I have been researching the Fitzsimons/Fitzsimmons family for 30 years, primarily in Ireland. The earliest ancestor was William FITZSIMONS located in Bright Parish, near Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland. He may have been born about 1800. There were at least four siblings: William FITZSIMONS married to Jane BLAYNEY, James FITZSIMONS married to (1) Annie McSHERRY and (2) Elizabeth KEEGAN, Peter FITZSIMONS (bachelor) and Ellen FITZSIMONS married to James McMULLAN.
What inspired me to pursue my husband Tom's family, was the fact that several siblings emigrated from Ireland beginning about 1900. They emigrated to several countries: Australia, Philippines, USA, Argentina, England, Canada, Portugal and Switzerland. The goal of my research is to locate living descendants and to unite the families. In so doing, we have traveled to most of these countries to meet the living cousins.
In 2007, I published a book with photos, documents and family history that I have accumulated over the 30 years that I have been involved in this project. It was a private project and copies were distributed to family members only.
Below are some photos of the family that were taken on our trip to Ireland in May 2002.
- At Johnny Fox's Irish Pub, Dublin (61 KB)
Tom, Shannon, Muriel and Peter. Shannon is daughter of Catherine and Peter Carroll. We are enjoying a drink of Guiness beer. Shannon was a bit too young so she has 7-up. Julia is asleep in the stroller.
- Silent Valley near Kilkeel, Co. Down (68 KB)
Joan Fitzsimons and Tom are first cousins. The rhododendrons are in full bloom.
- Linen Hall Library, Belfast, North Ireland (55 KB)
Joe & Sylvia mcIlmail with Muriel at the entrance of the Library. Sylvia and Muriel did some family research at the library.
- Catherine Carroll and Her Children (51 KB)
Catherine, Sean is 9 years old, Julia will be 4 years in July, Muriel holding Molly, 5 months old and in front is Shannon who is 7 1/2 years old.
- The Carroll's home in Kilkeel, County Down (43 KB)
Joan Fitzsimons and Ann Carroll are sisters
- St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (109 KB)
St. Mary's is where Tom's grandparents, James Fitzsimons and Elizabeth Keegan were married on 28 November 1882.
- Lennie Fitzsimons and Tom (75 KB)
Lennie and Tom are 1st cousins. Lennie lives in Downpatrick, County Down
- The Carroll Family (71 KB)
Neil Carroll & his motorcycle, Muriel, Ann & John Carroll and Shane. Neil is the son of Ann & John. Shane is a friend of the Carroll family.
- The Altar in St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin (43 KB)
The altar is very beautiful and I am sure it was just as beautiful in 1882 when Tom's grandparents were married here.
- Having Lunch at Daft Eddy's Restaurant (60 KB)
Tom, Lennie and Muriel having lunch. The restaurant is near Downpatrick, County Down
- In the Home of John Carroll, Kilkeel, Co. Down (46 KB)
Joan Fitzsimons, Rachel with Joe & Sean Carroll and Aisling Carroll. Sean and Aisling are children of John & Ann Carroll. Joan is sister of Ann Carroll
- St. Patrick and St. Colman Cathedral, Newry, N.Ire (69 KB)
The cathedral stands proudly in the center of Newry, County Down. This is where James Fitzsimons and his family were members while living in Newry, about 1876 until about 1896. James owned a drapery shop close to the church.
- Tom and His Rental Car in North Ireland (46 KB)
We rented a car in Dublin and traveled to North Ireland. Tom found it hard to drive on the left side of the road the first few days.
- Bright Parish Church in County Down (48 KB)
Bright Church is in the Downpatrick District. This is where Tom's grandfather, James Fitzsimons was believed to have been christened about 1830. Since the church records burned in 1854, there are no records available. The church sits on the top of a hill overlooking the Irish Sea. It's very windy and unfortunately, the old gravestones are so weatherbeaten they are hard to read.
- Lennie Fitzsimons Changing Tire (44 KB)
Tom had run over a curb and lost two hubcaps on our way to Lennie's home. Lennie discovered a bulge in the tire so he offered to change the tire for Tom.
- The Sean Carroll Family (42 KB)
Rachel and Sean with their 10 month old son, Joseph Peter.
- Joe McIlmail and His Family (55 KB)
Joe with grandson, Eoin Toner, Sylvia (Joe's wife) and Tom. Joe and Tom are 2nd cousins. The McIlmail's live in Bright townland, near Downpatrick, County Down
- Felicity Fitzsimons and Tom (44 KB)
Felicity and Tom are 1st cousins. Felicity lives in Newcastle, County Down
- Joe McIlmail & Tom at St. Patrick's Gravestone (78 KB)
St. Patrick's gravestone is in the cemetery next to the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Downpatrick, County Down. St. Patrick was Ireland's patron Saint during the 6th century. On the slab of granite are the words "Patric"
- Catherine & Peter Carroll With Tom (60 KB)
Peter is son of Ann & John Carroll. Catherine & Peter with their four children live in Rathfarnham, south of Dublin.
- At Lord Nelson's Restaurant in Bangor, County Down (56 KB)
Tom, Joe & Sylvia McIlmail and Muriel enjoying a delicious dinner in the fishing town of Bangor, County Down.
- Catherine and Molly (31 KB)
Molly is five months old, born 7 January 2002
- The Toner Family (53 KB)
Michael and Margaret (daughter of Joe & Sylvia McIlmail) Toner with their boys, Malachy (14 years old) and Eoin (11 years old). Their home is in Downpatrick, County Down.