Duffy History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The original Gaelic form of Duffy was O Dubhthaigh. The first portion of the name is the word "dubh," which means "black," while the second portion is likely an obsolete Irish forename. The sept claim descent from the ancient Heremon Kings of Ireland. Through O'Conner Faley, Lords of Offaley (now Offaly), they descend from "Cahir Mor, King of Leinster in the beginning of the second century. He divided his great possessions amongst his thirty sons in a Will called 'The will of Cahir More,' contained in the 'Book of Leacan' and in the 'Book of Balymote.' His posterity formed the principal families in Leinster." [1] O'Duffy was listed as one of these such families.

Early Origins of the Duffy family

The surname Duffy was first found in Connacht (Irish: Connachta, (land of the) descendants of Conn), where they held a family seat from very ancient times, and were one of the many families descended from the great Kings of Ireland called the "Three Collas." Descending from the Clan Colla was Duffy, Lord of Fermanagh.

However, "there are several distinct septs of O'Duffy. One belongs to the parish of Lower Templecrone in the diocese of Raphoe, Co. Donegal, the patron saint of which is the seventh century Saint Dubhthach, or Duffy. The Connacht sept, the centre of whose territory was Lissonnuffy or Lissduffy near Strokestown, named after them, was remarkable for the number of distinguished ecclesiastics it produced." [2]

Without a doubt, the oldest records of the family include: Muireadach Ó'Dubthaigh (Murdagh O'Duffy) (1075-1150), Archbishop of Tuam in the county of Connaught and Cadhla Ó'Dubthaigh, (Cele O'Duffy) Archbishop of Tuam, Ambassador to Henry II in 1175. [2]

The Monaghan branch of the family were principally found in Attyduffy or Attyduff [1] and "modern statistics show that it is now most numerous name in Co. Monaghan." [3]

Early History of the Duffy family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duffy research. Another 266 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1075, 1150, 1501, 1175, 1527, 1615, 1527, 1615, 1675, 1671, 1809 and 1871 are included under the topic Early Duffy History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Duffy Spelling Variations

Just like the English language, the Gaelic language of Ireland was not standardized in the Middle Ages. Therefore, one's name was often recorded under several different spellings during the life of its bearer. Spelling variations revealed in the search for the origins of the Duffy family name include Duffey, Duff, Duffy, O'Duffey, O'Duffy, Duffe, O'Duffe, Doey, Dohey, Doohey, O'Dowey and many more.

Early Notables of the Duffy family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family at this time was Father Eugene O'Duffy (c. 1527-1615), preacher and satirist on the apostate bishop Miler Magrath; The Most Reverend Patrick...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Duffy Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Duffy World Ranking

In the United States, the name Duffy is the 889th most popular surname with an estimated 32,331 people with that name. [4] However, in Australia, the name Duffy is ranked the 464th most popular surname with an estimated 8,225 people with that name. [5] And in New Zealand, the name Duffy is the 597th popular surname with an estimated 1,204 people with that name. [6] The United Kingdom ranks Duffy as 293rd with 20,637 people. [7]


United States Duffy migration to the United States +

Ireland became inhospitable for many native Irish families in the 19th centuries. Poverty, lack of opportunities, high rents, and discrimination forced thousands to leave the island for North America. The largest exodus of Irish settlers occurred with the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. For these immigrants the journey to British North America and the United States was long and dangerous and many did not live to see the shores of those new lands. Those who did make it were essential to the development of what would become two of the wealthiest and most powerful nations of the world. These Irish immigrants were not only important for peopling the new settlements and cities, they also provided the manpower needed for the many industrial and agricultural projects so essential to these growing nations. Immigration and passenger lists have documented the arrival of various people bearing the name Duffy to North America:

