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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

Birth years from census (UK) data
It seems almost universal for people to get a probable birth year from census data by subtracting the age from the census year. Certainly some websites and some census CDs provide this as "helpful" information. For me it isn't helpful and personally I always subtract one more year from the result. All the 19th century censuses except 1841 were taken the first weekend in April, so people were three times more likely to have been born a year earlier. E.g. if a person was 24 in 1851, the accepted guess by subtracting one from the other seems to be 1827 for the birth year. But in point of fact, making of course the big assumption that the age is correct, this person was probably born between April 1826 and the end of March 1827. Born any later and (s)he would have been only 23 at the 1851 census. So for 1851 I subtract the ages from 1850, and similarly for the other censuses. 24 from 1850 gives 1826 which is the true "most probable birth year". If you don't do this you may be looking in the wrong year when you go looking for details in the parish registers. Most baptisms took place before the child was three months old, and usually less than that. For someone who was "24" at the 1851 census, even the baptism may have taken place as early as April or May 1826, so I'd always start looking in 1826 and only go on to 1827 if I couldn't find what I was looking for. In 1841 the census was taken in June, and ages above 15 are usually in a state of confusion reflecting the enumerators' understanding, or more usually lack of understanding, of the guidelines. Ages above 15 were supposed to be rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5, so that "20" stands for anything between 20 and 24 and so on. But many enumerators gave up, ignored the instructions and gave the exact age - and I always offer up silent thanks when they did! But for ages under 15, or where the enumerator gave an age that was not a multiple of five, the birth still has seven chances out of twelve (and therefore still slightly more than 50%) of having taken place in the year before the one you get by merely subtracting the age from the census year. Source: Tony Woodward (GOONS)

The Society Projects

The society and its members will undertake research of a historical or genealogical nature, where an extended period of time and effort is required to achieve a result. Such work would not include routine day to day research specific to just one family. Each project will be led by a member to agreed terms of reference. Others are encouraged to provide support.

Current projects are:
1. Irish of the Caribbean (Active)
2. Aran Isles (Active)
3. American Revolutionary War 1775-83 (Active)
4. American Civil War 1861-5 (Active)
5. Settling the American West - 1820-1920 (Active)
6. Fenians and the movements that followed (Active)
7. Birth of San Francisco (Active)
8. Boston Irish (Active)
9. Viking period in Ireland (Active)
10. Gold Rush of American West (Active)
11. Irish pioneers and the settlement of USA (Active)
12. Collapse of the old Gaelic order in Ireland (Active)
13. The Boer Wars (1880-1 and 1899-1902) (Active)
14. The Battle of Clontarf 1014 (Active)
15. The Irish in Victorian London (or any other major British city) (Active)
16. O'Donoghue Halls of Fame (Active)
17. Irish pioneers and the settlement of Canada (Active)
18. The rapparee (Active)
19. The monasteries and Church in Medieval Ireland (Active)
20. Irish clerics in the European colleges of the 17th and 18th centuries (Active)
21. Irish pioneers and the settlement of New Zealand (Active)
22. Biographies (Active)
23. The Irish of (individual American states) (Active)
24. The O'Donoghue Arms (Active)
25. Historic Irish regiments disbanded in 1922 (Active)
26. The 1845-52 famine in Kerry (Active)
27. The Ó Donojús of Spain (Active)
28. Ó Donnchadha tribal history (Proposed)
29. Dunphys of Canada (Proposed)
30. Famous Irish regiments in foreign armies (Proposed)
31. Irish Civil War (Proposed)
32. 1880s worldwide census data base (Proposed)
33. Plantations of Ireland (Proposed)
34. Irish pioneers and settlement in South Africa (Proposed)
35. History of the Irish in Scotland (Proposed)
36. American British conflict of 1812-15 (Proposed)
37. 1690 and 1691 in Ireland - the Boyne and Limerick (Proposed)
38. Roll of honour (Proposed)
39. Wild Geese (Proposed)
40. US - Mexican War 1846-8 (Proposed)
41. Irish education over the centuries (incl. hedge schools) (Proposed)
42. Ballydonoghues (Proposed)
43. Sixteenth century in Ireland through to the battle of Kinsale (Proposed)
44. Surname distribution analysis (Proposed)
45. Texas Revolution 1835-6 (Proposed)
46. 1916 - Battle of Somme and Easter Rising (Proposed)
47. World War One and the Irish (Proposed)
48. Donahoe Nexus (Proposed)
49. The Irish Navvy in Great Britain (Proposed)
50. Gold Rush in Australia (Proposed)
51. Irish pioneers and the settlement of Australia (Proposed)
52. World War Two and the Irish (Proposed)
53. To Hell or Connaught (Proposed)
54. The Irish of Latin America (Proposed)
55. Freemasonry (Proposed)
56. O'Donoghue folklore (Proposed)
57. Irish naming practices (Proposed)
All researchers are encouraged to suggest potential projects which will advance our combined state of knowledge.