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Pinpointing Patrick Duffy's (Dallas fame) Irish Origin

Patrick Duffy Kilmovee, County Mayo July 2022One of my enduring memories of growing up in the 1980’s in Ballymun in Dublin, Ireland was the theme tune from the TV programme ‘Dallas’ (in Dublin we had 4 TV channels, reduced to 2 if you lived in the countryside). To say that Dallas changed Ireland is probably not an over statement, in the countryside where women still wore shawls, I was informed that they would watch Dallas with a mixture of shock and awe (as one local in Kilmovee explained to me). After 40 years Dallas has remained the most popular TV program ever to air in Ireland. So, to work with stars like Patrick Duffy and Linda Purl has been an absolute pleasure. 

Patrick Duffy's Y-DNA matchesLike most Irish Americans, Patrick had a vague idea of his Duffy ancestors origin, with family lore indicating that his Duffys originated somewhere within County Mayo. I therefore recommended a simple painless commercial ancestral Y-DNA test which would only explore his Duffy paternal line. With a Y-DNA test you receive the names of the males with whom you share a common male ancestor, and as a rule the more genetic markers that are shared the more recent that shared paternal ancestor once lived. The surnames of one’s Y-DNA revealed genetic relatives are NOT RANDOM! Firstly, Patrick matched others named ‘Duffy’ which indicated that he is descended from a Duffy-Adam (the first male to take that surname when surnames first appeared an estimated 1,000 years ago). For any male taking a Y-DNA test there is a 50% chance that one is descended from their surname Adam. However, Patrick also matched others with a mixture of Irish surnames like Campbell (Campbell is a surname of both Irish and Scottish origin) Corcoran, Lydon, and Ward. Patrick Duffys Y-DNA matches link back to MayoWhat you are seeing is a snapshot of the surnames (Duffy, Campbell, Corcoran, Lydon, and Ward) that arose among a tribal group of Gaelic Irish males living in a specific part of Ireland an estimated 1,000 years ago. Since Irish surnames still concentrate in census data in the area they first appeared one can examine where those surnames occur in early census data and identify an area common to all, and pinpoint Patrick’s Irish Duffy origin.  The Irish Origenes Surnames of MayoWhen one plots where farmers with those surnames occur in early census data it reveals that it is the Duffys of Kilmovee in East Mayo (close to the border with Roscommon) that one finds surrounded by farmers named Campbell, Corcoran, Lydon, and Ward. What the Y-DNA results revealed was that Patrick’s direct male ancestor had lived in the farmland surrounding the village of Kilmovee when he had first took the Duffy surname at some point in the last 1,000 years. Given Ireland’s rich history his Duffys have left evidence of their long ancestral links with Kilmovee in the surrounding placenames (Duffy’s Lake), monuments (Duffy’s Castle) and in the DNA of the local inhabitants. Patrick Duffy’s Irish Origenes Y-DNA Case Study Report can be downloaded and studied by CLICKING HERE.

Patrick Duffy's Irish Origenes revealed Irish Paternal originOn the 7th of July (2022) I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick and Linda in person in Kilmovee. I was stunned to learn that the local Duffys were aware that Patrick Duffy was kin, and we met some distant cousins. A tour around Kilmovee revealed lots of Duffys, including more ‘Patrick Duffys,’ the site of the historical Duffy homestead, and for me a wealth of local history and folklore. I learned from the local Duffys that the O’Donnells were banished from the area (being notorious landlords) and that there is a curse on an ancient burial cairn on Duffy land (a Duffy had removed stones and fell ill and did not recover until the stones were returned). The tour took in the ancient ‘St. Patrick’s Graveyard’ where the local Duffys (including Patrick’s ancestors), together with locals with surname like Rush and Towey are buried (pictured). The day ended of course with a few pints in Kilmovee’s solitary pub appropriately named ‘Duffys Bar.’ I met some fascinating people, including a gentleman named Gill, whose son Nathan Gill (age 12) is a ‘Seanchaí’ (bard, storyteller), I hope to share his videos in the future.

I had forgotten how welcoming Mayo folk are, and I have to give a shout out to Kilmovee Heritage Centre for a marvellous memorable time, the local airbnb where we stayed (Pat’s Place, Pat’s mother was of course a Duffy) and the lady of the house ‘Caroline Goonan’ who does some amazing local crafts (Instagram @zaraellensgarden). 

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English Origenes

Scottish Origenes