The O'Donoghue Society

For all those interested in history and genealogy and whose names are derived from the Gaelic


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A handprint, Mylar slides, a box of “cosmic crayons” from the early 20th century—these are some of the things tucked in a back room of the South Australia Museum, relics of expeditions into Australia's center. From the late 1920s through the 1970s, the University of Adelaide’s Board for Anthropological Research organized over 40 expeditions to learn about Aboriginal people. Sometimes traveling for months by camel, anthropologists recorded and collected whatever they could think of—genealogical charts, children’s drawings, sound recordings on wax cylinder, standardized tests, Rorschach blot responses, and hair samples.

Now, decades later, those hair samples—long filed away in small manila envelopes—have become a source of DNA for Ray Tobler and Alan Cooper. Specialists in ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide, they wanted to know how humans first migrated across this continent, thousands of years ago. Although many Aboriginal people who gave hair samples to BAR had already been displaced from their homelands by European colonists, their family trees and stories allowed Tobler and Cooper to connect the samples with ancestral homes—and DNA sequences allowed them to see the relationships between groups. “We were able to see beyond the European disruption,” Cooper says.

Before the geneticists could work with the samples, though, they needed permission. In some cases, those whose hair samples were taken were still alive, as in the case of Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien, now 87 and an elder among the Karuna people, whose locks were on file along with a photo of himself as a boy wearing a dubious expression and a V-neck sweater. In other cases, community liaison officers had to track down descendants and explain the project. Jean Smith, a little girl in the same photo, has died, but her cousin, Claudia Smith, now 78 and a Narungga Elder, was able to give consent.

So far, Cooper and Tobler have published an analysis of the mitochondrial DNA from 111 samples taken from three Aboriginal communities—representing families that the Australian government and missionaries had moved from homelands all across the country. For each sample, the researchers washed the hair, then used enzymes to open the cells and allow the mitochondrial DNA—which is inherited from the mother only—to spool out. They copied the strands many times over, sequenced it, and then got to building their family tree.

Based on how similar the mitochondrial DNA samples were to each other, Cooper and Tobler started organizing their branches, giving them dates based on the average rate that random changes occur in mitochondrial DNA over the generations. Looking at the tree and the dates of each branch, Cooper and Tobler could see that the first groups that separated from the rest were in the far north of the country. Groups continued to split off through time one by one, down each coast, and then different lineages merged again at the very south of the country when the two waves of migration met at the bottom.

But all these splits and merges happened nearly 50,000 years ago. The groups remained stable afterwards, with just the slow tick-tock of random mutation showing the millennia that passed. Astonishingly, after a rapid influx to the continent and a speedy sweep around its coast, individual groups of Aboriginal people seem to have stayed largely sedentary and separate for upwards of 47,000 years—making them perhaps the people with the longest relationship to their home landscapes on Earth.

This was perhaps more surprising to the researchers than their subjects. Aboriginal people are known for their strong bond to their own country. “We are telling them something they already knew,” says project community liaison Amy O’Donoghue.

On September 6th, researchers and a descendant of the woman who provided one of those samples had lunch at the Museum of South Australia to celebrate the opening of a small exhibit about the project, taking some of the items collected by BAR out of the museum’s back rooms and putting them on display. Among the displays were the photos of Uncle Lewis Yerloburka O’Brien and Jean Smith, plus a childhood drawing by Smith, data cards in the elegant cursive handwriting of the last century, and a handwritten family tree.

Being able to see the old records and photos is often a deeply emotional experience for people, explain O’Donoghue and her fellow community liaison, Isabel O’Loughlin, both of whom are Aboriginal people themselves. For much of the 20th century, Aboriginal children in what is known as the “Stolen Generation” were taken from their homes and told not to speak their native languages. Sometimes the records “fill in the gaps” in their own family histories, O’Donoghue says. “People don’t realize how many children were taken,” Cooper says. “So many of them are desperate to find out about their Aboriginal origins.”

Others are touched by glimpses of their family members as young people. O’Donoghue brought one woman in her 60s film footage of her mother that was taken by anthropologists. “She cried her eyes out,” O’Donoghue says. “She never saw her mother as a happy person.” O’Loughlin and O’Donoghue work with an oral historian—the granddaughter of Tindale—who collects the stories that flow when the families see the collections.

