We present a detailed study of the magnetic and structural properties of L10-FePt thin films. The films are prepared via molecular beam epitaxy directly onto MgO(001) substrates, i.e., without buffer layer. Despite the large lattice misfit between the in-plane lattice parameters of L10 FePt and MgO, highly ordered thin films are obtained with the easy magnetization c axis perpendicular to the film plane. Via high resolution transmission electron microscopy and Rutherford backscattering measurements we focus on the FePt/MgO interface to study the misfit relaxation and the defect density. Further, the influence of elevated substrate temperatures and of postgrowth high temperature annealing on the structural and magnetic properties is discussed.