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Clan History

Significant Events In McDuffie Clan History

EVENT                        DATE              # GENERATIONS     ASSOCIATED NAMES

Dunadd                       850                  41                                 Duff?, Duffy?
Norse surrender        1265                26
Charter                        1463                19                                 McDuffie
Last Lord Isles            1493                18                                 McDuffie
Banished Antrim       1538                17                                 McDuffie
Reformation                1560                16                                 McDuffie > McFee?
Ulster Plantation        1603                14                                 McFee, Fee, McAfee
Broken Clan                1623                14                                 McPhee?
Ulster Rebellion         1641                13                                 McFee?, McAfee
Battle Boyne              1690                11                                 McFee, Fee, McAfee
Culloden                      1746                9                                   McPhee
Clearances                 1760                9                                   McDuffie, McPhee
SS Spencer                1806                7                                   McFee, McDuff

 COMMENTARY

Some of the above events in Scottish history, had profound effects on those in the McDuffie clan grouping.  They resulted in migrations and changes of name in many cases.  The McDuffie DNA Surname Project gives the ability for the first time to “see” back in history up to and beyond 40 generations.  It will allow the determination of Most Recent Common Ancestor of two or more participants.  This will if the sample size is adequate allow the answer to questions which have vexed family historians for many years.  These questions include:

  • Are McDuffies of Celtic or Norse origin?

  • How close are Duffys to Duffs?

  • Are Duffs and Duffys likely to have a common Dalriadic origin in Ireland?

  • How many people were “included” by adoption of the McDuffie name?

  • How many different family bloodlines are there?

  • Are there clear common ancestral links between the names McDuffie and McFee?

  • How closely are McHaffeys and Catheys and Coffees and Curries linked to McDuffies?

  • Which McDuffs were McDuffies and which were not?

  • Do McDuffies and McPhees in USA and Canada have clear common ancestry in Scotland and/or Ireland?

  • Do McAfees and McFees show a common ancestor?

  • How coherent or fragmented is the data set?

In the case of the Campbell DNA Surname project, the data set is quite coherent with a large number of participants with a common bloodline.  The McGregor project has more fragmented bloodlines probably due to greater instability in the history of the clan.  It will be interesting to see what emerges with the McDuffies.

In order to answer these questions a large number of participants will be needed.  If you are reading this and are male with a surname in the project list, please consider joining the project.  If you are female please consider recruiting a male in your extended family.


Sil Alpin - A Connection?

Rob Livingstone, the Project Coordinator of the Livingston DNA Surname Project very kindly sent me the following interesting information.  At present, it is speculation but with an increasing body of supporting evidence.

I am the group administrator for the Livingston/MacLea DNA Project.  I am interested to see if I can anyone get your "Group I" with origins in Argyll to upgrade their DNA test to 37 or 43 markers.  Their distinguishing markers are DYS391 = 10, and DYS389-2 = 30.  It is my belief that these individuals represent the DNA of "Sil Alpin" - the progeny of King Alpin of Dal Riata.  Their DNA is a fairly close match to that of the majority of MacGregors (including the chieftains), a McKinnon (surnamed "Love"), and my own family, the MacOnleas (Livingstones) of the Isle of Lismore in Argyll.  By a fairly close match, I am talking about a common ancestor within the last 1200 years.  Sil Alpin has traditionally included the MacGregors, the McKinnons, the McPhees, the Grants, the McQuarries, and the McAulays.  Checking out the DNA results for the Grants and McAulays, I see no obvious genetic links to the other clans mentioned (which excludes the McQuarries who have no project).  So I suspect that Clan "MacAulay" is a historic error for "Clan MacOnlay", which is an English rendition of "MacDonnsliebhe", sometimes written as MacLay, MacOllea, MacOlleif, and MacOnleif.  There is a mountain on MacLea lands in Lorn that is referred to as "Bin Aulay" on maps of the 16th Century.

