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Looking for family history for Mark George Duffy as I am traveling to Ireland next March.

Mark George Duffy

B:1780 Ireland

D:Before 1858 Kesh, County Fermanagh, Ireland

Michelle Walker

Friday 4th Aug 2023, 08:15AM

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  • Hello Michelle,

    Birth, marriage, and death records for all religious denominations were not recorded by the Irish government until 1864. This means there will not be a death record of Mark George Duffy, who died before 1858 according to your records.

    In addition, Catholic churches in Ireland were not required to record death or burial records for its parishioners in the 1850s, though some Catholic Parish churches actually did record deaths/burials.

    The Catholic Parish of Magheraculmoney, in which Kesh is located, did not record death or burial records when Mark died, as far as I could determine from online sources such as the National Library of Ireland.


    I found the Magheraculmoney Catholic Parish baptism transcriptions, as well as copies of original baptism records for 11 children of Alexander and Mary Duffy. The transcriptions are from the Find My Past (FMP) website. The copies of original baptisms are from the National Library of Ireland. I don’t know if you have these baptisms, but I’ll proceed as if you do not.

    The baptism for Catherine is difficult to read but only includes the name of her father Alexander. The baptism for Ann Duffy does not give the name of her parents at all. The baptisms for George and Mark only give the first name of their father Alexander. The remaining baptisms give the names of the father and mother, Alexander and Maria. Only one of the baptisms gives a questionable entry for Mary’s maiden name, as you will see later.

    The names of the children and years of their baptisms are coming up in a bit. First names in the baptism records are in Latin.

    Baptisms with the asterisk * in the list below are for those children who were on board the Stebonheath with their parents Alexander and Mary Duffy when they left Plymouth, England on 30 September 1857, and arrived in Sydney, Australia on 27 February 1858.

    Alexander, Mary and eight of their children left Ireland in 1857, two years after their two daughters Ann and Catherine left for Australia, arriving in Sydney in 1855. This information comes from a typescript called “The Duffys,” found at

    The Duffys typescript mentions that Alexander Duffy’s father was George, who was deceased as of 1857, and that his mother was Catherine, who was still alive as of 1857.

    The typescript also shows that Mary’s father was Felix, who was alive, and that her mother was Bessie, who was also alive as of 1857. Their last name is not given.


    Catharinam “Daffy,” 1836
    Annam Duffy, 1838
    Georgium Duffy, 1840 *
    Marcum Duffy, 1842 *
    Isaac Duffy, 1844 *
    Eleanorum Duffy, 1845 *
    Saram Duffy, 1848 *
    Jacobum Alexandrum Duffy, 1850 *
    Mariam Duffy, 1852 *
    Elizabetham Duffy, 1854 *
    Margaret Duffy, 1857

    As you can see the baptisms of the Duffy children are chronologically consistent, taking place every two to three years from 1836 to 1854.

    Margaret Duffy, born 1857, is not recorded with her parents and siblings when the family arrived in Sydney, Australia on 27 February 1858. This is an indication that she was either too young to travel, or that she had died before her family left for Australia.


    Catherine was baptized on 22 November 1836. The FMP transcriber who recorded Catherine’s baptism spells her surname as “Daffy,” rather than Duffy. This type of error usually occurs because of the handwriting in the register, or because the register may be too faded or dark to read properly. The names of Catherine’s parents are not transcribed, but as you will see a little later, you can just make out that Catherine’s father is Alexander in a copy of the original baptism record.

    The link for the FMP baptism transcription follows. After you click on the link you will be asked to register with Find My Past. Registration is free:

    The transcription in turn, has a link to access the Magherculamoney Parish baptism records held by the National Library of Ireland. You won’t have to access Catherine’s baptism record as I’ve attached it to this reply.

    As you can see in the baptism register, there is handwriting to the right of Catherine’s baptism, but this section of the register is too dark to make out what it says.


