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McGilleguff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms



The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the McGilleguff family. Their name is derived from an old Gaelic personal name. The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Dhuibh.


Early Origins of the McGilleguff family


The surname McGilleguff 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 McGilleguff family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our McGilleguff research.
Another 166 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1353, 1759, 1296, 1358, 1725 and 1889 are included under the topic Early McGilleguff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

McGilleguff Spelling Variations


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. McGilleguff has appeared in various documents spelled MacDuff, McDuff, MacDhuibh (Gaelic) and others.

Early Notables of the McGilleguff 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 McGilleguff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the McGilleguff family to the New World and Oceana


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 McGilleguff or a variant listed above include: James MacDuff, who settled in Maryland in 1747; John MacDuff settled in Virginia in 1772.

The McGilleguff 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.


McGilleguff Family Crest Products



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