If you’re interested in genealogy, a fascinating way to explore it is by researching famous people and their family trees. One celebrity whose ancestry can be traced back to Ireland is Tom Cruise, the actor known for the films Mission Impossible, The Color of Money, and Risky Business, among others.
Cruise’s Irish origins can be traced through the Cruise and Mapother surnames. Read on to discover the extensive research we’ve done on this family line. We’ll explore the family’s history, immigration to the US, and some interesting stories and historical figures from Cruise’s family tree.
Tom Cruise’s full name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, after his father, Thomas Mapother III. The paternal side of his family is Irish, though the Mapother surname has early origins in England.
The Mapother name made its first known appearance in Devon several centuries ago, as the family had a seat as Lords of the Manor. There are many known variations of the Mapother name, including Maypowter, Maypower, Mapower, and Mapowder.
The Cruise family made their first appearance in Ireland in the twelfth century. A Cruise was a knight who came to Ireland with the infamous Strongbow, whose invasion led to the English conquest of Ireland.
Afterwards, the Cruises were granted land in north Dublin. They established themselves in the area and remained there for many generations.
They were a well-connected Catholic gentry family who maintained their religion and their status despite the upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The family intermarried with local gentry families, and one branch became known as the Russell Cruises.
In 1825, Patrick Russell Cruise married Teresa Johnson. Together, the family moved to the United States around 1826. Patrick Cruise’s land was managed indirectly through a local land agent during his time in America.
However, just before the Irish Famine, he became unhappy with the actions of his land agent, who had forced many families out of their homes. Patrick Cruise returned to Ireland around 1843 to give these lands back to his tenants.
The youngest known child of Patrick Russell Cruise was Mary Paulina Russell Cruise, born in New Jersey in 1832. She married Dillon Henry Mapother, an engineer from Dublin, in 1858. They had several children before Dillon died around 1874.
After Mapother’s death, Mary Paulina Mapother married Thomas O’Mara. The couple had one known son, Thomas O’Mara, in 1876. He was Tom Cruise’s great-grandfather.
Thomas O’Mara Senior died between the 1880 and 1890 US censuses. His son assumed the surname Cruise Mapother, as it was the surname of his siblings. Interestingly, if this ancestor hadn’t changed his name, Tom Cruise’s last name would be O’Mara.
Tom Cruise’s parents, Thomas Mapother III and Mary Lee Pfeiffer were originally from Louisville, Kentucky. They married and had four children: Tom, Lee Anne, Marian, and Cass Cruise.
Tom Cruise was born on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York. His family relocated to Canada when his father took a job with the Canadian Armed Forces. The Top Gun actor’s parents divorced when he was in sixth grade, and he moved with his mother and sisters back to the US.
Tom Cruise has been married to actress Nicole Kidman, Mimi Rogers, and Katie Holmes. He has two adopted children with Nicole Kidman: Connor and Isabella Cruise. The actor also has a daughter named Suri Cruise with Katie Holmes.
Cruise is known for his activity in the church of Scientology and roles in many well-known films, including the franchise Mission Impossible, Vanilla Sky, and Jerry Maguire. He has won several Golden Globe Awards, among many other accolades for his performances over the years.
On a trip to Ireland in 2013, Tom Cruise discovered more about his Irish family history. Expert genealogists Fiona Fitzsimons and Helen Moss were able to trace his ancestry back as far as the early twelfth century. Watch Tom Cruise discover our research and receive his Certificate of Irish Heritage in the video below.
Cruise has continued to share his delight with our hard work over the years. Watch Tom talk about his Irish family history on Jimmy Kimmel Live in the video below.
Learning about Tom Cruise’s family history may pique your curiosity about your own. Luckily, there are resources available to help you to find as many details on your ancestry as we uncovered on Cruise’s family line.
If you’re interested in researching your Irish family history, the team at Irish Family History Centre can help. Contact us today to learn how we can help you unlock new pieces of your family’s story.