The Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society

Volume 1, 2020

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Table of Contents

Cover story: Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí 1384-1534 AD, Part I
by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2020, 1, 1-17 (View this article)

The first part of this review of Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí history (1384-1534) covers the period 1384, from the conquest of Richard II, to 1455, by which time the clan had entered into an alliance with their mortal enemies, the Butlers of Ormond. Twelve years after the commencement of this era the Lordship of Ossory had fallen to Finghin Óg; these were days of increasing formation of alliances between Gaelic chieftains. That changed around the time of Finghin Óg’s death in ca. 1417; the power struggle between Sir John Talbot and Sir James Butler, 4th Earl of Ormond, altered the face of Irish politics for the next 30 or so years, and Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí had to choose one side or the other. It was a time when Donnchadh Mór Riabhach, a previously unrecognised Lord of Ossory, was chieftain. His life and times are recounted from entries in the Annals of the Four Masters and other familiar texts, but three largely overlooked sources of Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí history – Liber Ruber, the Ormond Deeds and the Kildare Rental – significantly add to our understand of both he and Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí lineages, which to date have been muddled. New characters are uncovered, such as Morena ny Giolla Phádraig and her husband, John ‘the Blind’ Butler, and the previously ignored branch, Clann Maeleachlainn Ruadh. An account of the early stages of the Ormond-Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí alliance, which would ultimately fragment the clan, is provided.

Colonial American Fitzpatrick Settlers Part I: Making Sense of One Line
by Ian Fitzpatrick and Dr Mike Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2020, 1, 18-39 (View this article)

Before the turn of the 17th century the settlement of Irish in the Americas lacked permanence. Soon after, Irish came to North America and the Caribbean in a steady flow, and by the mid 18th century a flood of Irish and Scotch-Irish had settled in the Americas. The reasons for that settlement were many and varied, as were the geographic origins and lineages of those Fitzpatricks among the influx. This article provides a review of the forces that pushed and pulled Irish and Scotch-Irish to the Americas. By way of example, a single Fitzpatrick line demonstrates how messy traditional genealogy of early Colonial American Fitzpatricks can get. That messiness is due in no small part to the cut and paste functionality at websites such as But by careful review of authentic historical records, caution with speculative associations, and the power of Y-DNA analysis, it is possible to untangle the mess and bring back some much-needed clarity. In this article, the example used is that of the well-known colonial-settler William Fitzpatrick (born ca. 1690 AD), of Albemarle County, Virginia, who arrived in North American ca. 1728. Two living ancestors of William have been found to share a common ancestry from ca. 1650 AD 􏰁 both bear a genetic mutation (FT15113) specific to William's line; this enables the ready identification of male descendants of William.

Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí 1384-1534 AD, Part II
by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2020, 1, 40-71 (View this article)

The starting place for Part II of Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí: 1384-1534 is Feartach, Cill Chainnigh (Fertagh, Co. Kilkenny) where a previously little known Mac Giolla Phádraig cleric, and unrecognised clann chieftain, was appointed Prior in 1506. There are many mysterious elements of Kilpatrick’s tomb at Gráinseach Feartach (Grangefeartach), which is said to be the final resting place of Brian na luireach and his son Seán, and a critical examination of the tomb cannot fail to lead to the inevitable question – is it not they, but others, who are buried there?

In addition to the mysteries of Gráinseach Feartach, this article synthesises numerous entries in the Papal Registers, which provide clear evidence for a Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí clerical lineage that enjoyed power, wealth, and influence, both within and without the clann. The exploits of the clerics, their relationship to other clann members, and their associations with their neighbours, are presented against the backdrop of the political landscape around Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí country during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The key players from the House of Ormond, and the House of Kildare, and their networks with Mac Giolla Phádraig Osraí of the era provide new insights into the clann’s leadership and lineages, which are more complex and extensive than previously understood.

Volume 2, 2021

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Cover story: The Similar-Sounding Surnames of Haplogroup R-BY140757
by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick and Ian Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2021, 2, 1-41 (View this article)

Y-DNA analysis is a remarkable method that can inform patrilineal genealogies, both ancient, and modern. Applied here to facilitate a critical review of Branan pedigrees, an analysis of haplogroup R-BY140757 results in a deep questioning of the dominant narratives of the O’Braonáin Uí Dhuach (O’Brenan of Idough). What results is a disruption of those narratives that is total.

The O’Braonáin Uí Dhuach, held by Ossorian historians to share descent from Cearbhall, King of Osraí (843-888 AD), we argue, are not Osraighe, but are an Uí Failghi tribe – this based on the ultimate authority of Dubhaltach Mac Fhirbhisigh. Hence, Y-DNA connections between Branans, or those with similar-sounding surnames, and related others, are a false trail for those who claim descent from Cearbhall.

Once Mac Fhirbhisigh is embraced, and the erroneous pedigrees of the O’Braonáin Uí Dhuach are set aside, the origins of men with Branan, and similar-sounding surnames, of haplogroup R-BY140757, can be correctly determined. And, based on Y-DNA haplotype analysis, it is considered those origins are not with the O’Braonáin Uí Dhuach, or any Irish clan.

