We are told by Dr. George Black in his invaluable life’s work The Surnames of Scotland, that MacDuffee is one of the oldest and most interesting Gaelic surnames that we possess. "Its place and concept, "says Dr. Gilles "go far away beyond those of even our old names" (Place names of Argyllshire, p 82.). Dr. Black defines Macduffy from Mac Dhuibhshith, "son of Dubhsith", a name meaning "black or dark one of peace". But he reminds us that there was a family on the island of south Uist in the Hebrides known as Dubh-sidh of "Black Fairy" (sidh can equally mean elf) from a tradition that they had been in touch with the fairy folk. The MacDuffees (or alternate spelling Macfies) were also a Hebridean clan.
The chiefs of the clan were the MacDuffies of Colonsay, an island that eventually passed in ownership to the MacDonalds, the Campbells, and the McNeills of Colonsay and was held by Lord Strathcona.
One of the oldest grave slabs, dated about 1539, on Oronsay was carved for Murchardus MacDufie. A second grave slab dated 1554 was carved for Donalldus MacDuffie, Conventual Prior of Oronsay. Both of these slabs, among others, were originally located in the MacDuffie Aisle connected to the Priory. They have since been moved to the former "Prior’s House". The Oronsay Cross, just south of the Priory, was carved for Colinus, son of Cristinus MacDuffie.
When a group of interested descendants decided to have an organizational meeting at Grandfather Mountain, NC in July 1962, it was held in the hope that a body could be formed essentially to foster the preservation of our Scottish heritage, provide for the exchange of information on the genealogy of the various branches of the family, a central agency for recording family matters and to provide a means for social exchange and friendship for the members. Under the leadership of Convener Allen MacDuffie, Esq. these culminated in the incorporation in the District of Columbia originally as the MacDuffee Clan of America, Inc. on December 11, 1962. We are currently the MacDuffee Clan Society of America the oldest Society in North America of Clan Macfie. It was felt that the place of incorporation would favor no particular state and that the spelling of the Clan Society name be a composite spelling that would appeal to the many variations. It is assumed that many people modified the name of MacDuffie to McDuffie, McDuffee, McPhee, MacPhee, Mcfie, McAfee, MacGuffey, Duffee, Duffy, Fee and MaHaffie.
This data and the names as spelled were compiled and published by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, 1994.
|MacDuffee Clan Society Tartan-Modern|
|Pro Rege = "For the king"|