The Clan/Sept History
The surname Fitzgibbon is derived from the name Gibb, a short form of the Norman
personal name Gilbert. This name was originally derived from the name Gislebert,
which is comprised of the Germanic elements "gisil," which means "hostage" or
"noble youth," and "berht," which means "bright" or "famous." The name features
the distinctive Irish patronymic prefix "fitz," which means "son of" in
Anglo-French. This is derived from the Old French word "fils," which ultimately
comes from the Latin word "filius," both of which mean "son." The Gaelic form of
the surname fitzgibbon is Mac Giobúin.
A single person's name was often spelt simply as it sounded by medieval scribes
and church officials. An investigation into the specific Origins the name
fitzgibbon has revealed that such a practice has resulted in many spelling
variations over the years. A few of its variants include: Fitzgibbon,
Fitzgibbons, MacGibbon, Gibbon, Gibbons, Gibben, Gibbens, Gibbin, Gibbins and
First found in county Mayo, where they had been granted land by Strongbow when
he invaded Ireland in 1172.
Ireland experienced a dramatic decrease in its population during the 19th
century. This was in a great measure, a response to England's imperialistic
policies. Hunger and disease took the lives of many Irish people and many more
chose to leave their homeland to escape the horrific conditions. North America
with its promise of work, freedom, and land was an extremely popular destination
for Irish Families. For those families that survived the journey, all three of
these things were often attained through much hard work and perseverance.
Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants
bearing the name fitzgibbon: Daniel, George, John, Michael, James, Nicholas, and
Patrick Fitzgibbon who all arrived in Philadelphia between 1840 and 1865; Ann
Gibbon settled in Virginia in 1660.
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