Rather, haplotype R-BY140757 appears to have originated from a family who settled near Braham, in Suffolk, after the Norman conquest of England. The key figure in the appearance of R-BY140757 pedigrees in Éire is Sir Robert de Braham, who was Sheriff of Kilkenny ca. 1250 AD.

Mac Giolla Phádraig Clerics 1394-1534 AD, Part I
by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2021, 2, 42-65 (View this article)

Mac Giolla Phádraig Clerics 1394-1534 AD is a three-part series, which provides an account of all known individual Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics in the late medieval era and details their temporalities, occupations, familial associations, and broader networks. The ultimate goal of the series is the full contextualisation of all available historical records relating to Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics alongside the genealogical record that can be extracted by twenty-first century science – that being the science of Y-DNA.

The Papal Registers, in particular, record numerous occurrences of Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics, predominantly in the dioceses of Cill Dalua (Killaloe) and Osraí (Ossory), from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth century. Yet, no small intrigue surrounds their emergence. Part I of Mac Giolla Phádraig Clerics 1394-1534 AD examines the context surrounding the earliest appointments of Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics, which is in neither Cill Dalua nor Osraí but the diocese of Luimneach (Limerick). Once that context is understood, a pattern of associations emerges.

A ‘coincidental’ twenty-first century surname match from the Fitzpatrick Y-DNA project leads to a review of the relationship between the FitzMaurice of Ciarraí (Kerry) clerics and Jordan Purcell, Bishop of Cork and Cloyne (1429-1472). The ‘coincidence’ then leads to an examination of a close Y-DNA match between men of the surnames Purcell and Hennessey. That match, coupled with the understanding that Nicholas Ó hAonghusa (O’Hennessey), elected Bishop of Lismore and Waterford (1480-1483) but with opposition, is considered a member of Purcell’s household, transforms the ‘coincidence’ into a curiosity.

Part I morphs into a conversation, likely uncomfortable for some, relating to clerical concubinage, illegitimacy, and the ‘lubricity’ of the prioress and her nuns at the Augustinian nunnery of St Catherine's O’Conyll. The nunnery was located at Mainistir na gCailleach Dubh (Monasternagalliaghduff), which lay just a stone’s throw from where Bishop Jordan Purcell and Matthew Mac Giolla Phádraig, the first Mac Giolla Phádraig cleric recorded in the Papal Registers, emerged.

Part I makes no judgments and draws no firm conclusions but prepares the reader for Part II by ending with some questions. Do the Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics of Osraí, who rose to prominence in the late-fifteenth century, have their origins in Deasmhumhain (Desmond)? Could the paternal lineages of Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics be, at least from the mid-fourteenth century, with the house of the Geraldine FitzMaurice clerics of Ciarraí? And, could some of the modern-day descendants of the Mac Giolla Phádraig clerics be those Costigans, FitzGeralds, and Fitzpatricks who are found under haplotype R-A1488?

Pátraic surnames in the Fiants and Patent Rolls of Ireland
Part 1: a method of approach to mega-data, and a Mac Caisín case study
by Dr Mike Fitzpatrick
Journal of the Fitzpatrick Clan Society 2021, 2, 66-92 (View this article)

The fiants and patent rolls of Ireland are an extraordinary and largely untapped source of information. This article taps into this valuable source with a focus on interrogating Pátraic-surnames, i.e., Patrick, Fitzpatrick, Kilpatrick, Mac Giolla Phádraig and Ó Maol Phádraig, which document grants, leases, and pardons, etc., issued under the Great Seal of Ireland. The extant records of fiants are for the period 1521-1603, and the patent rolls 1514-1575 and 1603-1633, i.e., much of the reign of Henry VIII of England to the eighth year of Charles I of England.

Ireland's fiants and patent rolls provide mega-data on names, places, occupations, relationships, and more, and Pátraic-surname records uncover rich narratives from all over Éire. Yet, there is a tendency for the vastness of the records to overwhelm, so a systematic approach is required to extract the maximum value. This article provides a method for 'eating an elephant', and one key is having a secure temporal frame of reference via which associations, familial and otherwise, can be understood.

By way of example, the surname Mac Caisín begins this series of articles on Pátraic surnames in the Fiants and Patent Rolls of Ireland. The choice of Mac Caisín may appear strange at first, since it is not obviously a Pátraic surname. However, this article argues the case study of Mac Caisín provides a clear example of how an interrogation of the fiants, and patents reveal many instances where members of Pátraic families are recorded by other names, such as Mac William, Mac Edmund, Mac Flynn and, maybe, Mac Caisín. Understanding such names in the fiants and patents requires a sound knowledge of context so they can be distinguished as surnames or patronymics. Still, even then, there is evidence that members of Pátraic families sometimes took other surnames due to, for example, fosterage or to 'mask' a clerical lineage.

This article seeks to answer questions about the Mac Caisín of Osraí (Ossory), who were unquestionably the close associates of the Fitzpatrick barons of Upper Ossory. Were the Mac Caisín either a lineage from an individual called Caisín (a name meaning curly-haired) Mac Giolla Phádraig, or a line out of fosterage, or of a ‘surname-masked’ clerical lineage; or, was there even any kinship bond?