A gathering of the clans

Photo of John, Father Paul, and Loretta Donovan

Come on, Pa! Smile!

Welcome to DonovanTribe – a gathering of the clans! I’m glad you’re here!

This site is a work of love…first starting with my mother and aunt as we sorted through Bishop Paul Donovan’s possessions following his death in 2011. Discovering boxes upon boxes of photographs, letters, and postcards of his life’s work and travels, I wanted to know more about this man I knew as “Uncle Paul,” a man who had been such a presence in my life and the lives of so many. And thus, the adventure began—at first small, with a little Facebook page that slowly grew. But over time, we became a rather sizable bunch of relatives who “sorta” knew one another. I soon realized that organizing the family stories and photos was going to be a bigger task than our little Facebook page could manage. And so now we are here!

How to use this website:

There are several ways to navigate this website: one is to use the drop-down/pop-out menus at the top; another is to click the links appearing in bold text on the pages. Additionally, you can use the breadcrumbs at the top of the pages to return to previous family members in the hierarchy. For convenience, a SITE MAP link (appearing below the PHOTO GALLERY) lists all the pages on this site.

Example of breadcrumb links used for navigation on DonovanTribe.com

Sample navigation breadcrumbs – these appear on the tops of pages on this website.
You can use them to return to previous pages in the hierarchy.

The Richard Donovan link is a good place to start. It is organized like our family tree, starting with Richard, who is the patriarch of our branch of the Donovan family.

Under the Richard Donovan link are the names of each of his children. From those children, where an arrow (>) appears, pop-out menus appear to show their offspring, their children’s offspring, and on down the line to our current generations. Following this sequence, you can see who your ancestors and relatives are.

You can also use the SEARCH THE SITE! feature to locate a family member. My blog entries are also accessible from the RECENT POSTS list on every page, and I will be sharing the adventures of researching and discovering all of you as you discover all of us.

Photo of Father Paul with other priests at the Pyramids at Giza

Paul with other priests at the Pyramids at Giza.

Be sure to look here!

Because Bishop Paul documented so many of his unique experiences throughout his priesthood and service to the Church, I’ve set up a special menu dynamically linking you to timelines and google maps with additional information on his travels so you can experience them with him all over again.

Citations for photographs and sources of the material on this site appear in the Acknowledgments section. If I overlook you or a citation is incorrect, please send me a note so I can update the information. The DNA section is definitely a work in progress…and I’ll share more information with you on this section when it is available.

A gathering of the clans

This website is still evolving, so some pages are more complete than others. Also, some of the subjects do not yet contain links. Eventually, both this website and my blog should have a complete list of subjects with links. In the meantime, have fun poking around on this site…and if you have a memory about someone or a photo you want to share, be sure to use the Leave a Reply combox to post your message!

15 thoughts on “A gathering of the clans

  1. Hi my name is Darren biddick from New Zealand I am from Auckland papakura and I’m wondering if you are interested in my nana was a lane her grandma was Mary Blyth Connell windows John readon I getting a dna done at movement Sarah brunlett do theses name ring a bell they were from cork Ireland for some reason USA come up as well it be nice if true can you or someone reply back my farther was Trevor biddick his farther was keple how marriage with my nana lane her name was Ethel may many thanks Darren

  2. Thanks for the work you’re sharing. I just found the site and will have to dig around more. My 2nd GGM was Johanna Donovan (1840-1899) who moved from Cork to Detroit. I believe her dad was Timothy James Donovan (1811-1868). She married Dennis O’Sullivan.

    Based on a DNA match, I’ve been digging around this branch, but I still haven’t been able to connect it or go father back.

  3. My Great great came from county Cork to Canada before 1862. His name was Thomas. His father’s name is listed as Richard on his marriage record in that year to Sarah Curley from county Clare. His mother’s maiden name was, we think, Gerin. Not sure about the spellings of either name. Legible handwriting was not a prerequisite for priests. Any chance we are related?

  4. Hi my name is Jolene Clarke
    My grandmother was a Donovan my mother’s mother. Her father mother grandfather was William donovan In the mid-1850s, an Irishman named William Donovan immigrated to New South Wales from County Cork, Ireland. As family legend has it, the Donovans were known as the “Black Irish” many of whom left Ireland in search of a better future after losing their land to the British. Perhaps recognising a kindred spirit, William Donovan settled down with Catherine Marshall, a young Aboriginal woman from the Yuin Nation in the South Coast of New South Wales. William and Catherine were my great grandparents and it was through these Irish origins that Catholicism was introduced to my branch of the Mundine family. My father, Roy Mundine, converted to Catholicism when he married my mother, Dolly Donovan.

