The Legacy Of My Ancestor Elias FitzNorman

Image by Devanath from Pixabay

When it comes to my surname McElligott, Elias FitzNorman is as far back as the historians can go to trace the birth of the McElligott family. He had a son William FitzElias and somehow the Fitz got changed for the Irish equivalent “Mac” (meaning son of) and so we’ve ended up with the first appearance of MacElligott in the 1500s.

I was pleasantly surprised today to read for a second time how he was the founder of St.Catherine’s Abbey monastery in Waterford in the year of our Lord 1207. I’d read it before but had forgotten which is why I returned to have another look at the academic paper written on him as he just happened to be on my mind and for some reason this monastery he founded. I was doubting myself thinking, “Did I read he founded a monastery or did I read that wrong? Let me go check”. It was one of those confusing moments.

He had donated a lot of his lands to the Church for their other projects. I think that’s really amazing that I descend from this guy of whom little is known other than he was a Lord. The records demonstrate he owned much of Waterford and bought lands in Kerry receiving grants from King John of England himself for various projects in the region.

The monastery no longer exists today but the street adjacent to it is still called Catherine’s street. In its place now is Waterford cities Courthouse. It must have been an amazing monastery in its day considering it was in Waterford’s city centre and right on the river John presumably named after King John.

I went to confession and shortly afterwards I was not thinking about him. Having said my penance and gazing at the tabernacle all of a sudden he just, you know, popped right into my head for no apparent reason. I then felt his presence and so I prayed for him. I came home and looked up this monastery on Wikipedia. In the description it said that the monastery was founded by an Ostman which is an academic term for “Norseman.”

I smiled and thought to myself, “I know this Ostman and it’s time to change that.” Loaded with my new sources and information I edited it to “founded before 1207 by Elias Fitz Norman”. You can read that wiki article on the progress of the monastery here: List of monastic houses in County Waterford – Wikipedia

I don’t think we can go back further than him, but I’m blessed to have got that far. When it comes to ancestral research, my work here is done as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been at it nearly a year now and I’m exhausted.

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