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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Only fragments and substitutes of the 1821-51 Irish censuses survive. Search surviving records online at FindMyPast


The Global Research Library has announced a major new genealogical and historical search engine website, known as ‘’ Noel Elliot, Director of Research, said, ‘Although our website features every academic subject one could study, it has a particularly valuable feature of both genealogy and history, because of my own personal interest over the last 42 years’. The website is new, but the research library was created in 1981.

There are more than 52 million resources included in’s electronic index, with an average of one million being added every month. Elliot stressed, ‘The largest portion of our index are eBooks and textual documents, although we continue to add more images, audio and video resources as well.’ All 52 million resources are free to download. The website features valuable resources in other subject areas that are useful to researchers, such as 9 million maps that identify and show - worldwide - even the smallest places and geographical features. Of special importance are property or ‘plat’ maps. These show the names of property owners on their piece of land a century or more ago.



Name and Place is a dynamic new database and mapping application designed for One-Place Studies, One-Name Studies, Surname Studies and Local History Projects and will be formally launched later in 2017. Cofounders Paul Carter (Technical Lead) and Pam Smith (Content Lead) originally created and developed an application robust enough to cope with the manipulation of diverse historical data in varying formats and size for a One-Place Study. This has since been expanded into a digital and archival database managing layers of census, baptisms, marriages and burials, together with maps, wills, deeds, manorial rentals, old postcards, photographs and more.

The final result is a product representing three years’ hard work. It is both an intuitive and exciting application, which is easily searchable by the user. It produces graphs and reports which display the raw data to its full potential thus establishing migration, population and occupation trends for a whole community. This application provides each study together with a photo gallery. The fields and filters enable multi-faceted views of the data which can be searched by name, gender, occupation or any other relevant attribute of a location.

The recently launched website and blog can be found on: which will be updated with more news and details of the features of Name and Place over the coming months.  Follow Name and Place on social media: Twitter @nameandplace;


Pinterestnameandplace; Instagram @nameandplaceapp.


Harvard’s online collection ‘Women Working, 1800-1930’ features digitised diaries, memoirs, autobiographies, and journals, providing a broad record of daily life in the 19th and 20th centuries. Here you will find stories and recollections of women astronomers and doctors, preachers and missionaries, reformers and suffragists, school girls and school teachers, a philanthropist and a ‘country woman’ and, in the publications trade, several authors, an editor, and a book agent.


Genealogist Josephine Masterson re-created abstracts of information from the 1841 and 1851 Irish censuses. Her largest source for the abstracts were old age pension records. Old age pensions for those age 70 and above began in 1908. However, civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths in Ireland did not begin until 1864. To prove their eligibility, applicants submitted facts that were checked against entries in 1841 and 1851 census records. These findings were recorded in summary books before the census was destroyed by fire. Masterson also used of available census fragments, certified copies of portions of some returns, and family transcriptions. The abstracts can be searched online at Ancestry


Although no part of the 1881 Irish census survives, the general report gives a fascinating insight into the information returned that year. If you know where your Irish ancestors were living at the time, it is worth checking this online at the Histpop site: The report includes maps and diagrams, literacy levels and other useful details.


With acknowledgement to Sean Murphy

Hitherto the only online research facility for the Irish Registry of Deeds has been the worthy indexing project at, which is very much a work in progress. The Mormon FamilySearch has now come to the fore by placing online Registry of Deeds grantor and placename indexes and transcripts of deeds ranging in date from 1708 until 1929 (…). This is a massive digitisation programme of thousands of microfilms made in the early 1950s, and quite legible in most cases. These records are not databased as yet, and so must be browsed for entries, using the limited grantors and placenames indexes for guidance.

Again it should be noted that these Registry of Deeds records relate in the main to wealthier families and it would be a rare tenant farmer or labourer who would be found therein. While skewed towards Protestants during the eighteenth-century penal era, the wealthiest Catholics too will appear in the Registry, and by the nineteenth century denominational exclusion is less in evidence. Those new to the Registry of Deeds archive should remember that the massive online listing is divided into grantors' indexes (grantees are not indexed separately), land or placename indexes, followed by the largest element, the transcripts of deeds. The indexes from 1708 provide three key references, namely, volume, page and memorial number, and in 1833 an improved indexing system including address of property was introduced. The index references lead to the relevant memorial transcript, which in most cases tends to be a complete or substantial transcript of the original deed.

I tested the system by searching for the famous 9,000-year lease whereby Arthur Guinness acquired the core of the brewery at James's Gate in Dublin in 1759. It took a bit of navigating, but as the grantor Mark Ransford was known, I was eventually able to progress from the grantors index entry under letter 'R' 1759, to the transcript of the deed (volume 201, page 554, memorial number 134396), which was easily downloaded as a JPG image file. Until a full database of the digitised records is completed, we will not be able to search quickly for grantees, family members, witnesses and other named individuals in deeds.

Once more the Mormons have acted to digitise Irish records where our government has been slow or inactive, in the case of the Registry of Deeds, represented by the Department of Justice. This fearsome agency has for a number of years banned users from taking photographs of records in the Registry of Deeds. The deeds repository is a remarkable archive dating from the later Stuart era, which somehow escaped the destruction which befell the Public Record Office in 1922.

The FamilySearch initiative is a marvellous gift for genealogists and historians in Ireland and abroad, but those who live within striking distance of the Registry of Deeds in Henrietta Street, Dublin, will obtain maximum value from the repository through continued personal visits, now supplemented by free digital searches and downloads. For more on the history and record organisation of the Registry of Deeds, see my article, 'A Most Valuable Storehouse of History' (…/a-most-valuable-storehouse-…).


A trio of collections, including service records and pensions, relating to the RIC have been sourced from the National Archives in Kew, London and put online by findmypast
Findmypast have announced the creation of the Roman Catholic Heritage Archive in early February last which aims to digitise the historic recordsof the Catholic Church in the United States, Britain and Ireland.

They have released three million exclusive records including sacramental registers for the Archdioceses of Philadelphis from 1757 bto 1916 as well as for the Archdioceses of Westminster and Birmingham from 1657 onwards.

This builds on last year's publication of more than ten million Irish Catholic parish registers

The  UK GRO indexes can now be searched at


for births and deaths up to 1957.


The search facility has the bonus that the result gives the mother's maiden name for births pre-1911, and the age at death pre-1865, which were not previously given.


Searches are restricted to 5 year bands.