powerful chieftains, conflict and upheaval. Fitzpatricks have long been present in Bréifne with historians recording both Ó Maol Phádraig and Mac Giolla Phádraig throughout the country. The DNA study has identified at least three different haplotypes associated with Bréifne Fitzpatricks, but with Ó Maol Phádraig being absorbed into Fitzpatrick in the 17th Century it is not trivial to determine who is who. Advanced DNA test results have closely matched haplotype BY2630 (a branch of L513) with the surnames of several close Ó Maol Phadráig associates in the 17th century. Hence, our working thesis is that one type of Ó Maol Phádraig Bréifne may be BY2630. However, any Fitzpatrick who traces to Bréifne may consider themselves part of this Clan.
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Fitzpatrick of County Down and County Louth
There are numerous Fitzpatricks clearly identified in historical records, starting with the Patent Rolls of James I, pertaining to Co. Down, from the early 17th Century to the present day. M’Illepatrick, a variant of Mac Giolla Phádraig, is listed as one of the principal names in the Barony of Upper Iveagh in the 1659 Census. Until recently the origin of these Fitzpatricks was unknown, but with the discovery of their Fitzpatrick-specifc genetic fingerprint, BY2849, which formed ca. 1090 AD it is now understood this Clan trace to Leinster in ancient times. Clan members are still found in Leinster today in Co. Kildare and Co. Louth, but they are by far most numerous in Co. Down. The mystery of their arrival in the Barony of Iveagh, the Barony of Mourne and the Lordship of Newry in the early 1600s, their rapid proliferation in that area, and their associations with the Clanaboy O'Neill and Clan Magennis is being uncovered for the first time.
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