Claudia Smith, granddaughter of one of those whose hair samples were included in the study, said over a sandwich at the museum cafe that the long tenure of Aboriginal peoples on the same landscapes doesn’t surprise her. Respect for land and territory was very important to her people. Her father taught her a traditional way to respect territorial boundaries. “When you get to the border you sat down, lit a fire and made smoke and waited for someone to greet you,” she says. And you wouldn’t think of eating or drinking in another group’s land without permission.

As part of their attempt to go beyond merely asking consent from Aboriginal peoples, the research team helped organize the exhibit to humanize the stories behind the samples and presented their results to Smith and the other relatives of those who had hair samples taken before publishing it in the journal Nature earlier this year. They say that a comprehensive nuclear DNA sequence analysis, in planning stages, may tweak the map a bit. The current map is based on the maternal line only; if men in the long pre-European era were more likely to move between territories, the map might be a bit more dynamic.

“I think the way Alan and his team approached the situation and how they are interacting with the indigenous communities is a rare example how these things should be done,” says Lars Fehren-Schmitz, an anthropologist at the University of California Santa Cruz who uses ancient DNA to shed light on migration patterns in South America. “Often there is only the geneticist collecting some samples, or drawing cell lines from some repository without actually considering the communities.”

Tobler and Cooper hope their map will help those Australians who are researching their own Aboriginal ancestors figure out where their homelands were—though they aren’t yet able to sequence interested members of the public. Among those eager to learn more about his own history is Tobler himself. There are Aboriginal ancestors on his father’s side of the family, he says but “my grandad didn’t talk about it.” He and his family could learn from their own hair what their grandfather declined to discuss. “We might find country,” he says.

Smith looks into the display case at her relative’s crayon drawing of Santa Claus, produced at the behest of BAR anthropologists on butcher paper. “I was told ‘don’t tell anyone you are black,’” she says. “Now my grandchildren stand up and tell the school they are Aboriginal and they are blue-eyed blondes. Now this history is there for the next generations".


A ‘MYSTERY’ boat has been discovered buried under years of mud and silt on the banks of the River Ilen in Skibeereen.

The remains of the boat were exposed while contractors continued the town’s flood relief work this week.

‘The bad weather and high tides have hampered us from getting a good look at what remains of the boat,’ Brendan Minihane of Cork County Council told The Southern Star. ‘We have very little information at the moment. However, the work to uncover the boat below an old quay wall at the Marsh, by archaeologist Julianna O’Donoghue and her team, is about to get underway and we will have more information about the boat as soon as this is completed.’

The discovery has generated a lot of interest, and different theories about the boat, and what it was used for, are being discussed.

‘I am convinced it’s a “sand boat”,’ Skibbereen resident and former town councillor Frank Fahy said. ‘That section of the Marsh, where the quay wall is and where the boat was discovered, was owned by Miss May Levis, whose father had a builders’ providers back in the late 1800s and into the early 1930s. They used to transport sand and other building materials upriver in flat-bottomed boats.’

However, identifying the remains of the boat at this point is proving difficult for Ms O’Donoghue and her team, as there is a lot of excavation work to be carried out first.

‘At the moment our plan is to uncover the remains first,’ Julianna said. ‘We are putting together a work plan and I have been in contact with the National Museum, the National Monument Service, and the contractor, so that we can proceed to the first stage of the project, which will be to uncover the boat. We’ll know more over the next few days.’



MARSHFIELD — The United Special Sportsman Alliance (USSA) is a nonprofit organization granting wishes in outdoor adventures for critically ill and disabled children and veterans. USSA operates similarly to programs such as Make-A-Wish but with a focus on the great outdoors.

“We specialize in the outdoors,” explained USSA Wisconsin State Representative John Haydock, “so we do things like hunting, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, some things that maybe they wouldn’t be able to get from another venue.”

Brigid O’Donoghue founded the organization in the hopes that she might remove these individuals from care facilities and take them to a place where they could “focus on the quality of life, family ties, and the wonders of our natural world.”

USSA operates with a volunteer staff and often relies on the generosity of “adventure donors” as well as the donations of private and corporate sponsors.

