Surname: Fitzmayer
Hello. I'd like to figure out what the surname "Fitzmayer" means. I know that the Fitzmayer family came to America possibly in the early to mid 1800's and they were from Germany. The original spellings of the name included "Phitsenmeyer and Phitzenmayer." In the early 1900's, it was cut down to just "Fitzmayer." I think "Fitz" is Irish and "mayer" is of German origin. The Fitzmayers were of Jewish background, so I think that's were "meyer" comes into play. But, I'm really curious, because I haven't seen very often the prefix "Phits" on a German name. Also, the name is extremely uncommon--the only people that use the name are all related, though there are a few in England which I find peculiar, but it must be a different story with them. Any help into figuring this out will be greatly appreciated.

Stef
Tags:  Fitzmayer
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I don't know about the Phits-part, I haven't seen it in German names.
Mayer/Maier/Meyer/Meier is a *very* common name in Germany (if you take the four together, it will be #3), and it has at least three possible derivations, two of which you will find on this site (including the Jewish one).In addition to that M. can be a variation of Lower German Meiger ("mower"), the High German word being "Mäher" (with an A umlaut).

Andy ;—)
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'Fitz' is a common prefix in Irish names, but it doesn't come from Irish. It comes from the Norman French and is closely related to the French word 'fils' meaning son ...

Thus, your name probably means something like "son of a farmer" where mayer has evolved from a "mower" to just a "farmer" in general ...
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I think the Irish look of Fitz is misleading. Fitzmayer and Phitzmayer are probably versions of the German name Pfitzmayer after a manhandling by English speakers. Now, does anybody know what Pfitz means?
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I agree. The PHITZ-part made me suspicious, too. PHITZ- I haven't seen in German names, but as you say, there is PFITZ- like in PFITZ(N)ER. This is from PFÜTZNER (with a U umlaut), originally somebody living by a "Pfütze" (puddle, pool).
Bow the combination with Mayer may be coincidential, but it does make sense: "farmer by the pool".

Andy ;—)
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