Ayrshire, Scotland | William Duff | Birth (about 1792) and parents ?

+4 votes


Despite research, it has been a while since I can find the date, place of birth and parents of my third great grandfather William Duff. They are not mentioned in marriage, death or inheritance documents.

The 1841 census indicates that he was 45 years old, born in Ayrshire and the list of deaths in 1842 that he would have died at the age of 50. He would therefore have been born in the 1790s. He does not appear to have been born in Largs, Ayrshire. The naming pattern would indicate that his father's name was also William and his mother Jean. But both the date range and the possible first names of the parents do not give results.

The sources listed in his profile have been crossed with the ScotlandsPeople website.

The Ayreshireroots website mentions: "1842 Nov 21 William Duff Elder Session Clerk Parish Church & feuer (age 50) " but I don't know how to use this information.

I can't find the link anymore, but on one of the genealogy sites, a user had indicated that it could be William Duff born in Kilbirnie in 1777. This family seems to have emigrated to Largs, but the date of birth for William seems far too old.

Thank you for your help.

WikiTree profile: William Duff
in Genealogy Help by Maïlys Llavador G2G4 (4.4k points)
edited by Maïlys Llavador
In the late 1600’s early 1700’s our family had traveled to Ireland. They were Presbyterian ministers and hiding in Ireland, but came back during the wars, had land in Lesmahagow and Kilmarnock Ayershire so maybe they went across to have the child in Ireland near mom and dad? Also another thought? Search you can try? Though Irish records ugh! Lol
Hello Mary, thank you for all this very useful information and tips!

5 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer

From the recently released Kirk Session minutes:

Largs 30 Novr 1842

...The Session also unanimously agreed to record their deep sense of the loss which they and this community have sustained by the death of William Duff a member of this Session and for many years Session Clerk. They consider it only justice to his memory, thus to mark their opinion of the honourable, accurate and faithful manner in which he discharged the duties of Ses[sion] Cl[er]k and Kirk Treasurer which had been committed unto his care.

CH2/923/1, Largs kirk session, Minutes, (1814-1854) image no 85 - available from ScotlandsPeople and free to view (charge to save/download). You can read backwards through the Session minutes to find out when he was appointed as Session Clerk and Treasurer; and read even further backwards to find out when he was ordained as an Elder.

A feuar is "one who holds land in feu" see https://dsl.ac.uk/entry/snd/feuar ie owns property so probably worth tracking down property records for Largs.

William's inventory was confirmed in Ayr Sheriff Court on 15 November 1843 and you can also download that from ScotlandsPeople

by Sheena Tait G2G6 Mach 6 (67.7k points)
selected by Maïlys Llavador
Brilliant, Sheena.
Thank you very much Sheena!

After looking at image 85, I just went back to image 1 to quickly browse Largs kirk session minutes. In this 1st image, William Duff is mentioned twice: July 1814, Elder and Session clerk and Treasurer. Gratefully,

Thanks for the star Mailys smiley

+5 votes

Hi Mailys,

There were two volumes published in 1914 by Alistair and Hettie Tayler called "The book of the Duffs".  Might I suggest that you try these. Vol One and Vol Two.  Good Luck.

by David Urquhart G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
Thank you David
Hi David, I did not find a connection with any of the main branches for now, but thank you for these books on duff genealogy (huge family!), they are really interesting. Have a nice day.
+5 votes

The profile shows you've covered all the 'basic' research, and more. If David's suggestion doesn't help, you might try some of the local Ayrshire books to see if there is any mention of these Duffs. A list can be found here on the Ayrshire page.

by Bobbie Hall G2G6 Pilot (193k points)

Thank you Bobbie for the Ayrshire page.

+3 votes
Thank you so much for your help, I will check out the resources you shared!
by Maïlys Llavador G2G4 (4.4k points)
+1 vote

Hello everyone and thank you again for your help.

I have gone through the many sources that you each communicated. The one that, with the information I have, has given the most results for the moment, are Largs Kirk Session, which mentions a William Duff.

Largs kirk session, Minutes (1814-1854), CH2/923/1 (NB : Presbytery of Irvine <then in 1834> of Greenock / and Synod of Glasgow & Ayr)

Image number 1

July 31, 1814 - The Session being met & constituted […] admitted as Members of Session […] William Duff in Town […] they being this day ? ordained Elders of this Parish. The above persons […] now are all the present Elders of this Parish.

July 11, 1814 - The Session being met & constituted […] appointed William Duff on of their member to the Session Clerk & Treasurer […].

But an ordination in 1814 ? That made a William Duff born in 1792 maybe too young to be a ruling elder (22 years)... I found the answer, there is a second ordination of a William Duff in 1837.

Image number 31

December 3, 1837 - Which day the Kirk-Session of Largs being met & constituted, ? the Minister & elders, the Session considering that they had formerly resolved to add to their member the following Sessions, by ordaining them to the Eldership in this parish; viz: […] William Duff, Feuar in Largs, […] there all residing in the parish […].

As elders were ordained for life, it mentions two different William Duff, which seems confirmed with a second entry in the Ayrshireroots wibe site : 1831, Aug 30, William Duff feuer Main Street, Elder Treasurer, Parish Church (age 73).

So, Largs Kirk Session have already advanced my research, the father of William Duff (a1792-1842) could be William Duff (a1758-1831).

To be continued smiley

by Maïlys Llavador G2G4 (4.4k points)
edited by Maïlys Llavador

Well done Mailys! yes Don't forget to check to see if there was also a tribute in the Kirk Session minutes for the William who died in 1831 wink

(Edited for typo)

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