MacDuffe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The MacDuffe family history stretches back to the clans of the Dalriadan kingdom on the sea-swept Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland. The name MacDuffe is derived from an old Gaelic personal name. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Dhuibh. 
"This noble family is derived from Fife Mac-Duff, who was a man of considerable wealth and power in Scotland temp, king Kenneth II., and gave that prince great assistance in his wars with the Picts about the year 834. His descendants, from their great dignity, were sometimes called kings of Fife, and they were entitled to place the king of Scotland on the inaugural stone, to lead the van of the royal army, and to enjoy the privilege of a sanctuary for the Clan Mac-Duff, of which he was the founder. " 
Early Origins of the MacDuffe family
The surname MacDuffe was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland.
Some believe MacDuff, the Thane of Fife, portrayed by Shakespeare as the rival of Macbeth, was a myth created by medieval writers. 
However this passage proves otherwise: "When the revolution was accomplished, in which Macbeth was bethroned and slain, Malcolm, sensible of the high services of the Thane of Fife, is said to have promised to grant the first three requests he should make. Macduff accordingly demanded (an obtained), 1st that he and his successors, Lords of Fife, should place the crown on the King's head at the coronation; 2ndly, that they should lead the vanguard of the army whenever the royal banner was displayed; and lastly, this privilege of the Clan Macduff, whereby any person, being related to Macduff within the ninth degree, and having committed homicide in chaude melé (without premeditation ) should, upon flying Macduff's Cross, and paying a certain fine, obtain remission of their guilt." 
So as to further prove the point, 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.
Furthermore, 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 MacDuffe family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDuffe research. Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1353, 1759, 1296, 1358, 1725 and 1889 are included under the topic Early MacDuffe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
MacDuffe Spelling Variations
Medieval translation of Gaelic names could not be referred to as an accurate process. Spelling was not yet standardized, and names in documents from that era are riddled with spelling variations. MacDuffe has been written as MacDuff, McDuff, MacDhuibh (Gaelic) and others.
Early Notables of the MacDuffe 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 MacDuffe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the MacDuffe family
The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name MacDuffe or a variant listed above include: James MacDuff, who settled in Maryland in 1747; John MacDuff settled in Virginia in 1772.
Related Stories +
The MacDuffe 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.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Cleveland, Dutchess of The Battle Abbey Roll with some Account of the Norman Lineages. London: John Murray, Abermarle Street, 1889. Print. Volume 2 of 3