Fyfe Family Genealogy

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  Not unsurprisingly the surname Fyfe (or Fife) is derived from the place called Fife, also known as Fifeshire, in eastern Scotland situated between the firths of Tay and Forth.

The name Fife is a Sept of the Clan Macduff whose origins lie with the royal Scoto-Pictish line with Queen Gruoch its senior figure. William Shakespeare immortalised Queen Gruoch and her husband MacBeth in lierature. Her son succeeded the throne, but was murdered in 1058 and the throne went to Malcom Canmore (Malcolm III). Although he possessed a son by his first marriage, it was his sons by his second marriage to the Saxon Princess Margaret Aethling (descended from King Alfred of England) who usurped the throne after him. Malcom’s son Aedh married Margaret of Moray and he held two titles – The Earl of Fife and Abbot of Abernethy, the ancient Pictish capital.

The earldom of Fife became extinct in 1353 on the death of Duncan, the 12th Earl. In 1759 the Fife title returned with William Duff (Lord Braco) who was created Earl of Fife in the Irish peerage of Great Britain.

Family folklore suggests our Irish Fyfe (Fife) family origins go back to the late 17th and early 18th century when the authorities wanted to increase the proportion of Protestants in Ulster to counteract the Catholic majority in the rest of Ireland. To this end they arranged for a large number of Scottish Protestants, many of them Presbyterians, to settle in Ulster. It is believed that three Fyfe brothers, probably shepherds, came over. One settled in Londonderry and married a Catholic woman and our family descended from one of the other two.

The furthest back we can positively trace our ancestors is to John Fife, born in 1792 at Carmegrim, Portglenone in County Antrim and who died 31st March 1888 at the grand old age of 96. He had four children, Eliza, Jane, Ann and George (from whom I am descended).

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