This unusual and interesting name recorded in a number of spellings including Dovey, Duffy, Duthy, Dowie, Dowey, and Duthie, is of pre 10th century Gaelic origin. It is equally recorded both in Scotland and in Ireland, and in both countries has generally lost its prefix. The Irish Gaelic form was O' Dubhthaigh, meaning the "descendant of Dubhthach", a byname derived from "dubh", meaning black, whilst the Scottish was Mac Dhuibhshithe. The first archbishop of Armagh in Ireland was called "Dubhthaigh", although whether the subsequent surname had anything to do with this archbishop is unknown. Gaelic surnames usually originate from a nickname or byname for the first chief of the clan. If this is the case with this name it suggests that he was called "Dubh", either because of his black hair or complexion, or perhaps his bad temper! Early examples of the surname recordings include John Mc John Dowy of Boespick and Thomas McAllester Dowie of Dalquhalliche, Scotland, who in 1613 were fined for trying to re-establish the outlawed Clan Macgregor. Other recordings include John Duffy who is given as "living in Chaplains Choise, Virginia", on February 16th 1623, making him one the very first settlers in New England, and Alexander Duthie who was a sugar planter in Jamaica in 1769. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Marjory Duthe, which was dated 1492, in Holme, Orkney, during the reign of King James 1V of Scotland, 1488 - 1513. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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