The O'Donoghue Society

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


The blogs are for reporting or discussing something or some subject.

As distinguished from our forums which are for family history enquiries and responses as now, where people are looking for someone or something and the journal which is for longer well researched articles usually, but not exclusively, of a historical or genealogical nature.

This page lists all blogs in date order. The links to the left allow you to see the blogs categorised by subject matter.  To add Comments click on the Category and then on the title to the blog you wish to contribute to.

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Greetings all. 
I am Helen Donahue,  my Donahue line comes from Portland, Maine.  I am a volunteer at the Maine Irish Heritage Center in the genealogy department.  We have a couple of projects that I thought might be of interest to you.  They are through FTDNA,  one is the Maine Gaeltacht project and the other is one I have just begun named Aran Islands-Galway DNA project.  My great grandfather came to Portland from Island Pond, Vermont by way of the Grand Trunk Railroad who he worked for.  His father came from Inis Mor, Aran, Islands, Galway, Ireland.  What we are trying to do is narrow down our Aran family trees.  We (Maine Irish Heritage Center, go to Galway and now Aran to ask people to do the FTDNA testing along with many of us with family that came  from that region of Ireland  and now live in the Portland area have taken the test.  We have found so many Connemara cousins.  From this we hope to match more people to their Aran ancestors.  I myself have already found a few on the island !   If you know or think you might be from the Aran Islands I would like to encourage you to join our group.   
Happy New Year    


This was obviously not my greatest choice of subject as I only received two responses!  But these are good ones

Tim Donohue input
“Recently we were looking at the history of my wife's Grandfather Everett McMichael of Imperial, Pennsylvania. He served bravely in WW1 and returned after Armistice Day in 1918. While talking with my first cousin her husband mentioned his Father, Joseph McNamara of Sacramento, California also served in WW1. He shared an archival roster of his Father’s unit with me. Upon examining it I amazingly found both men listed and serving in the same unit of the 116th Engineers over a hundred years ago.  What a coincidence when you consider that over 4 million American men served. What a small world it is that two people a century ago would be reconnected through many generations and the marriage of two totally unrelated families.”

And Michael Bolger

“My Gt Grandfather was home from the frontline due to an illness and this allowed him the opportunity to celebrate the birth of his 3rd child and first daughter.  Whilst on his return he became seriously unwell with what was then known as Spanish flu, sadly he died, along with his wife and new daughter.... all before the armistice was announced. His two sons aged just 2 and my granddad aged 1 went on to live with their grandmother and both served in the second war.”


Martin O'Neill and RTE soccer correspondent Tony O'Donoghue were involved in some very tetchy exchanges during the Derry native's five-year term in charge of the Republic of Ireland.

O'Neill famously accused O'Donoghue of a 'verbal attack' after Ireland's 5-1 World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark last year following the UEFA Nations League draw back in January.

It wasn't the first time that O'Neill that they had been involved in tense interviews but it certainly was the most memorable.

Reacting to the news of O'Neill's departure on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTE Radio One, O'Donoghue said: "The reporter should never be the story, should they, and in that instance I was only trying to ask questions in that I expected the viewers and listeners wanted asked.

"He's a man who is sensitive to criticism and that's just not to me or to RTE, but I mean, recently we haven't had the live rights and I've seen him take offence to other reporters as well.

"Right back through his career, when he was a player with Nottingham Forest, people would write letters to the local newspaper and he would take note of them and at the end of a good season with Nottingham Forest he would write back to them.

"So he bears grudges and didn't enjoy or take criticism, I suppose none of us, take criticism lightly. Again, that's another reason he was determined, I'd say, to stay on and to, I suppose, improve or leave a better legacy in his wake as Republic of Ireland manager."

O'Neill had been at the helm since 2013, leading the country to the last 16 of Euro 2016, and stands down by mutual consent after a disappointing UEFA Nations League campaign.

O'Donoghue did point out that there had been many memorable moments including the victory over then World champions Germany at the Aviva, the playoff win over Bosnia and the win over Italy at Euro 2016 that sent us through to the knockout stages of the competition.

"You have to look at the other side of it as well and say the games where he was in charge, there have been highlights... we did beat world champions Germany, we beat Bosnia, at a much higher seed than us, we beat Italy at the European Championship and, away from home, where we couldn't buy a win for years, we beat Austria.,"

"Those are things that will definitely go in the credit column. Although there's a lot in the debit as well."

  Submitted by Diane Donohue
   Submitted by Diane Donohue
Basil David O'Donoghue   1914 – 1942
Basil O'Donoghue, (Lieutenant RANVR,) died on 7 December 1942 when the ship he was travelling on, the S.S. Ceramic, was torpedoed off the Azores by the German U-boat U-515.
He was 28 years of age, and the only son of David Flynn and Florence Mary O'Donoghue, of Malvern, Victoria, Australia.  He was also the brother of Kathleen O'Donoghue (Sr. Mary Angela), whose obituary appeared in the July 2018 issue of the O'Donoghue Society journal.
The Ceramic had been built as a passenger liner for the England – Australia run and launched in1912.  During WW1 it was used as a troop ship, and at the end of the war it became a passenger ship again,
After WW2  broke out, some ships had to be used to carry people with a legitimate reason for travelling between England and Australia, and the Ceramic was chosen.
She made several successful trips. It was a calculated risk but okay so long as it succeeded. She almost always carried some women and children.
On 3 November 1942, Ceramic left Liverpool  bound once more for Australia via the Cape of Good Hope. On board were 656 passengers and crew, including military and naval personnel, British Army nursing sisters and more than 100 civilians, including 12 children. Also on board were 16 men from the Royal Australian Navy: three were gunners attached to the Ceramic and the remaining were travelling home to Australia as passengers. Basil O'Donoghue was one of these.
On the night of December 7, 1942, a torpedo hit the ship but didn't sink it. The ensuing story of what happened is tragic. The U-boat Commander, Werner Henke, failed to help the survivors already in lifeboats. 350  people were still alive when the U-boat left the scene.  In fact he actually gave orders for  his sub to submerge even though crew members alerted him to the fact that there were people clinging to it.
He picked up one survivor, sapper Eric Munday, who was taken to a POW camp in Germany, and for ten months relatives of passengers and crew knew nothing of the tragedy.  The sinking of SS Ceramic remains one of the worst shipping disasters of all time.
In an interesting footnote to the tragedy, Henke, was captured by the Americans when they sank U-515 in April 1944  north of Madeira. Believing he was wanted by British authorities on charges of war crimes relating to SS Ceramic, Henke tried to escape, and was shot by guards as he attempted to climb the fence of the POW interrogation centre in Fort Hunt, Virginia, where he was being held.
Submitted by Helen O'Donoghue

