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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the Scottish Guffey family come from? What is the Scottish Guffey family crest and coat of arms? When did the Guffey family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Guffey family history?

Originally, Guffey was a nickname for a dark-featured, peaceful person. The Gaelic name of the Clan is Mac Dubhshithe, which translates as black one of peace. One branch of the Clan on the island of North Uist was known as Dubh-sidh, meaning 'black fairy,' due to their whimsical association with the faerie folk.

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Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Guffey has appeared in various documents spelled MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

First found in on the Isle of Colonsay, where the eponymous ancestor of the Clan may be Dubhshith, also called Dubside, who was lector at the Cathedral on the sacred isle of Iona in 1164. As the name MacFee is one of the oldest of all Dalriadan surnames it appears in records as early as the reign of Alexander II, when Johannes Macdufthi was witness to a charter in Dumfriesshire. In 1296, Thomas Macdoffy swore an oath of allegiance to the king.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guffey research. Another 361 words(26 lines of text) covering the year 1838 is included under the topic Early Guffey History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Guffey Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Guffey family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 187 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and clan societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Guffey, or a variant listed above: James MacFee who settled in New Hampshire in 1718; John MacFee settled in Boston in 1766; George, John and William MacFee settled in Philadelphia between 1820 and 1840.

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  • Burnett Guffey (1905-1983), American two-time Academy Award winning cinematographer for the films From Here to Eternity (1953) and Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  • Joseph Frank "Joe" Guffey (1870-1959), American business executive and Democratic Party politician, United States Senator from Pennsylvania (1935-1947), co-eponym of the Guffey-Snyder Act, also known as the Guffey Coal Act
  • Cary Guffey (b. 1972), American child actor who at the age of three made his cinematic debut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  • Michael Guffey, American professional skateboarder
  • J. Roger Guffey (1929-2009), American President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1976 to 1991


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro Rege
Motto Translation: For the King.

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  1. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  2. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  4. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  5. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  8. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  9. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  10. Warner, Philip Warner. Famous Scottish Battles. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-004-4).
  11. ...

The Guffey Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Guffey Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 December 2013 at 13:37.

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