This interesting surname is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic name "Mac Giolla Phadraig". The Gaelic prefix "Mac" means "son of", plus "giolla", a devotee or servant, and the personal name "Padraig" from the Roman "Patricius" meaning "the one of noble birth". Earlier Anglicizations of the name have included MacGilpatrick and MacKilpartrick. This is the only surname in Ireland with the Norman-French prefix "Fitz" which is of native Irish origin, the others being Norman. The Mac Giolla Phadraig Clan belonged to Counties Kilkenny and Laois where the name is most widespread. Their chief, known as Lords of Upper Ossory, was a royal ruler over these counties. A clan member, Sir Barnaby Fitzpatrick, was knighted in 1568. Several namebearers were prominent in politics including Patrick Vincent Fitzpatrick (1792 - 1865), the trusted adviser to Daniel O' Connell, "The Liberator". A Coat of Arms granted to the Fitzpatrick family depicts a silver saltire on a black shield, with three gold fleur-de-lis on a blue chief. A green dragon surmounted of a black lion guardant, with the right paw resting on the dragon's head, is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Giolla Padraig, a warlike chief, which was dated circa 978, in the "Ancient Records of Ossory" (County Kilkenny), during the reign of King Malachy 11, High King of Ireland, 977 - 1002. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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