Tracing your DNA?

Have you been enticed into the fascinating world of tracing your DNA, wondering about the origin of your distant forebears, hoping to discover distant relatives? One of our North American editors, Jane, raised the issue in a recent post. Comments welcome (scroll down to the foot of that post).

The science seems to be going ahead in leaps and bounds; but where did it start? The relevant Nobel Peace Prize page says:

In April 1953 … James Watson and Francis Crick presented the structure of the DNA-helix, the molecule that carries genetic information from one generation to the other.

Nine years later, in 1962, they shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Maurice Wilkins, for solving one of the most important of all biological riddles.

Letter to Prof. Schrödinger at Dublin Institute of Advance Studies

How did they get to that great achievement? Much hard work, no doubt, but also building on firm foundations. Consider what Francis Crick subsequently wrote:

Another Nobel Prizewinner, Edwin Schrödinger (20 years earlier, for quantum mechanics and the wave equations) is here credited with some fundamental ground work conducted at Trinity College Dublin leading to the discovery.

You can now read more of this tale in a new History of DNA page. While not specifically about our clan, those following DNA trails maybe interested in the Irish connection. The new page is appended to the Clan Outline page.

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Frank OLoughlin, Rochester, New York

Frank OLoughlin (1872-1918)

Frank was born at Rochester, New York in 1872. His professional umpiring career began in 1897 when Ed Barrow, then President of the Atlantic League tapped him. OLoughlin worked in that league for most of the year and later in that season jumped to the New York State League, in order to stay close to home.

Frank was given the name ‘Silk’ OLoughlin.

Frank’s Umpire Career:
Silk’s talents were used by the Eastern League from 1898 through to 1901. Late that year American League President, Ben Johnson came calling and ‘Silk’ OLoughlin joined the new league, serving as one of its finest umpires for 17 seasons from 1902 through to the war-shortened 1918 season.

Among one of Johnson’s early hires, ‘Silk’ repaid the American League chief for backing umpires with his loyalty and support.

Johnson had some simple orders for his umpires:
1. Make the game on the field clean.
2. Rule benevolently, when possible.
3. Rule with an iron hand, if required.
4. Johnson would back his umpires in disputes.

This did not mean that OLoughlin did not have trouble with Johnson. During the 1908 season Johnson was critical of a call ‘Silk’ made in a Detroit-Chicago game on an attempted squeeze play. Johnson chided OLoughlin for failing to differentiate between a pitch and a throw, and calling a Chicago runner ‘out’.

Silk was also known for his concern over the time of games, and often suggested means to speed up play. A no-nonsense man on the field, he was one of Johnson’s umpires who could be called the tough-cop on the beat. ‘Silk’ said Ben Johnson helped make baseball a respectable profession by “…eliminating rowdyism and by giving his staff of umpires his unqualified support.”

‘Silk’ was also a strong supporter of a two-umpire system in the majors. It must be noted that the call in the Detroit-Chicago game was made by OLoughlin as a solo umpire, and a partner might have been able to determine if the pitcher’s foot was on the rubber, when the play was made.

OLoughlin had many claims to fame as an umpire. He was behind the plate for seven no-hitters, a record unlikely to be equalled. He was also the first umpire to eject Ty Cobb from a game. That occurred on May 2, 1908, in a game with the White Sox, when Cobb tried to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park homer.

The 1918-19 influenza pandemic caused an estimated 50 million deaths. RTÉ News Jan 11, 2018

Career Shortened in 1918:
Unfortunately, Frank did not enjoy a full career. He died at the age of 42 in Boston on December 20 1918, due to complications from influenza (double pneumonia), a disease that claimed the lives of many people in the year following World War I. (This year marks the 100th anniversary of the pandemic.)

His personality, enthusiasm and energy made its mark on the American League. On OLoughlin’s death, Hall of Fame umpire Billy Evans noted ‘Silk’ was a great partner who worked every game like it was his last, saying: ” Baseball was a serious proposition for him.”

Francis H. “Silk” O’Loughlin

  • Birth 15 Aug 1872 Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA
  • Death 20 Dec 1918 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Burial Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Rochester, Monroe County, New York, USA
  • Memorial ID 103013916



Compiled from an article by David W Anderson

Note: A version of this biographical profile first appeared in Tom Simon, ed., Deadball Stars of the National League (Washington, D. C.: Brassey’s, Inc., 2004).

Paul OLoghlen, Calhoun, Georgia, USA

Jane OLaughlin, St. Paul, MN, USA

Judy Williams, USA

RTE News, Dublin

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Centenary Commemoration

Centenary Commemoration
January 2018 commemorates the centenary passing of Maryanne OBrien (OLoghlen) who passed away during the first half of January 1918. Her death was probably connected to the ‘Spanish flu’ which caused as many if not more deaths as WW1 itself, following the return of WWI soldiers from various European battlefields to their native lands.

