The O'Donoghue Society

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

Blog

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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01.08.2019
Contributed by Thomas Witte
Colleen Donahue Witte and the Cemetery Lots

Recently I was engaged in a conversation with my wife (Colleen Donahue Witte} that started me thinking of things that had happened when we lived Duluth, MN and of dying and of graveyards.

We had bought a home on London Road in a lovely area across from Lake Superior. While we lived there we enjoyed walking along the Lake Superior shore. Very near our home was a small lovely looking cemetery situated on a slope gently leading down to a small cliff overlooking Lake Superior. We very often walked by it and at times would walk through it. 

When we bought our house, the intention was to remain there for the rest of our days. I remember that I would joke that the only future move that I was going to make would just be across London Rd and down a couple of blocks. I of course was referring to the cemetery. 

I remember that we wondered if burial plots were available in the nice little cemetery. I did some checking at a local funeral home and found that it was the oldest cemetery in Duluth. Further I found that lots were available and who I could contact. My wife and I talked it over and thought in the interest of planning ahead that we should look into the matter. I called the contact person and made an appointment to see what was available and the cost etc. 

The man showed us four available plots and left us to consider what we would do.

I told my wife that she could choose which two to take. I recall how she would walk back and forth between the two sites which were separated by some distance. I would follow. She would ask questions such as “at which end of the site will our heads be.” She would then think some more and say something like, “This site doesn’t have as good of a view of the lake, or this one is further

away.” or “This would be the best if we could be sure that our heads would be on this end”. And on it went for about three quarters of an hour. She thought and pondered and walked and pondered and thought. Suddenly she said abruptly, “I don’t like this place!! I don’t want to be buried here!!!” I remember laughing because I knew now as then, that it was the thought of being buried that had suddenly gotten to her. I knew then that it would be best not to take her grave hunting anymore. Someone else would have to tend to that matter.

I had really wanted to get a place there and at that time was a little angry about her ways. But later I thought it was just as well because we left London Rd and moved far away. Besides the site I wanted probably required your head to be on the wrong end and “I wouldn’t get a good view of the lake”!!!.




 
01.08.2019
Contributed by Sarah Smith

Funny family story - passed down from my Aunt. I have not researched my family at all - no time! - so can't provide the detail you may require. However, I have no reason to disbelieve my Aunt!
 
My great grandfather O'Donoghue was the son of a local squire in the Kilkenny area. He eloped with one of the household maids to London and set up an antiques shop in Brompton Road. He was cut off without a penny and eventually abandoned his wife and children (one of whom, my grandfather, contributed to the household coffers by delivering papers from the age of six and lost part of his ear to frostbite in the process). She struggled on with the shop alone for a while and during that time she, in common with other local businesses, was approached by a businessman who was intending to form a limited company and transform the small department store he had just bought into what he apparently described as a Magnificent Emporium. He asked if she would like to buy some shares in his expanding business venture.  She apparently pooh-poohed the idea, saying, "what do I want with pieces of paper?"  What was the store called? Harrods. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh.
 
14.06.2019
Contributed by Anita Donohoe
 

The Curse:

"In every generation, only one son will have a son who will carry on the family name."

There is a legend/curse in our Donohoe line where, in every generation, there will be only one male who will carry on the family name. Cursed by a widow, whose only son was tossed over the parapet by the 'O'Donohoe'. So far, it has held true.
14.06.2019
Contributed by Marcia Anne Donahue
 

To be honest, I proudly come from a long line of black sheep, so rather than having a black sheep in the family, I have a family of black sheep - Need I say more?

Rod:  I love it!

13.06.2019

Contributed by Kielan Donahue

My second cousin’s wife, upon meeting his mother, says her[the mother in law's] first words to her[the wife] were something along the lines of “Oh, I heard you’ve met my son, I’m sorry”. If that doesn’t qualify as black sheep I don’t know what does


 

16.05.2019
Contributed by Roger Key

I think that we could safely classify my Great Grandfather, William Patrick O'Donoghue as a pioneer. William was born  on the 20th or 22nd June 1862. ( We are still trying to find out where)
 
William had the dubious honour of having his name listed in the Police records the day he landed in Australia. This happened when he "deserted" the ship Argyleshire when it berthed at Port Pirie South Australia on the 5th May 1880. He was only 17 years old at this time.
 
