MacDuff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The age-old Hebrides islands and the west coast of Scotland are the ancestral home of the MacDuff family. Their name comes from an old Gaelic personal name. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Dhuibh.
Early Origins of the MacDuff family
The surname MacDuff was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland. MacDuff, the Thane of Fife, portrayed by Shakespeare as the rival of Macbeth, was a myth created by medieval writers.
However, the first Earl of the name, Gillemichel, did emerge by the time of King David I, and he and his descendants had privileges including the right to crown the King of Scotland and to lead the Scottish army.
The MacDuff family traditionally crowned each monarch. But, they were opposed to Robert the Bruce, who gained the throne in 1306. Duncan MacDuff, the Earl of Fife's sister was sent to perform the task. Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan (died c. 1314), sister of Duncan, Earl of Fife did crown Robert the Bruce in March 1306, much to her chagrin. Bruce was defeated at the Battle of Methven in June 1306, so he sent Isabella and other female relatives but they were betrayed Uilleam II, Earl of Ross. Edward I ordered her to be sent to Berwick-upon-Tweed to be caged as a public spectacle. She was caged for four years and is presumed to have died in captivity.
Lord Macduff, the Thane of Fife, is a character in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. The character kills Macbeth in the final act. It is generally thought that Shakespeare drew the character from the Holinshed's Chronicles (1587.)
Early History of the MacDuff family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDuff research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1353, 1759, 1296, 1358, 1725 and 1889 are included under the topic Early MacDuff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacDuff Spelling Variations
Medieval spelling was at best an intuitive process, and translation between Gaelic and English was no more effective. These factors caused an enormous number of spelling variations in Dalriadan names. In fact, it was not uncommon to see a father and son who spelled their name differently. Over the years, MacDuff has been spelled MacDuff, McDuff, MacDhuibh (Gaelic) and others.
Early Notables of the MacDuff family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Isobel Macduff (1296-1358), the Countess of Buchan, best known for when she left her husband, the Earl of Buchan and stole his warhorses; William Duff of Braco...
Another 35 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early MacDuff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacDuff migration to the United States +
Scottish settlers arrived in many of the communities that became the backbones of the United States and Canada. Many stayed, but some headed west for the endless open country of the prairies. In the American War of Independence, many Scots who remained loyal to England re-settled in Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Scots across North America were able to recover much of their lost heritage in the 20th century as Clan societies and highland games sprang up across North America. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first MacDuffs to arrive on North American shores:
MacDuff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
- James MacDuff, who settled in Maryland in 1747
- James Macduff, who landed in Oxford, Maryland in 1747 
- John MacDuff, who settled in Virginia in 1772
Contemporary Notables of the name MacDuff (post 1700) +
- Dana John MacDuff (b. 1955), American film producer and actor, known for his work on Bad Blood (2006), An American Reunion (2003), and The Remnant (2001)
- Tyler MacDuff (1925-2007), born Tyler Glenn Duff, Jr., an American actor, best known for his role as Billy the Kid in The Boy from Oklahoma (1954)
- Larry Mac Duff (b. 1948), American college football coach
- James R. MacDuff, American Republican politician, Chair of Otsego County Republican Party, 1939-42 
- John Ross Macduff (1818-1895), Scottish divine and author of religious essays
- Sir Alistair Geoffrey MacDuff (b. 1945), British judge of the High Court of England and Wales
- Jack MacDuff (b. 1950), Canadian air traffic controller and retired curler, skip of the 1976 Canadian Men's curling champions
Related Stories +
The MacDuff Motto +
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: Deus juvat
Motto Translation: God assists.
- ^ 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)
- ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 15) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html