My periodic update, in shorthand, on our progress.  In the June email I covered the results of our March survey. 

Projects and volunteering

After the survey we set up a number of projects.  Here’s three:

Laura Bravo, Truman Donoho, Dee Gilmore-Stewart and I will be working on a 12 point programme to improve our communications and ongoing interaction.  This effort will start in the New Year.

John Pozega and I have prepared a preliminary project and technical specification to capture circa 1880s census or equivalent data across the world.  1881 UK is already on the Resources area.  Once accomplished we would ask people to find their family and add their tree.  To make faster progress we need some volunteers with data collection skills.  Get in touch if you think you can help.

Michael O’Donohue, the instigator of our Meet an O’Donoghue feature, has made contact with the people of the name on Continental Europe. 
The more volunteers we get, the more we get done.  If you’ve got a skill we can use it.

Family history research service

The search for a descendant of Arthur James Donoghue, wounded in WW1, for the Commonwealth Graves Commission resulted in us finding one.   Sadly Arthur died in 1921. The Commission want to agree the script on the headstone with a living relative.  The volunteers who did the work are to be congratulated, in particular Kathleen Lott, Paula Kennedy and John Pozega.

We have had some good projects since we started this service, but I must say that I am surprised more people haven’t taken advantage of it.  We can’t promise to solve your problem but we will try.


In April I said “When I ask for journal articles they may seem like a lot of work to some, but if I just threw out a limited subject like the Spanish flu and suggested that folk just send me a small bite on how it affected their family, perhaps that may seem more doable.   No need to conjure up beautiful prose.”  However I didn’t follow up… but I will!  Next one shortly…
Name variants

We now have over 870 variants on the site.  Some are historic that never appeared again, but many still exist today. 

Meet an O’Donoghue

Thirty pins are on the map of which 15 are in the USA.  Has anyone made contact?


Underused – why?  To be found under Connections and Community

That’s it for now.  Lots going on.



Submitted by Dee Gilmore-Stewart


According to family history my great grandfather Captain John O'Donoghue was lost at sea. On the family headstone it has his date of death as 31/12/1902. I don't have any other details such as ship, is there somewhere I could find this out ?

Submitted  by Jim Horgan

I don't have a lot of information about Edward Donohue, he's a distant 2nd cousin.  But he died during the invasion of Normandy June 6, 1944.
Apparently, he was killed while still in his landing craft and never made it to shore.
Not sure this applies to your criteria, but he is the only one I have information on.
Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current View Record
Name: Pvt Edward D Donohue
Death Date: 6 Jun 1944
Death Place: France
Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial Burial or Cremation Place Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France Has Bio? N
Submitted by Ronnie O'Donoghue

I went to a clairvoyant once who told me my ancestor Ivor O’Donoghue died on the ship emigrating to America - “three of us slipped into the sea together” he said. My first cousin in Glenflesk is called Sean Ivor - he must have been named after Ivor who was lost at sea.

Submitted by Carol Hurley Law

My great granduncle, John Donoghue, died at sea, sometime in 1851, just 7 years old.   Do not know what he died of.  He was the oldest child of my maternal great grandparents, Mary Moynighan and Florence Donoghue, married in Killarney in 1844.   He had a younger sister Mary, b. in 1846.   They immigrated from the Killarney area.   I don't know from where they sailed, possibly Cobh, or where they landed in the United States.    They eventually settled on "Irish Mountain" in Summers County, West Virginia.  Had several more children in America, one being my grandfather, Patrick Donahoe (U.S. spelling) in 1857 (d. 1925), father of my mother, Irene Donahoe Hurley, 1901-1986.     An interesting project.   History tells us that many immigrants died at sea.   Young John is the only one I know about in my family.

Submitted by Barbara Lee

Moses Donohoe of Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford was drowned in the wreck of the Général Abbatucci off the north coast of Corsica on 7th May 1869, while travelling from Marseilles to Civitavecchia. It was involved in a collision with the 500-ton Norwegian barquentine, the Edward Herdt, holed, and sank within two hours.  Moses was 24, and was a recruit to the Papal armies defending the Pope from Garibaldi. He was the son of Peter and Catherine Donohoe of Killincooley, Co Wexford. He is recorded on his father's gravestone in Killincooley Old Graveyard. 
Moses is the subject of "The Ballad of Moses Donohoe" in the book "Songs of the Wexford Coast" by Father Joseph Ranson, a collection of ballads Fr Ranson gathered from old singers.
Moses's elder brother was the priest Fr Michael Donohoe who is buried in Kilmuckridge RC church and who is commemorated in a stained-glass window there.   

See the January 2012 journal for the ballad of Moses Donohue

Submitted by Diane Donohue

From British Newspaper Archive