From Port Pirie, William made his way up to Beltana in the north  of South Australia where he got himself a job as a Camel Driver.
This involved being a member of a camel train that took supplies From Mt Lyndhurst station near Beltana to the Overland Telegraph Station at Barrow Creek in the Northern Territory. The distance of this trip is about 1000 miles (1600 kms) each way.
 
William retained this position until 1885 when he left and took up horse breaking around Beltana closer to his family after having been  married in 1883.

 
28.03.2019
Sometimes a cock up works out for the best...not often, but it did on this occasion.

Tim Donohue sent me a book order.  I didn't read it properly and instead of sending him Heroic Landscapes: Irish Myth & Legend I sent O'Donoghue People and Places.  Perhaps it was a busy day!

Tim pointed out my error but said that I had solved a problem for him - what to give his cousin John Donohue for his 80th birthday.  So all's well that ends well

From Tim: John grew up here in Northern California and spent most of his working years buying and harvesting timber from independent owners. We are the Great Grandsons of Martin O'Donohue born into the famine in 1848 of County Clare. He came to America in 1872 and worked the 'redwood railroad' North of San Francisco for his life's work. 
We are all proud O'Donoghues Mor. Thanks for making a mistake as this was the PERFECT present that I would have never thought of ;-)




 
25.03.2019
Contributed by Roderick O'Donoghue

When Rod announced that the subject of the April snippet would be "The Family Farm", my immediate reaction was that i could submit nothing.....
 
I thought about what a farm is, and how I came to learn about them through books, songs and schools. I wonder whether there is an Irish form of Old MacDonald's farm? I thought about chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, cows, wheat barley....and probably in that order. Nothing came to mind that related to a family farm.
 
Violet Evangeline O'Donoghue, daughter of Rev Edward Geoffrey O'Donoghue, followed in her father and grandfather's footsteps in writing books. Her father  wrote non-fiction. Her grandfather wrote fiction, while she, too, wrote fiction under her married name, Whish. One of her books bore the title 'Come to Good Farm'....a tenuous connection to farming.
 
My mind continued to drift. Could i argue that successive generations of a family focussed on producing similar output was like a 'family farm'? A flock of writers...a herd of writers??

The thinking was becoming tortuous as my mind went blank. Yet having let my mind go blank, I remembered the obvious.....but a subject i had repressed. 
 
How often do we forget things which are uncomfortable? But research requires rigour and honesty, however difficult that would be....
 
My family had spent almost all of the 19th century in India, Burma and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Louis Rumbold O'Donoghue went into tea planting. My great grandfather, (Louis' brother) Algernon Leopold O'Donoghue, worked in Burma, for the Bombay and Burmah Trading Co, as manager of their forestry interests. He was based in Kindat, Upper Chindwin River area. In a way he 'farmed' trees....slightly larger than ears of barley...but.... 
 
His son, Algernon Charles O'Donoghue, was born in Kindat in 1900, but moved back to Bath, England, where he became a sound engineer, variously at the BBC, ITN, and in films. He hankered for the colonial life and took his family to Kenya. In Kenya, they lived at Kitale where they bred dogs for the English market, a brutal and unpleasant market of crime, betting and horror.....which is why, I expect, I repress the facts. Algernon, known as Don, stayed in Kitale mostly, but his wife, Cara, worked in Nairobi and took advantage of the Happy Valley Set, which was made into a book and then a film called 'White Mischief'.
 
Perhaps it was karma, if such a thing exists? - as they lost everything, farm, stock, savings, everything, during the MauMau uprisings, and during their flight back to England.
 
Perhaps now I wish i had not remembered, or dared to divulge. Yet we cannot escape the truth of our past, or only remember the good things. Nor can we keep back the truth from others.......we are not censors but researchers, surely......? And we have to accept that the social mores change in time and from place to place...our lens is different from theirs.
23.03.2019

Contributed by Roderick O'Donoghue

"Books are like unsown seeds. When they open up and are allowed to sow their own seeds in our minds, their effect can be 'seismic'.