Most of our clan resided in Western Argyll, including Mull, Morvern, Ardnamurchan and Appin.  My particular family are the keepers of the crosier of St. Moluag, a 6th Century abbot who established the Abbey of Lismore in 563 AD.  Our charter for the lands of Bachuil on Lismore dates from 1544, but the charter insinuates the family had the lands for many generations previous to that.  One tradition in the family is that we are direct descendants of King Malcolm I, the great grandson of King Alpin.  The McGregor tradition is that they are descended directly from Kenneth MacAlpin

Below is a table with the MacGregor, MacPhee, MacOnlea, MacKinnon, and Campbell "Modals", though the term "modal" should be taken with a grain of salt since the Livingstons are only three participants (of 38) and the McKinnon is but a single person.  You'll see that your "Group One" comes awfully close to both the Campbells and the Livingstons (McOnleas) of Lismore.

There were many Blacks living on the Isle of Lismore and surrounding Lorn, but it is my understanding that their Gaelic name was "McGilleDubh"  The preponderance of placenames with the element "black" in Lorn is phenomenal - Black Crofts, Black Lochs, Dubh Loch, Dubh Loch Mor, Dun Dubh, Loch Dubh Mor, Lochan Dubh, Meall Dubh, Eilean Dubh, Eilean Dubh Mor, Ab Dubhan, Beinn Dubh.  These probably all have more to do with the color of the landscape rather than a clan, but I haven't encountered such a concentration anywhere else in Scotland.

 

Allele

Identity

3

9

3

3

9

0

1

9

* 

3

9

1

3

8

5

a

3

8

5

b

4

2

6

3

8

8

4

3

9

3

8

9

i

3

9

2

3

8

9

ii

4

5

8

4

5

9

a

4

5

9

b

4

5

5

4

5

4

4

4

7

4

3

7

4

4

8

4

4

9

4

6

4

a

4

6

4

b

4

6

4

c

4

6

4

d

4

6

0

G

A

T

H4

Y

C

A

IIa

Y

C

A

IIb

4

5

6

6

0

7

5

7

6

5

7

0

C

D

Y

a

C

D

Y

b

4

4

2

4

3

8

Locus

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

31

32

33

34

35

36

37

Fast-Mutating Markrs

 

 

 

 

x

x

 

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

x

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

x

x

x

x

 

 

McGregor Modal

13

24

14

10

10

14

12

12

12

13

13

30

17

9

10

11

11

25

15

19

30

15

15

17

17

11

12

19

24

17

15

17

17

37

38

12

12

Campbell Modal

13

24

14

10

11

15

12

12

12

13

13

30

19

9

10

11

11

25

15

19

30

15

15

16

17

11

12

19

24

15

15

18

16

38

39

12

12

McDuffie Modal

13

24

14

10

11

14

12

12

12

13

13

30

19

9

10

11

11

25

15

19

31

15

15

16

17

11

13

19

24

15

 

 

 

 

 

12

12

MacOnlea Modal

13

24

14

10

11

14

12

12

12

13

13

30

18

9

10

11

11

25

15

19

31

15

15

17

17

11

12

19

22

15

15

17

17

36

38

12

12

McKinnon Modal

13

24

14

10

11

14

12

12

12

13

13

30

16

9

10

11

11

25

15

19

32

15

15

17

18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Historic and current Transatlantic distribution
of McDuffie and associated names

( Note: In all cases Mc and Mac are lumped together as Mc )

NAME              USA                 USA               Glasgow       London
                        1790                1930                2004                2004
                       Census           Census         Phone           Phone

McDuffie         2                       3205                0                       1
McDuffee       25                     765                  0                       0
McDuffy           1                       901                  0                       0
McPhee           1                       2720                >200                80
McPhie            0                       293                  56                     10
McFee             10                     1501                13                     11
McFie              1                       122                  37                     15
McAfee            9                       5690                15                     17
McDuff             0                       1109                54                     17
Duff                  23                     9077                >200                >200
Duffy                4                       23909              >200                >200

NAME             Ancestry       Genealogy     USA               Canada
                        Message       Message        SS Tot
al        2004
                        Postings       Postings        Death
s           Phone

McDuffie         304                  566                  3205                46
McDuffee       84                     89                     inc ^                 inc ^
McDuffy           25                     0                       inc ^                 inc ^
McPhee           284                  433                  2379                1731
McPhie            22                     0                      inc ^                 inc ^
McFee             101                  110                  inc ^                 177
McFie              17                     305                  inc ^                 inc ^
McAfee            601                  2856                -                        257
McDuff             188                  109                  578                  578
Duff                  661                  2003                -                        >500
Duffy                976                  1453                -                        >500

inc ^ = included in the preceding count

COMMENTARY

In USA, Canada and Britain there are large numbers of Duffys.

