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Our Fitzgeralds'


The history of our Fitzgeralds can be described in four parts. Mary Eleanor Elliott's mother was Anne Fitzgerald and her father's line settled in Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan after the Protestant, Williamite victory in the late-17th Century. They were descended from the Knights of Kerry, one of only three hereditary knighthoods known to Ireland and the United Kingdom, who made their homes near Listowel in northern Kerry, and on the Dingle Peninsula from the 13th Century. The Knights of Kerry were a cadet branch Fitzgeralds of Desmond, one of the most powerful Geraldine families in Ireland, who conquered much of the island in the 12th Century during the Anglo-Norman invasion. And all Fitzgeralds in Ireland, it is said, claim Gerald fitz Walter of Windsor as their namesake, whose father's family descends from Dominus Otho of Florence, Italy in the 11th Century, and whose wife's family descends from Elidir of Wales in the 8th Century.
Although a family tree that reaches back over 1100 years seems difficult to imagine, the efforts of many researchers make it possible. This is especially true if a shared ancestor was a notable figure. Not only are contemporary researchers interested in their notable ancestor (and every family has them somewhere), but the ancestor's fame may have rested on their own pedigrees.
Welsh royalty
700 - 1100
Elidir was born around the year 700 of the common era, and begat Gwiard ap Elidir , who with Nest verch Cadell, begat Merfyn Frych, King of Gwynedd, who with Essylt verch Cynan, begat Rhodri Mawr (844-878), one of the Great Kings of Wales (38)

Rhodri Mawr had a son with Ankaret, Queen of South Wales, named Cadell of South Wales, who begat Hywell Dha, Prince of South Wales, who with Eleanor begat Owen, Prince of South Wales, who with Ankaret, Queen of Powys, begat Einion in the year 933 of the common era. Einion (ap Owain) and Eleanor of Powys begat Cadell ap Einion, who begat Tudor Mawr ap Cadell, who with Gwenlian of Anglesea begat Rhys ap Tudor Mawr, who with Gladys of Powys begat a daughter Nesta of South Wales. Nesta was first wife of Gerald fitz Walter of Windsor (35).

Italian - Norman descent
1010 - 1100
Dominus Otho, who may have been born in Florence, Italy in the year 1010, begat Walter fitz Otho (also known as Walter fitz Other) circa 1030. Walter fitz Otho, Keep of the Forest, with Beatrice begat a son Gerald fitz Walter de Windsor circa 1053 or 1073. 

Gerald fitz Walter de Windsor, Constable of Pembroke Castle, with Nesta verch Rhys ap Tudor, begat Maurice fitz Gerald de Windsor circa 1100, a comrade of Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare, the Earl of Pembroke, also known as Strongbow, whose soldiers took much of Ireland for King Henry II (36).

The name of Fitzgerald has existed in Ireland since this original Anglo-Norman invasion in the 12th Century and means "son of Gerald", with the prefix fitz- relating to the Norman French fis "son". The family was also known as the Geraldines, and became the highest ranking of the Old English families.  
Maurice fitz Gerald arrives
in Ireland

The Normans had conquered England a hundred years before, and were invited by a quarreling Irish king to aid in deposing his enemies in Ireland. Maurice fitz Gerald landed at Wexford in 1169 in the first major contingent of Anglo-Normans, and after two years of fighting, they had conquered half of the original Gaelic kingdoms. 

See also: History of Ireland > People of Ireland > Old English

Earls of
Desmond and Kildare
Maurice fitz Gerald and Alice de Montgomery had a son Thomas fitz Maurice from whom descend the Earls of Desmond. From another son Gerald fitz Maurice descend the Earls of Kildare. Thomas was granted land at Shanid near Shanagolden, Co. Limerick, around the year 1200.

Alice de Montgomery's lineage is, without doubt, the most remarkable that one may possess -- outdoing her husband's in length by a factor of twelve. From her grandfather, an O'Brien and king of Ireland before the Norman invasion, stretches an ancestry that fades into the legends and myths beyond recordable history.

See the Lineage of Muirchertach O’Brien

Then continue with Thomas fitz Maurice's son John fitz Thomas FitzGerald, and the creation of the Knights of Kerry.