Recorded as O' Donoghue, O' Donohoe, O' Donohue, and short forms such as Donaho, Donohoe, Donohue, and others, this is an ancient Irish surname. It is a developed form of the Gaelic O' Donnchadha, a personal name composed of the elements "donn", meaning dark or brown, and "cath", a battle! The first element was given to someone with dark hair or a dark complexion who was presumably a famous warrior, one who 'battled'. This surname is one of the most important as well as the most numerous names in Ireland, and several distinct septs of the name existed in early times.The principal septs were O' Donoghue of Desmond, O' Donoghue of Ui Maine and O' Donoghue of County Cavan. The O' Donoghues of Cavan usually spell their name Donohoe and are plentiful in Counties Galway and Cavan, while the other two septs are mostly in Counties Kerry and Cork. In Spain the name became O' Donoju and one Juan O' Donoju (1751 - 1821) was the last Spanish ruler of Mexico. Among the recordings in London is the marriage of James O' Donohoe and Maria Manson on May 9th 1841 at St. Pancras, Old Church. One Denis O' Donohoe married Johanna Callahan on February 27th 1859 at Rathmore with Nohoval and Kilcummin, County Kerry, Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of O' Donnchadha of Jerpoint, which was dated circa 1150, Ancient Annals of Kilkenny, during the reign of Turlough Mor O' Connor, High King of Ireland, 1199 - 1156. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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