Updated: Jul 21, 2022
Greetings and welcome to Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage! I thought I'd draft up a post just to let you know a little about the ideas behind the Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage website, how it's positioned under our Clann Association, let you know a little one of the faces behind Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage so the site is a little more personal, and how the Heritage site came to be in the first place.
A LITTLE INTRODUCTION
First of all, I'll introduce myself. My name is Will Dougherty III. Married to my beautiful wife, Ciera, I work in the database department at a college, am beginning a small cattle herd, and serve with my wife in our church's children's ministry. I love my family, both those who are present and those who have passed on. Throughout the ages, I can't help but see how beliefs, values, memories, and love were passed from one generation to the next. It was easy to see this because my dad and mom were my home school teachers. I passed the high school equivalency with the highest score in the state and went on to complete two baccalaureates, one in accounting another in business.
Two decades ago, as a ten-year-old kid running through the trails I blazed through our century old Dougherty farm in Missouri's Ozarks, I could visit either of my grandparent's homes. It was here I would plead, "tell me another story grandpa" and patiently listened, asking questions that would hopefully lead to another story. Carried with me, I would have . . . wait for it . . . a battery-powered cassette-tape recorder :) which I used to record their stories. I guess those tapes must have got eaten by the tape deck, because I don't have any left (anybody remember that mess?). From more recently, however, I do have audio recordings from my cell phone, high quality scans of all their old photos and documents, photos of heirlooms, and DNA samples analyzed for matches. This is the treasured history that so many people let slip through their fingers while they're out searching a genealogy database that will be there much later (I also recommend making backups of your backups, but that's another blogpost for another time).
BEGINNINGS IN FAMILY HISTORY
Already familiar with my family tree, in 2011, during our annual Dougherty Family Reunion in Missouri, I began the search to break past my brick wall ancestor, Roswell Dougherty. Roswell was born 1819 somewhere in New York, but my family and I knew very little about him other than that. When I began, I knew nothing about excellence in genealogical research. I learned the hard way that not every tree on the internet is correct (who knew right?) and just how few people cared enough to cite their sources. After joining a team of dedicated cousins, it took seven years of hard work together researching records online, making trips, purchasing DNA kits, making calls, reading histories, emailing each other at 2am, and painstakingly documenting our research before we broke through our proverbial "brick wall". I truly believe God led us to the right people to DNA test, as, at that time, there were no close Y-DNA matches from the United States. We had only one very faint clue that seemed to point toward a Dougherty family from upstate New York. It was like buying a pig in a poke—a very long shot—but it was really our only hope. We tracked the family from the 1800s down to living individuals and found one who was willing to take a DNA test for us. The test came back an exact Y-DNA match to my Grandpa Dougherty, which was amazing considering my paternal lineages' particular Y-DNA haplogroup is considerably rare among the Ó Dochartaighs who have tested. I must say that Zack Daugherty, one of the administrators of our Clann DNA project, was so helpful in explaining the concepts of Y-DNA to me that were so instrumental in helping us get to this point in our family history. Anytime I have a question, he knows both the technical details and a way to teach the concepts in a way you can understand easily. Thanks Zack!
We discovered very compelling evidence that indicated Roswell's father was Henry Dougherty (1792-1830s), a veteran of the War of 1812 who settled a farm next to the Seneca Reservation in western New York and drowned working on the Erie Canal. A DAR Bible record, which was shared by newfound family members in New York, showed how Henry was the father of a William Dougherty (1765-1855). As a ten-year old boy, William served 3 months in the Revolutionary War. William grew up to work his farm atop Frankfort Hill in New York, in sight of a beautiful view of the Adirondack Mountains. Colonial town records showed his father was Charles Dougherty, Jr. (1735-1800). A veteran of the French and Indian War, Charles served as a Massachusetts "Minute Man" at the onset of the American Revolution and was quickly promoted until he was serving as a 1st Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War when he got very sick during the winter at Camp Valley Forge. He later recovered and eventually moved to the wilderness of upstate New York where he was a schoolmaster. After much more focused research, I found probate records showing that this Charles was the son of a senior Charles Dougherty (c. 1700-1748) who was involved in early millworks in Massachusetts. Finally, after studying the history of Worcester, Massachusetts where they first appeared, exhaustive circumstantial evidence led us to believe that Charles Dougherty, Sr. immigrated from Ireland to the American Colonies in the year 1718 from the Foyle Valley area near Derry. If you want to read more about our research and methods, you can read my 100+ page fully documented research report here on the site.