Duffy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Rose Duffy, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [8]
  • Mary Duffy, who landed in New York in 1792 [8]
  • Ross Duffy, who arrived in New York in 1798 [8]
Duffy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Duffy, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [8]
  • Philip Duffy, aged 21, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805 [8]
  • Jane Duffy, aged 14, who arrived in New York, NY in 1806 [8]
  • Alice Duffy, aged 18, who landed in New York, NY in 1806 [8]
  • Fargus Duffy, who arrived in New York, NY in 1810 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Duffy migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Duffy Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Philip Duffy, who settled in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1827
  • Mary Duffy, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1828
  • Mary Duffy, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Mare Duffy, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833
  • Neil Duffy, aged 24, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Trial" in 1833
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Duffy migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Duffy Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Duffy, (b. 1790), aged 30, Irish labourer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 7 years for felony, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. James Duffy, (b. 1795), aged 25, Irish weaver who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for life for highway robbery, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Miss Mary Duffy who was convicted in Liverpool, Merseyside, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Brothers" on 20th November 1823, arriving in New South Wales, Australia and Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [10]
  • Dennis Duffy, a coach-smith, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Miss Catherine Duffy, (Duffey, Walsh), (b. 1813), aged 16, Irish nurse girl who was convicted in Monaghan, Ireland for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Edward" on 1st January 1829, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Duffy migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Duffy Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • John Duffy, aged 20, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "London" in 1840
  • Mr. Duffy (Duffield), British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Jane and Catherine" arriving in New Zealand on 28th June 1849 [12]
  • Mrs. Duffy (Duffield), British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Jane and Catherine" arriving in New Zealand on 28th June 1849 [12]
  • Sarah Duffy, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Gertrude" in 1868 [13]
  • Catherine Duffy, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Gainsborough" in 1878 [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Duffy (post 1700) +

  • Kevin Thomas Duffy (1933-2020), American lawyer and United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York; he died from COVID-19
  • Julia Duffy (1951-1980), born Julia Margaret Hinds, American Golden Globe and multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominated actress, best known as the spoiled rich girl Stephanie Vanderkellen, on the 1980s sitcom, Newhart
  • Michael Duffy, American journalist, Washington bureau chief and an executive editor for Time magazine
  • Francis Patrick Duffy (1871-1932), Canadian-born, American soldier, Roman Catholic priest and military chaplain, eponym of Duffy Square, Times Square, New York City
  • Daniel Richard Duffy (b. 1988), American Major League Baseball pitcher for the Kansas City Royals since 2011
  • Hugh Duffy (1866-1954), American 19th-century Major League Baseball player, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945
  • Patrick George Duffy (b. 1949), American Soap Opera Digest Award winning character actor of stage and film, best known for his role on Dallas
  • John Aloysius Duffy (1884-1944), American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop of Syracuse (1933 to 1937)
  • Brian Duffy (b. 1953), retired U.S. Air Force colonel and former NASA Astronaut with over 40 days in space [15]
  • Richard E. Duffy, American fighter pilot and flying ace in the U.S. Army Air Forces, during World War II, credited with 5 aerial victories
  • ... (Another 24 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. John Duffy, British Fireman from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [16]
  • Mrs. Mary Duffy (1881-1914), née Speak Canadian Third Class Passenger from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Thomas Peter Duffy (d. 1945), British Marine aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [18]
  • Samuel Duffy, British aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [18]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Patrick Duffy, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
Monongah Mine
  • Mr. Thomas Duffy (b. 1877), Italian coal miner who was in mine 6 at the Monongah mine on 6th December 1907 when it exploded and collapsed; he died [20]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. William Luke Duffy (d. 1912), aged 28, English Writer/Engineer's Clerk from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [21]


Suggested Readings for the name Duffy +

  • Philip A. Duffy and Sam Wilson with Allied Families, York County, Merrick County, Nebraska.

  1. ^ O'Hart, John, Irish Pedigrees 5th Edition in 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0737-4)
  2. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, Irish Families Their Names, Arms and Origins 4th Edition. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2364-7)
  3. ^ MacLysaght, Edward, The Surnames of Ireland. Ireland: Irish Academic Press, sixth edition, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-2366-3)
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  6. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  7. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  8. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dorothy
  10. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 30th October 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/brothers
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th November 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 12th December 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  14. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 3rd November 2011). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  15. ^ NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Brian Duffy. Retrieved from http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/duffy.html
  16. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  17. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  18. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ Monongah Mining Disaster retrieved on 8th August 2021. (Retrieved fromhttps://usminedisasters.miningquiz.com/saxsewell/monongah.htm).
  21. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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