The name McAfee is very common in the USA but not common in Britain and somewhere in between in Canada.

McDuffie is very common in the USA and very very rare in Britain (less than a handful).  Again Canada falls somewhere in between.

McPhees in all their spellings are common in USA, Canada and Britain with the spelling McPhee the most common and McFie the least.  In fact the official clan spelling MacFie is not very common at all.

The situation for Duffs and McDuffs is more similar on both sides of the Atlantic with many Duffs and few McDuffs.

TELSTRA AUSTRALIA TELEPHONE DIRECTORY 2005

 McDuffie                    10
McDuffee                     0
McDuffy                       0
McPhee                   1187
McPhie                      109
McFee                       52
McFie                       75
McAfee                     50
McDuff                     99
Duffy                    1942
Duff                       1119

 4643 ENTRIES

The above data for Australia shows that the pattern is more similar to UK than to USA with very few McDuffies and not many McAfees in Australia.  Also there are large numbers of McPhees Duffs and Duffys in a similar fashion to UK.  Many thanks to Mike McPhee, Australia for the above.

So what does all this mean?

Duff and Duffy are probably the oldest names, originating in Ireland over 1000 years ago.  An early start has probably led to these large numbers growing particularly during the 19th century.

The name McAfee is believed to have emerged from McDuffie/McFee in Ulster, during the Ulster Plantation period.  Consequently numbers in Scotland today are low.  Large numbers of Scotch-Irish emigrated to the USA and Canada during the 19th century, swelling the number of McAfees there.

The very large numbers of McDuffie/ees in the USA today compared with their almost non-existence in Scotland is a puzzle.  It seems that over an extended period from 1750 up to the present day, McDuffies in Scotland changed their name to McPhee in its variants or sometimes to McDuff.  The pronunciation of McDuffie and McPhee in Gaelic are very similar.  McDuffies who emigrated seemed to feel much less pressure for a name change, once in the USA.  The situation in Canada is more like in Scotland, with fewer McDuffies there.

It is hoped that the McDuffie DNA Surname Project will be able to show the relative degree of closeness between these different surname variants and others.  The debate about the common or different origins between Duffs and Duffys should become clear if a sufficient sample size is obtained.

Argyllshire.jpg (280457 bytes)

Map A Argyll and the McDuffies - Period 1700-1855

Argyll is the ancestral home of the McDuffies and in particular, the islands of the Inner Hebridies - Colonsay, Islay, Jura and Mull. This map shows parishes in which McDuffies lived for the duration of the Scottish Old Parochial Records 1700-1855. Note that McDuffies spread to the mainland, occupying Kintyre, Knapdale and lower Argyll. The map also shows McDuffs from the same period, who were probably originally McDuffies as distinct from Perthshire/Fife McDuffs. The map does not show McPhees/McFees. They were much more numerous and in addition to all of the above territory, occupied the Ardnamurchen peninsula, Morvern, Bute, Assynt including North Argyll and parts of Invernesshire. Once data from Scottish OP Records has been gathered, a McPhee map will also be posted.

 

Map B Current distribution of McPhees in Scotland (2004)

McPhee1.jpg (82814 bytes)

Map B shows the current distribution of all variants of surname McPhee in Scotland.  The data is taken from the current British Telecom directory.   The surnames included are M(a)cPhee, M(a)cPhie, M(a)cFee and M(a)cFie.  The text below attempts to relate the current distribution to the historic distribution and attribute reasons for population shift.  It is very interesting to note that there are still significant numbers of McPhees in or close to the original area of Scotland, which they occupied.