    1. I would be lovely to know if I have family in Ireland still I’m still doing my familytree on heritage but it not giving me the information I need or photos .it would mean the world to me if someone could help me on my journey to finding my family . I have been trying to find photos of this ggggrandfather William donovan . regards Jolene

      1. Hi Jolene,

        Thanks for taking the time to post an inquiry. I think we are all here because we have a love and curiosity of our family history. With the information I have found on my family, many of our Donovan line moved to North America in the mid 1800s (possibly earlier). It appears they came through Canada, Nova Scotia/New Brunswick area. DNA results have proven that also.

        DNA results have also shown some matches in New South Wales, Tasmania, and New Zealand, many probably arriving in the same time frame as your ancestor, William Donovan.

        I understand you are compiling a tree on MyHeritage. Is the tree public so I could find it? Do you happen to have a tree on Ancestry? You can see my personal tree on Ancestry (username: DonovanTribe). I also have a tree at MyHeritage (username Angela Nelson). The tree on Ancestry is my most current.

        I would recommend using a genealogy DNA in your search. It will help clarify and confirm what you already know, and on the flip-side, will show you new paths to explore. If you have any DNA results I can compare to, that may help also.

        Another thing I would HIGHLY recommend is to keep on doing this, reach out and ask questions! Also, FaceBook has many great groups full of experts and inquisitive searchers. Check out the FB group:

        It is searchable so you can quickly look up names, dates, and locations, although scrolling through the group posts, comments, and photos is quite interesting (to me anyway). I love hearing other’s family stories and you never know when or where you may find what you need to break down that brick wall to finding your Irish kin in Ireland and photos of your ancestor, William Donovan.

        Best Wishes on Your Journey! Let us know what you find.

  5. We appear to have connections with the same Donovan or O’Donovan family from Ireland.
    Your Ancestry family tree for Richard Donovan (1851-1909) seems a good place to start. Richard O’Donovan married Katherine Connolly in 1874 in the Kilmacabea Church, Leap, near the town of Skibbereen, Co. Cork, Ireland . Richard and Katherine O’Donovan were my great grandparents. One of their sons was Richard Clement Donovan who came to America in 1900. RIchard was my grandfather. He worked for about two years on the docks of Manhattan, NY before moving to San Francisco, CA about 1903…..just in time to be present for the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

    1. Hi Mike. I was born in Clonakilty Co Cork in 1949. I was christened Rickard James Clement O’Donovan. Tracing my family history my Grandfather Rickard Donovan adopted the prefix O. I was told a few stories why he did this. One suggestion stated it moved him further along the alphabet so he wouldn’t be selected first!!! I think I can trace the Donovans/O’Donovans line from places around Clonakilty back as far as 1815. I believe some distant members of the family emigrated to the USA. I notice the similarities in your names as Richard/ Rickard (!) and Katherine feature regularly in my ancestry. I am retired living on a hill farm in County Durham in the North East of England.
      PS Clement (It was my third name but for some unknown reason I was always called Clem or Clement) Incidentally my extended O’Donovan family in Clonakilty are referred to as the Ricks as many of them were called Rickard. This differentiated our family of Donovan/ O’Donovans from others of the same name but not immediately related.

      1. Hello Clement, and Mike. I believe that my g-g-grandfather, John Donovan, was born in Cloghgriffin or Richfordstown in about 1830, and baptized in Clonakilty church. Although I haven’t found a baptismal record for him, I’ve been able to identify several siblings through baptismal and other records, and have verified them through dna matches with their descendants. John emigrated to Canada in 1847/8 and settled in Toronto. In the late 1860s he moved to Salem, Massachusetts, where his sisters Hanorah Farrell, Julia Carney, and Catherine Joyce lived.
        Clement, I was struck by the information that your extended family was called Rickard to differentiate them from other Donovans. I recently found a baptismal record that I think has to be for John’s sister Ellen, but her father is identified as Daniel Neal, and I wondered whether that was a similar situation. I’ve certainly come across it with other ancestors.
        I have a public tree on Ancestry under the name Eshortell.

        1. I’ve just found something more. There is a family of O’Donovan Maol (not Neal) around Cashelisky, which is very close to Cloghgriffin and Richfordstown. This is one of those “aha!” moments. I believe I’ve found my g-g-grandfather’s baptismal certificate with that information.

  6. Hi , I was wondering if Richard had a sibling named Elizabeth who had tickets for the Titanic, but never used them because her friends got sick before the voyage. She came into Boston and married William Fogarty from PEI and lived out their days in Dover, NH?

    1. Richard had two sisters that traveled from County Cork to the USA. I do not know their names but have found Elizabeth, Ellen and Hanora as possibilities. Our family history suggests the sisters were married before passage to USA; one to Henry Mahoney and the other to Jack Callahan. All the siblings traveled to North America in the mid 1800s though, well before the Titanic.

  7. I’ve enjoyed the Donovan tribe. I always said I was only interested in the relatives that I had met, but Now I know that isn’t true

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