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O'donohue Coat of Arms / O'donohue Family Crest

O'donohue Coat of Arms / O'donohue Family Crest

Families who descend from the O'Donnchada septs have widely reassumed the prefix 'O' to their surname which is now O'Donoghue, O'Donohoe and O'Donohue in much greater numbers than Donoghue. Donohoe and Donohue which were in the majority at the end of the last century, when only about one family in six used in the prefix. The distribution of the form Donohoe, which was then more numerous, has diminished which indicated that some families of that name, when resuming the prefix also reverted to the more correct spelling, O'Donoghue. One O Donnchadha sept was in County Kilkenny and another in County Galway and the best known in West Cork. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. Stephen Donogue, born in 1884, was the English jockey, born in Warrington. He won the Derby six times between 1915 and 1925. He also won the Queen Alexandra Stakes at Ascot for six consecutive years on Brown Jack (1929-1934).

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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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