    The FMP transcription for Ann shows she was baptized on 12 April 1838. You’ll see her parents are not recorded in the transcription:

    A copy of Ann’s original baptism record is attached to this reply.

    Following Ann’s name are the initials “Sps,” which stands for “Sponsors.” Sponsors are the godparents. The godparents are Eleonora Duffy and J. Connoly. Eleonora Duffy may have been Alexander’s sister, or perhaps sister-in-law. To the right of J. Connoly’s name you’ll see the numbers 2 0. This indicates that Ann’s parents, Alexander and Mary, made a donation to the church of 2 Shillings for the baptism ceremony.


    George was baptized on 5 January 1840. His father’s first name is in the Latin, “Alexandri.” As you’ll see George’s mother’s name is not recorded:

    Attached to this reply is the original baptism record for George, showing his godparents are “Bernardus Humphreys & uxor.” Uxor is the Latin for “Wife.” George’s godparents are Bernard Humphreys and Wife. You’ll also see the number 4. This could be a 4 Shilling or a 4 Pence donation to the church.


    The FMP transcription shows that Mark Duffy was baptized on 4 February 1842. Only his father Alexandri is recorded:

    A copy of Mark’s original baptism record, attached to this reply, shows that his godfather’s first name is also Bernardus, but not Humphreys. I could not tell with certainty what his last name was, but it looks like it could be Majer. After his name you’ll see “& Soros.” Soros is the Latin for “Sister,” as in a college Sorority, and so Mark’s godparents would be Bernard (Majer?) and his sister.


    The FMP transcription shows that Isaac, no surname, was born on 14 January 1844. His parent’s names are not in recorded the transcription:

    A copy of the original baptism record however, shows that Isaac’s father is “Alexandri” Duffy. To the right of Alexander’s name is the notation, “Sp quaturor.” The Sp, as you know, stands for “Sponsors,” or godparents. The word quaturor in Latin means 4, or quarter. I don’t know what this means in the context of Isaac’s baptism record with regard to his godparents. To the right of the Sp quaturor notation are the numbers 5 and 0, which means that Alexander donated 5 Shillings to the church for performing the baptism.

    When Alexander and Mary Duffy sailed from Plymouth on board the ship Stebonheath on 30 September 1857, their son Isaac is recorded as 10 years old. He would have actually been 13 years old in 1857.


    Eleanor was baptized on 19 December 1845. In this FMP transcription you’ll see that her parents are Alexandri Duffy and Maria Duffy. She would be the first child of Alexander and Mary Duffy to be born during the Great Famine in Ireland:

    A copy of the original baptism record is attached to this reply, and shows that Eleanor’s godparents are Dionisius (Denis) McAuly et uxor. The godparents then would be Denis McAuly and his wife. The name of the priest who baptized Eleanor was F. Gilespie.


    Sarah was baptized on 10 March 1848. She was also born during the Great Famine. Her FMP baptism transcription can be found at:

    See the attachment of the original baptism record for Sarah Duffy from the National Library of Ireland.

    I’ve translated a copy of Sarah’s original baptism record from the Latin:

    “Baptism of Sarah Duffy child of Alexander and Maria
    Sponsors Bernard and Violel (Violet) Humphrey.” The baptism was performed by F. Smollen.


    James Alexander Duffy was baptized on 15 July 1850. He was the third child of Alexander and Maria baptized during the Great Famine. See the FMP transcription:

    The attached copy of the original baptism record for James Alexander Duffy shows his godparents were Bernard and Violet Humphreys.

    This child looks like the Alexander Duffy who left with his parents and siblings for Australia on board the ship Stebonheath from Plymouth in 1857, though he would have been 7 years old in 1857 rather than 5 years old.


    Mary Duffy was baptized on 8 August 1852 according to the FMP transcription. Many historians place the date of the Irish Famine from 1845 to 1851. But lately I have read that other historians have dated the famine to the year 1852, the year that Mary was born and baptized. The effects of the famine on the Irish population however, lasted into the 20th century. See Mary’s baptism transcription at:

    A copy of Mary’s original baptism record shows her godfather was Michael Shaw and her godmother Maria Humphreys.