Maryanne was the daughter of John OBrien who resided at Toonagh, Dysart a few miles from Ennis, County Clare. While 2018 sees the centenary of Maryanne’s passing, almost a century earlier as a young child, she attended at Ennis Courthouse, held in the arms of her uncle and his group of OBriens who had arrived in Ennis, to cast their vote for Daniel OConnell who aspired to become MP for County Clare in 1828. Their votes helped to ensure OConnell won a famous victory, which eventually helped secure Catholic emancipation, where those of the Catholic tradition were entitled to take their seats at The House of Commons, Westminster from 1829.

Maryanne’s Papers
Some three decades later, Maryanne married Peter OLoghlen, Ballyvaughan and she was known within her Ballyvaughan relations for guarding carefully her accumulated family papers, which were used by local historians such as George U Macnamara, when compiling and updating family trees. Her guardianship of such papers has also inspired family researchers in Australia, the USA and Ireland to fill some of the many gaps which exist within Clan history-folders.

The Kilnaboy cemetery. Image

The Clare Journal of 12th January 1918 noted that Maryanne was buried at Kilnaboy cemetery, County Clare.


Rosemary Gilligan, Seattle, USA
Michael OLoghlen, Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia
Peter OLoghlen, Ballyvaughan, County Clare
The Clare Journal, Ennis, County Clare

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Passing of Clan Musician

TRIBUTES have been paid to accomplished traditional musician, Peadar OLoughlin of Culleen, Kilmaley, South Clare who died last week. Peadar, a Kilmaley native featured on earliest traditional music recordings and was the holder of a Lifetime Achievement award.

Regarded as a master in music, his achievements go back to the 1950’s, when he started playing with the Fiach Rua Ceili Band.

Best known as a concert flute player, he also played the uillean pipes and violin. Peadar received the TG4 Gradam Cheoil/Hall of Fame music-award in 2005. He was also a noted hurler and he lined out for Kilmaley, during his younger decades.

He experienced great enjoyment, when his two sons, Cathal and Ciaran continued that hurling tradition and later his two grandsons, Bryan and Sean have also flown the hurling banner.

Members of Kilmaley hurling club provided a guard of honour, while thousands turned out for the reposing of his remains at St. John’s church, Kilmaley.

The Cuil Aodha Choir travelled from west Cork, and under Peadar ORiada sung Peadar’s mass-celebration in Gaelic. Mass was celebrated by Fr. Pat Larkin and was assisted by Canon Michael McLaughlin with others.

Peadar is survived by his wife, Beta and family members.

For further reference to Peadar:

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Clan DNA – Introduction

An introduction, by Jane OLaughlin, Minnesota, USA

I would like to begin an ongoing discussion about Ó Lochlainn genealogy and DNA. I am an experienced genealogist, but an amateur with DNA testing.

I did my grad school minor in Plant Breeding and Genetics, so I have some genetics knowledge, although the last 30 years since then, that field has changed quite a lot. There is a bit of a learning curve with this DNA story.

WHY DNA? – Some Background

A genealogy friend by the name of Mahony had her family DNA testing done years ago for the O’Mahony clan DNA project. The clan organization had enough O’Mahony descendants tested, they were able to identify distinct geographic areas for different O’Mahony lines.

I thought it would be nice to have similar information for the Ó Lochlainn lines but the early tests were very expensive and there wasn’t an Ó Lochlainn group. That has changed now as the genome sequencing technology has gradually improved and also cheaper and there is competition, so the basic test costs are dropping below $100.00; $59.00 was available for recent holiday sales. Now is a good time for DNA.

National DNA Day was Celebrated on April 25 2017: A unique day when students, teachers and the public can learn more about genetics and genomics! National DNA Day commemorates the completion of the Human-Genome project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA’s double-helix in 1953.

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From Choctaws to the world

While there may be no direct link to our Clan, some clan members may have benefited from an unusual act of kindness during the 19th century.

A donation from the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans to alleviate the hardship of Irish people during the famine has been marked with the dedication of a commemorative sculpture in Cork. A delegation from the Choctaw tribe, including their chief, were among those in Midleton, County Cork for the ceremony this month, June 2017.

At the height of the famine in Ireland in 1847, the Choctaw Nation of Native Americans gathered what they could and sent it across the Atlantic to alleviate the suffering of the Irish nation. That generosity was marked with the dedication of a striking piece of sculpture, entitled Kindred Spirits.

The sculpture shows nine stainless steel eagle feathers reaching seven metres towards the sky, to represent a bowl of food for the hungry.

