Right from the early days of her STR analyses Colleen Fitzpatrick was able to define a group who traced themselves to County Down, in particular from the Barony of Iveagh. The STR data indicated these County Down Fitzpatricks matched the so called 'Leinster Modal', which has a strong association with the surname O'Byrne. This association is consistent with the results that are being found by NGS, which has found those of the Byrne lineage 1 are Z255 (www.worldfamilies.net/surnames/byrne/results). Hence, our thesis regarding County Down Fitzpatricks is that they were at one time from Leinster, however there is no indication when or why they came to leave the south and settle in Iveagh. But there are some clues.
Fitzpatricks are mentioned in some of the earliest County Down records. The 1659 census for 'Downe' lists 'Principall Irish names and their number' for each Barony. In the Upper Iveagh Barony there are included 10 with the surname McIlepatricke. There is no record of any others with a surname resembling Fitzpatricks in any other Barony of County Down. And the 1663 Subsidy Roll for the Lordship of Newry and Mourne, Kilkeel Parish, lists a Neese M'Ilepatrick of Ballygoan. These records establish the presence of Fitzpatricks in southern County Down from at least the mid-1600s; it is also evident that, unlike in many other parts of Ireland at that time, the surname was not yet normanised.
Geoff Fitzpatrick has identified a possible link between County Down Fitzpatrick and the County Laois Fitzpatricks in the late 1600s. During the Williamite War (1689-1691) the people of Kilcoo, County Down went to the Earl of Ossory, who provided safe haven for papists. They stopped there with him after peace was made, most likely returning to County Down in 1704. Perhaps the Earl's sympathies extended beyond his faith to some sort of family ties.
A total of eleven BY2849 Fitzpatricks have undertaken NGS testing and branching within the group now affords an understanding of some member's relationships at the Parish level within Iveagh. However, two members who are both downstream of BY2849, do not trace to County Down - rather to Monasterevin in County Kildare and also to Dublin. Hence, BY2849 Fitzpatricks are longer described as exclusively 'County Down'. The links to Kildare and Dublin are, perhaps, pointers to the Leinster roots of the Iveagh Fitzpatricks. The age of BY2849 is estimated as 1150 AD, hence it is likely this this group share a Giolla Phådraig ancestor from around the time surnames began to be used in Ireland.
Distant cousins of BY2849 Fitzpatricks are associated with the surname Ireland and also with Welsh surnames/roots. Certain men with the surname Ireland have been shown to be Z255>Z16434>BY17850, which likely dates from 650-850AD. And Z255>Z16434>Z17735 or Z255>Z16434>BY2851>BY23813 men have Welsh surnames/roots; these Welsh connections are possibly ancestors of Laigin (Leinstermen) who settled the Llŷn penisula in North Wales. The word Llŷn is of Irish origin and has the same Irish root as Laigin. The age of BY2851 is estimated as after 310 AD, hence etymology and genetic dating is consistent with Z17735 and BY23813 men being descendants of settlers from South Ireland to North Wales from the late fourth century AD.
Those with an intrest in County Down Fitzpatricks can find more information and genelogical data at the Fitzpatrick of Iveagh website
By Mike Fitzpatrick, Auckland, New Zealand.
The Fitzpatricks of Down (http://fitzsoc.com/Gatherings/Fitzpatrick%202007/Fitzpatricks_of_Co._Down.pdf) by Geoff Fitzpatrick, downloaded 21 April 2015.
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