Well, it was a surprise to receive a response 7 years later, but it was lovely to hear from you! Just shows, never give up hope in genealogy research. I'll try to explain the family situation. My late mother Helen Duff's grandfather was John Duff. John Duff had a sister Margaret and brother James - all born between 1844-1848. Their parents were Isabella Weir and James Duff. James Duff was a squarewright (skilled joiner/carpenter) as was his father, John Duff, who settled in Gamrie in the early 1800s. James Duff died just before his son John was born in 1848.At that time the family lived in Turiff, Aberdeenshire.
John Duff, born 1848, was my great grandfather. He married Elspet Watson and lived in Huntly where he brought up his family. A son William Alexander Duff was my grandfather. He ended up in Aberdeen, married to Alice Sutherland. Their children were William, Alistair and Helen (my mother).
Now, after John was born, I tried to locate them, with their mother - but had loads of problems doing so. My idea about John certainly being looked after by another family started when all his children followed the normal naming patterns (grandmother/mother etc etc), but John's firstborn was called William Alexander Duff - quite out of place as I would have expected this to have been James (after his father). It is a long time since I've looked at all my records on the Duff family, so I must look tonight and see what else I have.I think I would have checked later census records, though unfortunately, it was pre-1855 so I cannot see birth records held in Edinburgh (on Scotland's People website).I will do some checking up!It would be interesting if John is with your Alexander family in the 1851 or 1861 census record?
Kate Ferris PS I tried emailing you to your stated email address, but it just bounced... and bounced!