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The Duffins

As we have seen Joseph David Duffin married Hellenor Eliza Purser in 1906, but who was Joseph ?  This has proved remarkably difficult to research. According to family legend Joseph David's father, (another Joseph) was born on a  boat coming from Ireland during the great Irish Famine of the 1840's & 50's and was never properly registered, hence the lack of any proper records.  I am not sure how likely this sounds and more to the point, it does not explain why I can't trace Joseph David's birth. The family must have ben well established and legit by the time he arrived in 1880.

I am accepting 1880 as the year of Joseph David's birth, this being the year he stated on his own marriage certificate and on the census return of 1911. He is unlikely to have got this wrong, however I can find no document prior to his marriage in 1906.  There is lots of stuff about a Joseph Duffin born in 1876, but absolutely bugger all about Joseph born in 1880.  Common sense says that they surely cant be the same person, but why can I find no birth record of JDD born 1880 ?  I can understand how someone could be a year or two out as regards their age but surely 4-5 years is pushing it a bit for a bloke of 27 !

I was happyb to dismiss this as untraceable until some DNA evidence came to light very recently.

I was recently notified by "Ancestry" of a new DNA match from my Paternal Grandfather's side of the family. This was a first and did not support the  "born on the boat"  theory. A common ancestor was identified three generations prior to Joseph David, this being one John Clare born 1798 in Clerkenwell, London. I am descended from his daughter Esther Clare, two other living Ancestry members are descended from his daughter Elizabeth Clare and both share a significant amount of DNA with me, so we are related whether this fits the theory or not !


Finally things clarified when the 1921 census became available.  For some reason , on this occasion Joseph, or whoever filled in the census form decided to be a bit more forthcoming with information. 

Fortunately the family had not moved address in the decade since the previous census, so I can be certain that I have the same guy.  It transpires that Joseph David Duffin was in fact born in Barrow in Furness Lancashire, not in London as I had presumed. Whilst it does not give an actual date of birth, it states that he was 41 years & 8 months on the census day of mid June 1921, so he was born October to December 1879.  In addition he had 3 brothers that I previously had no knowledge of, David & John being older and James younger.

This is odd, I had never heard any mention of Dad having had 3 uncles, which seems strange.I wonder if Joseph had fallen out with his family or something similar ?  Re-checking the documents, I remnain certain that I have the correct Joseph David Duffin, so what happened here has to join the collection of un-solvable family questions.

This is the family tree as I have worked it so far.  Click on the image to enlarge.

There are some issues with this tree and it may not be correct. John Clare & Esther Clare (McMurdle) are definite ancestors, with two DNA proved matches via Elizabeth Clare.  However the  steps between John & Esther Clare and Joseph David Duffin are uncertain.


In particular you will see that there are two Joseph Duffins married to Relf girls. With the DNA matches to Clare/ McMurdle, The Joseph Duffin born 1830 can not be in the direct line of descent.

On Joe David Duffin's marriage certificate of 1906 his father is stated to be deceased. Whilst his death is 1935 on the tree, there is in fact little evidence that this is correct. The information comes from the index of deaths and could refer to any Joseph Duffin. I am awaiting a full death  certificate for this guy to see if it sheds any more light on this.


unless I can locate Joseph David's birth record or get further DNA evidence it is hard to move this much further forward.

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