“There is no one (person) paid,” Haydock said. “This is a fully volunteer organization. There are no paid employees in the whole United Special Sportsman Alliance, so any donations that we get go directly towards wish granting. From Brigid on down, there is no pay.”

Many wishes are granted on a sprawling sportsmen’s complex near Pittsville. Others are taken as far as the Atlantic Ocean.

Each summer USSA hosts a Summerfest event where it welcomes participants from all around the country to participate in a multitude of outdoor activities, including a cranberry marsh tour, wagon ride, arts and crafts, horseback riding, fishing, archery, tubing, boating, volleyball, camping, entertainment, and more.

“They come from all over, and it is just a good time to reunite,” Haydock said. “We are kind of a family. We like to do that annually.

SALT LAKE CITY — Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue won the ice dance competition at the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic on Saturday at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex, posting a score of 108.65 in Saturday’s free dance to go with the 71.15 they earned in Friday’s short dance.

Kaitlyn Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker of the United States earned a score of 96.90 in the free dance to edge Japan’s Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed for second place.

Saturday’s score in the free dance was the best for Hubbell and Donohue in international competition. With the Olympics looming in February in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the pair viewed the win in Salt Lake City as a nice stepping stone.

“Everything’s going to have to be more than a new personal best,” Donohue said.

Hubbell and Donohue finished sixth in the world in 2016, and have won the bronze medal at the U.S. Championships four times. Coming into Saturday’s free dance, they were focused on strong technique and not allowing their emotions to get the best of them on the ice.

Remember all of those Porsche Top 5 videos from this past year? The German automaker has been cranking them out to show off important pieces of its history, and also its future. You can't please everyone, though, so Porsche went back to its own well while listening to its fans to create a bonus video. This one shows off the three most requested hits from Porsche's history.

Up first is the Porsche 911 R. No, not the fancy new 991 version that is downright plentiful next to its vintage namesake. Back in 1967, Porsche produced just 19 examples of a race-ready variant of its 911. It was set apart from a standard car thanks to thin doors crafted from aluminum, twin-spark cylinder heads, and an engine producing 210 horsepower. It weighed less than 1,760 pounds as well. While the new 911 R is rare and impressive, the original from 1967 is damn-near priceless.

From a road-based racing car, Porsche moves to one with pure track-only intentions. One of the all-time greats in all of motorsport history is the Porsche 917. The example shown here is the 917/30 Spyder used for Can-Am racing, and it's the most powerful car Porsche ever produced. George Follmer had some success with it, but then Mark Donohue took one and won...well, pretty much everything. In the 1973 season, Donohue won every race but two.

Donohue had the help of a flat 12-cylinder engine that was capable of producing nearly 1,600 horsepower. It was such a dominant machine that the SCCA changed some rules to help out everyone not using a Porsche 917. As it should, Porsche gives us a few moments of the 917/30's uninterrupted soundtrack on a racetrack.

Finally, the Porsche Top 5 (3) crew brings out a bit of a spoiler. Literally. It's the famed Whale Tail from the Porsche 930. That's what we called it in the States, but it seems Germany has always had a better name for the rear end of the 930 Turbo. I'm not going to spoil that one for you, so hit play and watch the bonus video above.

You'll get some other details on the 930 Turbo as well. The first-generation Turbo had a wider body and wider front and rear spoilers, and only 2,850 were built before it went out of production in 1977.

This video was produced as a bonus for the first season. Porsche promises a second season of its Top 5 videos is also coming. We're looking forward to it.


Gerry Donahue plans to celebrate her 100th birthday in style Saturday.

Her son, Dennis Donahue, 75, will take her flying in his airplane in the morning, then for a drive in a 1970 Oldsmobile 98 convertible in the afternoon. Of course, she has done both of those things before.

“I’ve flown with Denny a lot,” Gerry Donahue said Thursday. “He’s an excellent pilot. I wouldn’t fly with him if he weren’t.”

In fact, he took her for a ride in his plane on his 75th birthday in April. But she hasn’t ridden in a convertible for ages, she said.

Gerry Donahue, seated, and her son, Dennis Donahue, stand beside his plane Thursday afternoon outside a hangar at Forbes Field. They will celebrate Gerry Donahue’s 100th birthday Saturday with a flight and a drive in a convertible.


