Donahoos of Maryland


My family has its roots in 17th century Maryland but we do not know where we originated in Ireland. In 1985, ten years after my father died, I sat down with my mother to learn as much of our family’s history as she could give me. Her memories were very sketchy and of a recent nature. I set out to find more and what I show below is the result of an extensive research program. Unlike many other families the spelling of our name has remained consistent for over three hundred years.


Henry Donahoo’s birth details are not known, but his wife, Honor(a), was reportedly born in Maryland in 1683. They were married in Baltimore County in 1704 and their known children were Henry, John, Eleanor and Roger. Henry Donahoo, the father, died before May 9, 1722 in Balto.

Second generation

Their first known child, Henry, was born in 1705 in Balto, Maryland. He married Rachel Smithson (born Joppa, Maryland in 1706) at St John’s Parish in Baltimore County on August 11, 1731. They moved to Surry, NC and Henry died there after September 21, 1775.

John was born in Maryland in 1707 and Eleanor in 1709.

Roger was born in Baltimore in 1711. He married Elizabeth Gilbert (born Maryland in 1708) in 1734 in Balto and died in 1748 in Baltimore.

Third generation

Roger’s children were in age order Hannah, Elizabeth, Gilbert, Daniel and Sarah.

Daniel was born in Maryland in about 1742. His wife’s name is unknown. He had several children but one son, John, was born in about 1786. Another child William Henry was born in 1790

Fourth generation

He fought in the War of 1812 and rose to the rank of captain. John went on to become a lighthouse builder and filled many roles of town leadership. He built twelve lighthouses around the Chesapeake Bay. John spent his entire life in and around Havre de Grace, Maryland and died in March 1858.

John married Elizabeth Wood in Harford County, Maryland in February 1812 and one child, John, is known.

Fifth generation

John (John Henry or Henry) fathered at least two children, Henry K and Henry (Harry) Alexander.

Henry K was born in 1834 in Maryland and fought in the Civil War in Alexander’s Battery of Light Artillery, 1st US Infantry for the Union (North), Maryland Brigade, part of the 8th Army Corps.

He raised his younger brother, Henry Alexander who was born in 1868 in Maryland.

Sixth generation

Henry Alexander’s son, Laurence Edward Donahoo, was my father. He was born in December 1899 in Baltimore and died there in April 1975.

Lauren Donahoo
August 2004

June 2003
Chapter: others

Specific research interests