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Firstly to introduce myself, I am Neil Duffin, the younger son of Marguerite Collette Cameron &  Joseph Francis Duffin. Genealogy has long fascinated me and over the past ten years or so I have been researching my family background. The book produced in 2012 and this website are the products of much time scrabbling around on-line records, graveyards etc.

On the morning of  November 15th 2012 Marguerite Collette Duffin died and with her went living memory of a lifestyle now vanished. Mum's memories of this  way of life have long fascinated me. As a kid being brought up in a 1930's semi-detached in North Harrow, my reality was street after street of virtually identical houses, occasionally interspersed with a parade of shops. It could not have been more different to hers. Her childhood at Chapelton surrounded by green fields, the wooded hillsides and the Cairngorm Mountains in the purple distance, always seemed to me to have been idyllic. As a child the highlight of my year was the week or two we would spend at "Nannies" as it was to us. The one fly in the ointment was the distance, getting there was a real pain !



As Mum became old and especially after Dad died, I spent a lot of time with her in Pinner and like most older people she loved to talk of her past. I had conceived a plan to research our family tree and to put it together with some of her memories as a 90th birthday present. My visits to Pinner then became an exercise in keeping her talking and writing down as much as possible.  Sadly Mum did not quite make it to 90 dying 3 months short. Fortunately the printers had sent me a couple of proof copies to check, and these were in time, in fact Mum helped me with the proof-reading as my spelling is so crap!

It is now 10 years since I completed the original book in 2012. Life has continued, Generation -2 has expanded in number and it will not be so many years before its older members start thinking about starting on Generation -3, or at least hoping for a chance to do more than think about it!

I have done much more background research and the family tree has greatly expanded. There is vastly more information easily available on-line now, than there was even just 8-10 years ago, making confirming and cross-checking links quicker and more accurate.

After years of hopeful hints, notes sent up chimneys and suchlike, Santa Claus finally twigged that I would really like a DNA test for Christmas, that is a voluntary DNA test rather than one done "down the Nick"! The results of this analysis has greatly expanded the tree and made a lot of it much more certain.

The biggest change however is that I have now researched Dad's background. His Father's family seems to be a closed book, his Grandfather came from Ireland at the time of the potato  famine. His name was Joseph Duffin like his son & grandson, by the time his son married Hellenor Eliza Purser in 1906 he was dead, whilst living and working he was a joiner. That is the sum total of what I can find out about him.

Dad's mother was a Purser, and they have proved to be a rich vein to explore, much to my surprise I have been able to trace them back 21 generations to 1380, mainly thanks to the work of an obsessive 19th Century vicar, but more on him later.


The Pursers moved to London from Bedfordshire in the mid 19th Century expanding their family business. Within a mere 150-200 years they had to deal with scandal, criminality, great wealth, bigamy, emigration at 12 hours notice and loss of a landed estate and country mansion.  So they have been a fun bunch to investigate.


Whilst doing this I have come across and in many cases been in contact with distant relatives all over the world, as well as some who are surprisingly not so distant, this has been fun.

With so much new information to hand, rather than just update the previous family tree, I have gone back to the beginning and rebuilt it from scratch.  Fortunately this did not turn up any glaring errors in the main trunk of the tree, however some of the side branches have considerably changed.

The tree itself consisting of over 12,000 individual records about 2,250 people over 21 generations, would be enormous if written down as a single hard copy. To fit the needs of web pages and perhaps a future second book, I have picked segments of interest out of the tree and linked them to the relevant text, this is fine but it can sometimes be hard to see how the segments relate to each other.  To get more of an overview the entire tree can be seen and browsed on-line at   Normally a subscription is needed to view the site, however there are frequently promotions that allow non members to look at but not change, some of the member's public trees. If there is no such promotion then as with most websites you get 14 days free trial.


If you are really stuck contact me and "Borrow" my log-in details. Over the years Ancestry have "trousered" a fair bit of my cash, from  subs and some of the add-ons they promote from time to time. After this,  for them to expect my relatives, whose tree it is, to pay to see their own tree does not seem fair. So whilst Ancestry may not be best pleased.  " I won't tell teacher  if you don't." They should not be so parsimonious and greedy .

The next few chapters are about the process of researching the family background,  where all of the information came from and how it was put together into the family tree.

This is going to be of little interest to most readers, whilst the CONTINUE button takes you to this section, the CONTINUE SHORT CUT   button skips it.

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