Tombstone Tuesday – James and Mary Doran

St. Bernard Cemetery, Bridgewater, New Jersey
St. Bernard Cemetery, Bridgewater, New Jersey

St. Bernard Cemetery is one of the oldest Roman Catholic cemeteries in Somerset County, New Jersey. It dates from 1876, serving the parish cemetery of St. Bernard Church and surrounding parishes. Below are the obituaries for James and Mary Mirota Doran.

Mrs. James F. Doran – Whitehouse – Mrs. Mary Mirota Doran, 56, of Mountain Road, RD Lebanon, wife of James F. Doran, died Wednesday December 3, at home after an illness of several months.

She was born in Cherry Valley, Pa., and came to the Whitehouse area 20 years ago.

She was a communicant at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Whitehouse Station, and a member of its Altar-Rosary Society.

Surviving, in addition to her husband  . . .[omitted for privacy]; two brothers, Stephen Mirota, Manville, and Joseph E. Mirota, RD Lebanon; also a sister, Mrs. Theodore Lubas, Harlingen.

The funeral was held Saturday at 9:30 a.m. from the Robert B. Hauck Funeral Home, followed by a Requiem High Mass at 10 a.m. at the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes. Interment was at St. Bernards Cemetery, Raritan Borough [Source:Hunterdon Review and High Bridge Gazette, (Whitehouse, NJ), 10 December 1969, page 2].

James F. Doran – A Mass for James F. Doran, 77, of Whitehouse Station will be offered at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday in the Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Whitehouse Station.

Arrangements are by the Kearns Funeral Home, Whitehouse.

Mr. Doran, who died Saturday in the Hunterdon Medical Center, Raritan Township, was a painter for the Veterans Administration supply department in Belle Mead for 15 years, retiring in 1981.

Earlier, he had been a steelworker with the Taylor Wharton Co, in High Bridge for 20 years.

During World War II, Mr. Doran served in the Army, fighting in the Battle of Normandy. He was awarded a Purple Heart for combat wounds.

Mr. Doran was a member of the American Legion Post 284, Whitehouse, the Disabled American Veterans of Somerville, and the Bradley Gardens Alcoholics Anonymous.

Born in Kearny, he resided in Harrison before moving to Whitehouse Station 49 years ago.

Surviving are . . . [omitted for privacy]; three brothers, William, Peter and Joseph; a sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Peck, two grandchildren and two step-grandchildren [Source: The Newark Star Ledger, (Newark, NJ), February 3, 1997, page: 16].

I have noticed a trend in obituaries to also list the hobbies and interests of the deceased, and think that is a good thing. Some of Mary’s hobbies were gardening, reading, and swimming. Some of James’ were horse racing, coin collecting, and playing the piano. All of the facts are correct in their obituaries except that James had three step-grandchildren, and how long Mary had lived in Whitehouse Station, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. She had come with her family there, from Pennsylvania, around 1920. James and Mary Doran built a house on a piece of subdivided land from her parents’ farm. Below is a picture of them in their front yard, dated 1967.

Jim and MaryDoran, 1967. Photograph belonging to Genealogy Sisters.

This photo below is of James and Mary in their home, dated 1956. This was taken shortly after their fourth child was born. I love Mary’s dress, and how happy they look!

Jim and  MaryDoran, 1956. Photograph belonging to Genealogy sisters.

Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers, to post a photo of a tombstone, and also to write a brief description of the cemetery or ancestor or both.

14 thoughts on “Tombstone Tuesday – James and Mary Doran

    1. Thanks, Kelly! And you are right! I’ll edit it and add that correction. I checked the another obituary for James, and that has three step grandchildren, but this one had it wrong.


  1. I am trying to get help in locating my paternal grandfather. My father James Doran was born at 51 5thStreet, Belfast, N. Ireland, in 1913. His mother is listed at Sophia Smyth Doran on my father’s birth certificate. His father is listed at James Doran. I believe his mother was from Gilford, Banbridge. I have been unable to locate marriage lines and have no information on the father. Any and all help would be appreciated. Thank you


    1. Hi Marie,
      I will look through my Belfast, Northern Ireland records for Doran and see if I can find any connection, or any records to help you out. My paternal grandfather, Bernard Doran, was born in Belfast in 1890. My great-aunt Ellen “Nellie” Doran’s second husband was a Smythe. It would be interesting if we turned out to be related a few generations back!
      Cheers, Maryann


    2. Hi Marie,
      I noticed a McKenna tree on and wonder if it belongs to you? My tree at is called “Barnes Family Tree” and it has our Doran clan going back a few generations in Belfast. Our paternal grandfathers lived within a half mile from each other in the Woodvale DED (District Electoral Division) in what was called West Belfast. Do you know if your father’s family was Roman Catholic? If so, have you tried the local churches St. Paul’s or St. Peter’s Cathedral for any records?
      Here are a few of the addresses that my grandfather’s family lived at: 36 Servia St., 45 Fort St., 51 Springfield Row, 5 Springfield Village. I have been to this neighborhood, and to these two RC churches. How old was your father when he left Belfast?
      My grandfather’s father was also Bernard Doran, and the generation before that was John Doran. They worked in the flax industry as hacklers. Often the name was Dorran in the records.
      I have two James Doran records that do not belong to my family.
      One set is a father named James Doran that had a child named James Henry Doran, 22 Utility St., Belfast, that died at 9 weeks on 7 April 1914. Another one of his children was Ellen Doran and she died at 9 weeks on December 11, 1912. It doesn’t list the mother’s name (Church of Ireland).
      The other is a Bernard Doran of 45 Annette Street, that was a publican and had a son named James. This James Doran died July 20, 1887, aged 38 years. His widow, Isabella, died April 17, 1950 in Belfast.
      I’ll keep looking through the records.


