The surname Fitzpatrick is readily identified as Irish. Until recently, the traditional Fitzpatrick surname narrative was of a medieval super-progenitor named Giolla Phádraig. His offspring, the eponymous Mac Giolla Phádraig, it was said, somehow came to dwell in every Irish province; yet this is an Irish surname myth that works to erase the history of ancient ‘Fitzpatrick’ clans. This article demonstrates how deconstructing the surname Fitzpatrick, through working the hyphen of gene-eaology, is a practice of decolonisation.
Via genetic data and archival records, dominant clan identities are disrupted, while connections with lost clans are re/membered. Critical analysis dismantles the dominant narrative imposed by colonial strategies and reconnects people with kinship groups and forgotten forebears. Questions arise from the deconstruction of an Irish surname. How might new clan identities be imagined, and how is losing a dominant surname narrative negotiated?
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