 

In my youth I was told that I was descended from O'Donoghues who had once been kings. I decided to find out whether this was myth or truth, so I turned to family members and traced back to Colonel John William O'Donoghue of the 47th Foot. I then found a copy of Irish Family Records from 1976 which revealed a Jeffrey Wrixon O'Donoghue and, after considerable digging, i discovered that they were one and the same person, and that Jeffrey Wrixon O'Donoghue changed his name in 1794 to join the British Army. Strangely, he reverted to his birth name on his marriage certificate and his occupation was Major in the 47th Regiment of Foot.

 

A connection had been made between family data, proven facts, and a recorded pedigree.

 

Sadly, the entry  for O'Donoghue in Irish Family Records contains 12 different errors and several queries. It taught me that records, even in books, can frequently be wrong, yet many people accept them.

 

The next book is our Society founder's book 'O'Donoghue People and Places'. This was written a few years ago now and gives a fuller historical picture and context to Irish history and some notable O'Donoghues through history. This not only added to my knowledge but triggered a greater interest in the historical of my family and those who share the same name.

 

Rod's book is invaluable and provides a good starting point for research proper, rather than name collecting. As Rod was a pioneer in trying to formulate a coherent account of People and Places, subsequent research may or may not discover new facts, which modify some of his early findings. This is in no way a criticism, as his research is formidable and helps greatly. It is just that sometimes a writer has to include, in good faith, their very best insights at the time of writing. Indeed, I would always recommend Rod's book over Irish Family Records, even though Irish Family Records is part of the Burke's Peerage group of books.

 

I discovered an ancestor named Mhaire Ni Dhuibh O'Donoghue. She married Daniel O'Connell Mor, Chief of the Name. Her grandson was Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator. In an effort to discover more about her and our O'Connell connections, I purchased a book, The Last Colonel of the Irish Brigade. This book revealed that my ancestor, Jeffrey Wrixon O'Donoghue and his older brother were great nephews of Mhaire, and that they are listed in her son Colonel and Count Daniel O'Connell's regiment of the Irish Brigade. I also discovered that Mhaire was a noted poetess, and that her brother, Geoffrey, was also a poet, (but he is  not to be confused with the more famous poet of the same name, Geoffrey O'Donoghue,  about whom both PS Dineen and John Minahane have written).

 

Another ancestor, Blanche Augusta O'Donoghue, seemed, for a long time, to disappear from late Victorian records, until I discovered a record of a marriage in the India Office. She married Lionel Slade Carey, the son of the Bailiff of Guernsey. I wondered how my Victorian ancestors could be so connected to, and marry into, the families of the Queen's representative in Guernsey, to  Generals, to the illustrious Spencer of Althrop family. The answer soon became clear, viz. Indian colonial administration. So i started to look into the Careys of Guernsey  by buying an esoteric book called The History of the Careys of Guernsey. To my surprise, I discovered that three of my Victorian O'Donoghue ancestors married into Careys mentioned in the book, and that two of the O'Donoghues were born in Ireland. The O'Donoghue Carey marriages gave rise to such people as Cedric O'Donoghue Carey, or Rupert O'Donoghue Carey.

 

These snippets show that a simple quest to collect names is transformed by books which give further lists; is added to by books which give historical context; is amplified further by more detailed family books; and overflows into researching other areas and other families in the hope that more can be discovered. Family research through books grows like seeds into family trees, and fleshes out and  clothes the names we discover.

 

It also shows that research has to question and check everything. One only has to look at Ancestry to see how often major mistakes are repeated, and the more they are repeated, the more they are believed. "

23.03.2019
Contributed by Jim Horgan

My wife, Bridget and I made our first visit to the O'Donoghue farm in 1989.  Bridget's mom was an O'Donoghue and this was the farm Bridget's grandfather grew up on.  The property is located in Ardydonegan, Duagh, Kerry on a beautiful spot that rolls down to the banks of the river Smerlagh.  We had to drive through the Scanlon family farm to get back there and found cousin Joe living in a tent inside of the old farmhouse which was falling down around him.  He is still living there and the County Council has since provided more suitable housing for him on the property.  Joe was a wonderful host at that time and told us many stories about the farm and the local area.  I was taking furious notes about any tidbits he shared about the O'Donoghue family history and this was the beginning of my research in to my wife's family history!