HOW THE SITE CAME TO BE
After pushing our family tree back four more generations to our immigrant ancestor at the turn of the 1700s and knowing the general area from which he is believed to originate, I began a search for information on the Doughertys or Ó Dochartaighs of Ireland. I found several sites online that a number of webmasters had put years of service into, which were great resources for my interest in our family. In searching for genealogical sources, though, I was mystified by how few sources seemed available for Irish records. The thing that kept coming up in my search was the 1922 fire of Ireland's archives in the Four Courts building. Persisting on in my search, other records did begin to show their head, though: a muster roll over here, deeds and memorials over there, a poll tax or "census" another place, or state papers with pardon lists, manuscripts with Irish genealogies, and more. Despite innumerable volumes of centuries-old valuable information going up in smoke that fateful day during the Irish Civil War, there was indeed a whole world of records which covered many an Ó Dochartaigh waiting to be discovered. At first I began searching for my own family, but, after realizing how hard it was to find some of these records, I began to think about how there were others who were out here searching just like me. Not sure how to help others at first I continued researching, but then the lightbulb flipped on! Why not make a website or central repository to post the Ó Dochartaigh extracts from these records that I was finding? I published the first rendition of the Heritage site on October 9, 2018, and continued building as I collected more information.
Many people, myself included, love the unique identity of our heritage—you know, the 1608 Ó Doherty Rebellion led by our Chieftain Sir Cahir Ó Doherty, the origin and meaning of the Ó Dochartaigh name, the Castles, the legends, and the beauty of our Inishowen homeland. I was able to find information on these things, but it was scattered far and wide across the internet. Much of it took knowing exactly what you were searching for and considerable time to find it. While there is much still to be done, I've worked hard to collect as much information as I can from a variety of sources and compile it here so you can have a central place to explore and celebrate the different aspects of our Ó Dochartaigh heritage.
OUR VISION, COLLABORATION WITH THE ASSOCIATION, AND FUTURE
During the creation process for this site I visited several hundred Irish and Scottish clan and heritage websites. After identifying the designs and features which characterized the best of those sites, I realized Google sites just didn't offer the necessary functionality. According to some of my preliminary background research, between those in our Irish homeland and our large global diaspora, we have over a quarter of a million people who presently bear a variant of the Ó Dochartaigh name. It then becomes obvious that there are easily above a million people who share an Ó Dochartaigh parent or grandparent who may now bear another name due to marriage. Based on this number, we're only interacting with a minute fraction of our clanfolk. We've designed the Heritage site to be independent of the generational stratification within social media and readily accessible to Google's search engines in hopes that we can maximize this opportunity to share our heritage with more of our family and get more hands on deck with our genealogy research projects and reunion.
In order to have a world-class site that would meet the needs of such a widespread community, we realize communication is an integral key. That's why this site has a fledgling blog to which you can subscribe and comment, a Clann community forum in which you can post genealogy queries, tell your family's story, ask questions, collaborate, and interact. Another feature, we have in today's social environment is the ability to share any page of the heritage site with your family and friends across both Facebook and Twitter (at the bottom of every page).
The number of old Ó Dochartaigh sites which existed at one time but have disappeared from the web or appear abandoned alarmed me greatly. As the perpetuity and legitimacy of this site for our Clann community was a key concern for me, I reached out to the newly revitalized Clann organization, the Association of Ó Dochartaighs, to share my concerns. Eva Doherty Gremmert and the leadership team with the Association have agreed to provide guidance for the site and have been great to work under. Together we have enacted a continuity plan to ensure our combined investments in this site are preserved for our future and posterity.
The mission of the Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage site is to curate knowledge and media of a historical, cultural, and genealogical nature relating to the heritage of the Ó Dochartaighs and their related septs and to promote a strong sense of identity, values, community, and clansmanship amongst those descended from the Ó Dochartaighs. The use of the word "curate" is chosen as it refers holistically to the whole process of researching, extracting, organizing, and caring after the items in our collections or exhibitions to both preserve them as well as to make them easily accessible for use by our clanfolk. Our vision, "Telling our story, uniting us together." is a descriptive of the our many facets, particular researching our history, facilitating excellence in genealogy, developing a sense of community, and promoting the longstanding Clann reunion. We hope to facilitate those whose goal is bring the history and heritage of Clann Ó Dochartaigh to life, preserve it for future generations, and unite us in a deeper understanding and appreciation of our rich and truly amazing heritage.
We welcome you to explore, connect, and celebrate your heritage—the name, heraldry, castles, homeland, history, culture, genealogy, and community of Clann Ó Dochartaigh. We're glad you've chosen to be involved and encourage you to subscribe to our updates or even join the site, as we plan to continue developing the breadth and depth of content on the site. This site is for you, our fellow clanfolk. We encourage you to join in, make it your own, offer suggestions for improvement, become contributors to the Clann community and site content, and share with all your family, encouraging them to subscribe to keep up to date on all things Ó Dochartaigh! Ár nDúchas/Our Heritage!
Most sincerely yours,
Will Dougherty III
Clann Ó Dochartaigh Heritage Curator