Map C Period 500 - 1623                                   Map D Period 1623 - 1746

McPhee3.jpg (76754 bytes)McPhee4.jpg (82348 bytes)

Looking at Map C, McDuffies (proto-McPhees) or their pre-surname ancestors would have come across to Scotland, from the North of Ireland between about 500AD and 800AD. It is in the territory known as Dalriada that they established themselves.  This included what is now Antrim in Ulster, and most of Argyll.   A pattern of free movement back and forth, between Colonsay Islay and Kintyre in Scotland and Antrim in Ireland seems to have been well established by the 15th century.  This was to continue for many subsequent years, the adjacent territories being regarded as effectively one country.  After all, the north of Ireland is closer to Kintyre and Islay than almost any other part of Scotland.   Also in early times they are thought to have occupied the Isle of Bute and parts of the Ayrshire coast.

Now looking at Map D, immediately following the break up of the clan in 1623, many McDuffies left Colonsay Islay and Jura and moved into Ardnamurchen and Morvern and into Lochaber.   They also moved to the Outer Hebridean Islands of Skye, Lewis, Harris and The Uists.  The murdering of the McDuffie clan chief by Col Kitto McDonald and their opposition to the Campbells of Argyll meant that staying in their Inner Hebridean island homes was untenable.  They occupied these new areas in fair numbers however the situation progressively deteriorated.

Map E Period 1689 - 1950                               Map F Showing traveller routes and fishing towns

McPhee5.jpg (83488 bytes)McPhee6.jpg (80208 bytes)

Looking at Map E the subsequent uprisings in 1689 (Bonnie Dundee), 1715 (Old Pretender) and 1745 (Young Pretender and Culloden) saw the expulsion of many clan members from their new territories.  Following that, the Highland Clearances were a very major factor in driving the McPhees away from their homes.  Now many McPhees had portable skills, other than subsistence farming.  They were skilled in fishing (having been islanders) and woodcraft and metalwork and in some cases would have crafted weapons and brooches for the clan chiefs in former times.  These forces which propelled them from their homes gave them 4 choices:

1. Move to the emergent cities where their skills would be highly useful due to the burgeoning industrial revolution. (shown on Map E)

2. Emigrate to Canada, the USA, Australia or New Zealand. (also shown on Map E)

3. Adopt a nomadic lifestyle, avoiding conflict when it arose and making full use of their portable skills of metalwork and woodcraft. (shown on Map F - routes)

4. Live upon the shoreline, fishing and harvesting shellfish. (also on Map F - coast)

In fact different groups of McPhees availed themselves of all four of these choices.  Their distribution in Scotland and overseas today is testimony to this.  The early centres of industrial production in Scotland include Glasgow, Paisley and Johnstone, Airdrie and Coatbridge, Falkirk, Grangemouth and Dundee.

Many McPhees went to live there, where their skills made Scottish engineering pre-eminent.   These skills in wood and metal craft, and in fishing also proved indispensable as migrants to Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.  Resourcefulness was essential to these new settlers in their new lands.

Those that adopted a nomadic life and became travellers (sometimes called tinkers) tended to travel between Kintyre, up through Lochaber, Fort William, Corpach, Kinlochleven up to Inverness and the Black Isle and down through Perthshire to Perth itself.  There was also seasonal movement from the outer isles to the east coast and back.  Dumbartonshire and Stirlingshire including Roseneath, Rhu and Drymen were also traditional routes.   Some extended their traditional skills into the road macadaming business.

McPhees who had fishing skills tended to live in caves in earlier times, on the coast particularly in Kintyre and Wick and Thurso.  Also some McPhees settled in East Coast fishing towns such as Aberdeen, Stonehaven and Arbroath.

Today McPhees are eminent in all aspects of business, the professions, skilled trades and the arts and the yellow pages shows McPhees in these positions in many Scottish towns and cities.  They have a reputation of being great storytellers and lovers of tradition.  Many McPhees maintain Highland Bagpiping skills continuing centuries old traditions.

The "Sugar MacFies" are believed to have come from the Isle of Bute, one of the first areas of habitation, and moved to Inverkip, Greenock when the industrial period commenced.  They became captains of the sugar industry and ultimately bore arms, issued by the Lord Lyon.

The above is not meant to be a definitive and comprehensive history of the McPhees.  It aims to show in diagramatic form, how the current distribution of McPhees in Scotland came about.  Please contact the Project Coordinator if you have further information on McPhee history.  In particular the history of the nomadic McPhees is not well known.

 


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