This web site has been over ten years in the making. Years ago when I
was very young, I asked my father about our Duffus family heritage. He knew little except
for the fact that our family came from Dundee, Scotland with my great-great-grandfather's
emigration from Scotland to the United States sometime in the 1860's or 1870's.
My dad had a magazine, The New Caldonian, published in 1912,
which contained an article about my great-great-grandfather, John Duffus, who grew up in
Scotland and who, in his early 20's, became a missionary with the London Missionary
Society, traveling to Madagascar with the idea of converting the populace to Christian
beliefs. It was while in Madagascar that the queen of that country appointed Mr. Duffus as
an embassy to the Courts of Napoleon and Queen Victoria. John Duffus' letters of
introduction, and a ring given to him by Queen Victoria, have been passed down from
generation to generation.
During my years in college, I would occasionally scour the stacks in the
University of Maryland library to find what I could about our family name. I learned that
it was a very unusual name which graced an area and old castle in northeast Scotland.
Situated about a mile from the North Sea, near the town of Elgin in Morayshire, Scotland,
the castle of Duffus had originally been built in the 1100's.
Over the years I collected bits and pieces about the Duffus family
history. However, it was not until 1988 that I had the opportunity to travel to Duffus
Castle with my father, stepmother, brother and my son, Trey. Seeing the Castle and
becoming familiar with the history of the local area, spurred my interest in generating as
much information as I could to commemorate the Duffuses who came before me.
Should you visit the library at Elgin and inquire about the name of
Duffus, you will be told that only those who left the town of Duffus became Duffuses, and
it is only a coincidence that people have the last name of Duffus. Rather than accept this
theory, I have come to find that many of the Duffuses who I have met seem to have similar
genetic traits. Going back to the small community of Duffus 1000 years ago, a portion of
the population must have been related to one another. By supposition, many of the 1500 or
more Duffuses in the world today have to be connected in some way.
Once we and our immediate family members pass from this life, all that
is left is a headstone in a cemetery, a few trinkets and photos passed from one generation
to the next which have a tendency to be lost over time. The Internet can be a much better
memorial to those who have bestowed upon us - life, with its associated genetic qualities,
having been passed like a torch from one generation to the next. So it is with this web
site that I wish to commemorate the lives which have been associated with the name of
My thanks to those who have shared their family information and history
with me: my father, Jack Duffus and my mother, Joan Nancy O'Keeffe Duffus; Gordon Douglas
Duffus who provided me with many historical accounts and who has assisted me in my quest
to contact other Duffuses; my Aunt Emma who had an interest in preserving our family
identity and John Duffus' keepsakes; my cousins, Valerie Duffus Price, John Howard Duffus,
Irene Duffus Ament, Cathy Trapp and Dr. John Henderson Duffus who furnished me with many
pieces and pictures for members of our common family tree; Harry Duffus of Dundee who
given me much information over the past few years; and all of the Duffuses who have
provided me with their family information. Geoff Pooch in Hamilton, New Zealand has given
me much appreciated techinal assistance. I would further like to thank the Church of the
Latter Day Saints for its accumulation of valuable genealogy materials and free
access to its family history centers all over the world.
Finally, as an aside, I would like to share an account with you about
how I was to connect with our Scottish relatives. About two years ago I found out that I
had prostate cancer. Being out of work for a number of weeks because of surgery I found
that I had a considerable amount of time on my hands. In my quest to discover family
connections I wrote to Duffuses in Dundee, one of who was a Nancy Duffus. About two months
later I received a letter from Dr. John Henderson Duffus saying that his mother who had
died a few months earlier in Dundee was Nancy Duffus. The letter had been forwarded to Dr.
Duffus in Edinburgh. John provided me with a family tree which in some respects was
similar to ours. But he was missing the American connection with the emigration of my
great-great- grandfather to the United States. It seems that John descended from a George
Duffus of Dundee, his great-great-grandfather who was a whaling captain. Coincidentally,
John bore the name of my great-great-great- grandfather, John Henderson Duffus, a tailor
in Dundee. His brother was George Duffus. Later, John and I spoke over the phone. We found
many other coincidences: both of our first names are John: both of our mothers were named
Nancy; our fathers had been career military officers; we married our wives in 1967;
counting four generations from John Duffus (b. 1796), the father of John Henderson Duffus
and George Duffus, our immediate families had members who were part of the accountancy and
legal professions. My brother is an accountant and I'm a lawyer. One of John's daughters
is a lawyer in Edinburgh, and the other is studying to be an accountant.
John David Duffus, Jr. -- 1998
David Duffus passed away 3rd January 2005, this website has been resurrected in
his memory, by Geoff Pooch. David's obituary can be read here.