    According to the FMP transcription, Elizabeth Duffy was baptized on 17 November 1854:

    A copy of Elizabeth’s original baptism record only records a godfather, Bernardus Humphreys. The baptism record is attached to this reply.


    Margaret was baptized on 29 March 1857. The transcription gives a partial maiden name for her mother Mary. This is “McGup?”

    A copy of Margaret’s original baptism record shows her mother’s maiden names was actually McGee. The Godparents are John Maguire and Margaret McCauley.

    Michelle, the surname Humphreys occurs at least five times in the Duffy baptism records. In his 1840 baptism, George’s godparents are Bernardus Duffy and wife.

    In the 1848 baptism for Sara Duffy, Bernard and Violet Humphreys are her godparents. They are also the godparents in James alexander’s 1850 baptism.

    In Mary Duffy’s 1852 baptism, Maria Humphreys is her godmother, and in Elizabeth Duffy’s 1854 baptism, Bernardus Humphreys is her godfather.

    The Humphreys and Duffys may have been related. If not related, then close friends. In your research of the Duffy family in Australia, have you come across the surname “Humphreys.”


    I found a beautiful Ordnance Survey Map in colour of Kesh at the GeoHive website. The map is from the 1829 to 1841 time period, and so represents the way the town looked in the 1830s and early 1840s when the Duffy family had lived there. I’ve actually attached the map twice to this reply. One is an overall view of the town, and the other a magnified view of the town centre. Both maps show the Kesh River, in blue, flowing through the town.

    The link that follows will take you to a Google Street View of Main Street Kesh looking north toward the Kesh River:

    In some records you may see the townland of Kesh spelled “Cash,” which would make more sense, as the letter K does not exist in the Irish language, neither do the letters J, Q, V, W, X, Y, or Z, for that matter.

    The name of the town in Irish is Ceis, and is pronounced, “Kesh.” A translation of Ceis, I believe, is “Wicker,” though I really don’t know how the town got this name.


    In the Irish language the famine is known as “An Gorta Mór,” or the Great Hunger. It is estimated that during the famine of the mid-1840s to the early 1850s, 1 million people had died of hunger and disease. Some historians place the number of people who died at 2 million. Another million had emigrated to countries such as England, the United States, Canada, and Australia, where the Duffy family members ended up in 1855 and 1858.

    For more information about the famine, see the Wikipedia article at:

    In 2012 a book by author John Cunningham was published about the famine in County Fermanagh. This book is entitled, “The Great Silence - the Famine in County Fermanagh 1845 – 1850.” You can read more about this book at the website:

    The Ireland Reaching Out website has just released a guide about ancestors who left Ireland because of the famine. See “How to research ancestors who immigrated during the Irish famine," at:

    This guide includes information about Australian newspaper articles which have been digitized, Australian cemeteries research, convict records, and the Ireland-Australia transportation database.


    Michelle, if you are planning to visit Kesh, Fermanagh next March, you may want to take advantage of the free Ireland Reaching Out program called, “Meet and Greet.” You send the Meet and Greet form to Ireland Reaching Out with the dates you will be in County Fermanagh. A volunteer, if available for the dates you are there, will be able to meet you and show you around Kesh and surrounding townlands, and perhaps give you more insight about what the area was like when your Duffys had lived there prior to leaving for Australia.

    The Ireland Reaching Out Meet and Greet form can be downloaded from:

    Kind Regards,

    Dave Boylan


    Find My Past (FMP)
    National Library of Ireland
    GeoHive: Ordnance Survey Maps
    Google Street View
    Book: John Cunningham, Author: “The Great Silence - the Famine in County Fermanagh 1845 – 1850.”
    Ireland Reaching Out: "How to research ancestors who immigrated during the Irish famine."
    Ireland Reaching Out Meet and Greet


    Friday 11th Aug 2023, 10:22AM

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