Anne Marie Dunphy was crowned national champion at the Dressage Ireland championships at the Cavan Equestrian Centre on Saturday.

For the second year running, Dunphy won the Grand Prix with her 16-year-old Dutch Warmblood gelding Urbanus (by Ronaldo), once again beating Sandra Blake Farrell and Saint Emilion 2 into second place. Urbanus and Dunphy won the Intermediare II championship in Cavan on Friday.


While searching for my 2nd great grandfather Jeremiah D Donoghue 1835-1915,  I came across these 13 photos from that I thought you might like for your new site.

If you would like to see any of them please contact Rod

Thanks to Jean Smoorenburg


Mr Florence "Frank" Thomas O'Donoghue


Mr Florence "Frank" Thomas O'Donoghue (Bedroom steward) was born in Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland on 28 October 1880, and was baptised on 30 October 1880.

He was the son of Timothy O'Donoghue (b. 1855), a tram conductor originally from Co Kerry, and Margaret, née Mora (b. 1856), a native of Queen's County (modern-day Co Laois). The family had seemingly settled in Liverpool not long after his birth, perhaps around 1882, and his parents went on to have six children in that city: James (b. 1885), Margaret (b. 1887), Anne "Nance" (b. 1889), Nora (b. 1893), Emily Bridget (b. 1895) and Winifred Ellen (b. 1903).

The 1891 and 1901 census records show the family living at 10 Beeston Street (?), Kirkdale, Liverpool but Florence would be absent from the later record. When the 1911 census was conducted his widowed father and his siblings were residents of 62 Margaret Road, Walton and his elder sisters Margaret and Annie were both described as school teachers.

He married Annie Furlong, on 3 June 1900, at Saint James Church, Bootle, West Derby, Lancashire and had a son (born circa 1906). Since 1911 he, his wife and son had been living in the USA, precisely where is unknown.

When O'Donoghue signed on to the Titanic, on 6 April 1912, he gave his age as 35, birthplace as Liverpool and his local address as 60 Ludlow Road, Southampton. His previous ship had been the Olympic and as a bedroom steward he could expect monthly wages of £3, 15s.

O'Donoghue died in the sinking and his body, if recovered, was never identified.

The American Red Cross report in 1913 stated that O'Donoghue's wife and son had been residents in the USA for two years. Following his demise on Titanic his widow and son returned to England to benefit from compensation from the British Workmen's Compensation Act and she was awarded £300; they returned to the USA aboard Cedric on 17 October 1912. Annie was unwilling to return to relatives in Liverpool permanently as there were more opportunities in America. She later worked as a domestic to support herself and her son and they later benefitted from $81 of American relief funds. What became of Annie and her son is not known.

Gavin Bell
Parker Moore

Sometimes listed as Francis Joseph Donoghue. Listed as O'Donoghue on early census records, it was not uncommon for the "O'" prefix to be dropped among Irish ex-patriots. Florence is rare, but not unheard of, as a boy's name in Ireland.

References and Sources
Agreement and Account of Crew (PRO London, BT100/259)
Particulars of Engagement (Belfast), Ulster Folk and Transport Museum (TRANS 2A/45 381)
Link and cite this biography
(2017) Florence Donoghue Encyclopedia Titanica (ref: #1843, updated 25th July 2017 09:35:01 AM)

Starline Entertainment will take “Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing” to the international market after snagging the global rights to the feature documentary about Irish-American painter, sculptor and printmaker Tighe O’Donoghue/Ross.

The artist had enormous commercial success and won international acclaim during the 1970s and 1980s while living in the US, before withdrawing from the art scene, and moving to his ancestral home in Killarney, Ireland, where he is now hereditary chieftain of the O’Donoghue’s of O’Donoghue/Ross.

Cork-based Southernman Films produced the film, which was directed by Patrick O’Shea and produced by Aidan Stanley. It is expected to have a festival run, with Starline selling it to broadcasters and digital services and platforms.

–– ADVERTISEMENT ––“’Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ is a beautifully realized exploration of the creative process as witnessed through the eyes of a unique and extraordinary talent,” she said.“’Why Is There Anything Instead of Nothing’ is a beautifully realized exploration of the creative process a witnessed through the eyes of a unique and extraordinary talent,” she said.