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The O'Donoghue Society

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

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Researcher's Tips

Exactness of records
Pay no attention to exact surname spelling, year of birth, marriage, date of death etc. Use so called "official" records only as an approximate guide. Record keeping back then was not an exact science and most IrishCatholics were illiterate so dates can be years out.

Researcher training

This page provides direction for new researchers, and helps current researchers brush up their skills.  

For new researchers here are twelve basic starter principles
  1. Start off with yourself and work backwards, generation by generation.
  2. Document your sources rigorously.
  3. Be methodical with your record keeping. Start with a simple system. Record every search even if you don't find anything.
  4. Do not accept a piece of data as a fact, until you have a valid basis for doing so.
  5. Talk to all your relatives - the oldest first. Gather birth, death and marriage certificates and other family documents and photos from them.
  6. Make comprehensive notes.
  7. Define your objectives. Decide whether to start with your father's line or mother's. Keep your aims achievable in a reasonable time perspective.
  8. Understand the origin of your surname(s). There are four origins normally: place, occupation, patronymic (like O'Donoghue = Ó Donnchadha = grandson or descendant of Donnchadh) or nickname.
  9. Join a family history society and try and 'meet' other people with similar interests.
  10. Use technology to the full.
  11. Search for the births, deaths and marriages to build your tree
  12. Move onto census records when you have some of the addresses your ancestors lived at.
Guidance and training courses are offered at a number of web sites. I cannot say that I have tried them all but these look relevant:
http://genealogy.about.com/od/make_family_tree/u/learn.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/familyhistory/
https://familysearch.org/node/1171
http://coraweb.com.au/begin.htm
http://www.searchforancestors.com/learn.html