Kindred Spirits was commissioned in 2013 by the then Midleton Town Council, to honour not just a gesture to the starving Irish but to humanity as a whole. Kindred Spirits marks the generosity of the Choctaw Nation’s donation 170 years ago. Drawing on our past, it aims to encourage future generations to practice similar acts of kindness.

March 2018 – Update:

As a postscript to this story, RTE news notes that current Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadakar will personally visit the head of the Choctaw Nation, while on his annual St. Patrick’s week visit to the USA and the Irish diaspora, during March 2018. From late 2018, students from the Choctaw Nation will attend Irish universities through an Irish Scholarship programme.

Mr. Varadakar will personally thank the Choctaw Nation’s head for their concern and generosity of spirit towards the Irish nation, during those dark days of 1847.

Thanks to Edward O’Loghlen for this contribution

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The magic of the Burren

‘Burren orchids – Galway Bay – Connemara/Galway Coastline in the distance’. G D’Arcy

First captivated by the Burren in the early 1970s, Gordon D’Arcy has spent over thirty years living on its edge and exploring its remarkable natural heritage and rich human history.

Now he celebrates the flora, the fauna, the people and the places of the region with stories from his diaries and original watercolours that convey a deep affection and intimacy. Join Gordon in rambling the length and breadth of this renowned place, through its moods and seasons, befriending its diverse inhabitants, and breathing the Atlantic air that whispers its welcome to all comers.

Gordon D’Arcy’s work was published by Collins press, Cork in 2016.

Read more about The Burren in our brief outline page here>; and links therein to several articles in attached pages.

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A Sports Bag for Cricket and Golf!

This image transports us to Lahinch, County Clare. The owner of this Donogh O’Loghlin bag, participated at the recent Cricket competition held at Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia during February 2017.

picturedylan (2)

Donogh OLoghlin’s shop known as Sue’s Place is situated on main street, Lahinch where many international golfers convene, before challenging their skills at the local Links-course, and they also compete with periodic storms, arriving from the adjacent Atlantic seaboard.


Rodney’s sports-bag has helped to twin Lahinch Links-course and the experienced Cricket players who convened at Apollo Bay, for their annual Cricket gathering.


Photo: courtesy of Rodney Hiscox, itinerant amateur golfer, Melbourne, Australia.

Image supplied by Michael O’Loghlen, Apollo Bay

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Season’s greetings

Cliffs of Moher in mistYour regional editors wish readers a very happy and blessed Christmas holiday and New Year 2017.

Times are sometimes uncertain and turbulent, like the wild Atlantic weather sweeping over the Cliffs of Moher and the outcrops of the Burren. Politics, trade, terrorism, isolationism, conflict — and so it goes on.

But we have much for which we can be thankful, including family, friends and our rich and noble shared heritage. If you have had a challenging year, take comfort in the joy of Christmas. Just as Clan members looked, and sometimes moved, across the seas during the tough times of the 1840s, be assured there is always promise and hope in the year to come.

May the road rise to meet you …


If there have not been enough posts on this blog for your liking, it is because you, dear Clan members, have not put pen to paper. We are not trying to be like Facebook, full of personal (dare we suggest trivial?) daily updates: we welcome good stories, historical snippets or family tales of general interest. Send a paragraph or two, preferably with a photo, to your regional editor, listed on the Home page >>

If you don’t know how to mail them, use the contact page to ask. As a last resort, send your contribution direct to the Administrator at clanolochlainn[at]

Merry Christmas to all,

Brendan, Edward and Regional Editors

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The woman of Ballybur


Ballybur Castle, Kilkenny. Image: Patrick Comerford

From Patrick Comerford:

“For generations, Ballybur Castle near Cuffesgrange, was the principal seat of the Comerford family in Co Kilkenny. This castle, which stands to the east of the road between Kilkenny City and Callan, was lost by my branch of the Comerford family during the Cromwellian confiscations in the 17th century, and despite many efforts was never recovered by the family.

Ballybur Castle passed to the Mansergh family, and later passed through the hands of other families, including the St George, Delhunty, Deignan and Murphy families, and it was bought from the Marnell family in 1970s by Frank and Aifric Grey. The Grey family have restored the castle with careful attention to detail, and I have been welcomed there on countless visits in recent years.

Today Ballybur Castle is also a popular venue for wedding receptions. But recently I came across the story of a wedding connected with Ballybur Castle and the story of a young woman from Ballybur Castle who became a countess and the wife of a wealthy gold-mining magnate and philanthropist in Australia, Count Thomas James O’Loughlin (1866-1929) … “

For more information, please read on (leave this site). See also our entries on Count Thomas in this post and the People pages.ballybur-wedding

Thanks to Patrick, and to our Irish Editor and Energiser Edward.

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