MacDuffee History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Dalriadan kingdom consisted of the Hebrides islands, and the rugged mountains of Scotland west coast. The name MacDuffee began in this region; it 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.

Early Origins of the MacDuffee family

The surname MacDuffee was 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.

Important Dates for the MacDuffee family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our MacDuffee research. Another 226 words (16 lines of text) covering the year 1838 is included under the topic Early MacDuffee History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

MacDuffee 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, MacDuffee has been spelled MacFie, McFey, MacFee, MacDuffie, MacPhee, MacGuffie, MacCuffie, MacPhie, Maffie, Maffey, MacDubh-shithe (Gaelic) and many more.

Early Notables of the MacDuffee family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early MacDuffee Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacDuffee family to Ireland

Some of the MacDuffee family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 89 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the MacDuffee family

These settlers arrived in North America at a time when the east was burgeoning with prosperous colonies and the expanses of the west were just being opened up. The American War of Independence was also imminent. Some Scots stayed to fight for a new country, while others who remained loyal went north as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of them went on to rediscover their heritage in the 20th century through highland games and other patriotic Scottish events. The MacDuffee were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: 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.

Contemporary Notables of the name MacDuffee (post 1700)

  • Cyrus Colton MacDuffee (1895-1961), American Professor of Mathematics at University of Wisconsin who co-developed the Latimer-MacDuffee theorem
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