      1. Maryann,

        Thank you for your response about my trying to locate information on my paternal grandfather.
        You are correct. I do have a family tree up but have nothing on my grandfather. I have written to England, Scotland and Ireland requesting information on a marriage between James Doran and Sophia Smyth. All responded that nothing was found.
        I do believe that grandfather James was catholic and Sophia was prodestant. I have visited the Pro Cathedral St. Peter’s and also St. Paul’s. They had no information on a marriage. I do have my fathers birth certificate and also his baptism and marriage lines. These do not help as there is no information on his father.
        The information I was able to gather is that my father was with his mother until the age of three. He was put into foster care and never was adopted. I have reached a brick wall. Unless I can contact information from a relative of Sophia there does not seem to be a way to recognize the family of James Doran.
        I have been working on this for a number of years without any success.
        My sincere thanks for your response.


    3. Hi Maire, I’ve just realized that I’ve been misspelling your name – so sorry! I agree that you have a giant brick wall. I’ve looked at different records, and directories for Belfast and I can’t find any other time that a Doran or Smyth lived at that address on your father’s birth certificate.
      Here is a link to our website where my sister and I have accumulated our research over the years. Under “Doran Miscellaneous Records” there is a link for the 1911 Irish Census for Dorans and Dorrans in a spreadsheet format. If you haven’t found your grandfather in the 1911 census this may help narrow down the choices. My sister made this table and it is for the entire county. If you do a search on it with the control key and the letter f for “find” and enter “James” you may be able by age to narrow the field. If you look through some of our other research you may get some ideas for other searches that you haven’t tried yet.

      We have found that our grandfather went AWOL from the British Army before coming to the United States in 1910. The record was still available. Our great-uncle went to sea as a child, and there are records still showing this. We have a great-aunt that was married one day in Belfast, and the next day her husband vanished for years. She had him declared dead, only to have him find her years later when she had re-married and moved to New Jersey. It turned out he went to sea to work and conveniently forgot all about his young wife. Our second cousin helped us with this information.
      Since your father went into foster care some tragedy most likely happened. Someone from your Smyth family may still be holding a secret. When we hit a brick wall we hired the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast to unravel some of our mysteries.
      I hope to find a record somewhere to help you out, because I understand the frustration.
      One more thought – do you have a brother for a DNA test? There is a Doran surname DNA group.


      1. Maryann,
        Thank you and your sister for all the help. I have written all the James Doran’s and their location in the 1911 census plus their age at that time. It certainly cuts down the list but there are still a lot in the age group.
        I think I will contact the Ulster Historical Foundation and see what they suggest.
        I had my DNA tested by That was no help as I already know I am Irish.
        The address on 5th Street where my father was born to my knowledge was a rooming house. As my father was born in Nov. 1913, They would not have been living there at that census. We were never allowed to ask my father anythng because he was ashamed at being given away. I think perhaps his father was killed in the war and his mother was supposed to have been told that she could return home but not the baby as it looked too much like its father.
        I wrote to the British War Office and was told a lot of their records were destroyed.
        I wonder if he had no family to have taken his son rather than him to have been fostered.
        I do appreciate your time in looking into your records for me. I never realized there were so many Dorans. My fathat told us that the Dorans were the law makers. We have two sons who are attorneys which I find interesting.
        I just thought of something. My father came to the USA in I believe 1953. I am wondering if he had any knowledge that was needed for his entrance to the USA. Do you know of any way I could check his paperwork?
        Sorry for going on so much. Thank you again.
        Take care.
        Maire McKenna


    4. Maire, I’m going to try and send you a message through about searching for Sophia Smyth. As to the papers your father would have filled out to become a citizen, you would want to go to the county he lived in at the time. I have a friend that came to the USA from Ireland after WWII. She had to show her birth certificate. She hadn’t married so there wasn’t a name change. She had to be gainfully employed. Every year until she became a citizen she had to go to her local county and re-register. Her brothers came to the USA and were told if they joined the Armed Forces, they could become citizens that way, so they did. Both of my grandfathers immigrated to the USA and their naturalization paper were at the county they lived in. The Petition for Naturalization gives the place the person was born. Any spouse and children’s name are listed, but not usually anything about the parents, except their names (sometimes) and you have that already. ~ Maryann


      1. Maryann, Thank you for all the information. I already have all this information. I am not very knowledgable about getting around on the I did subscribe but was lost in trying to negotiate the site. I ended up cancelling the subscription. I got copies of all the children of Annie Smyth and thought it was correct but their Sophia died as a three year old. There is another Sophia Smyth who was the daughter of Francis. Annie’s husband Isaac and Francis I believe were twins. I will try calling Belfast to get information on a geneologist.
        Again, thank you for all your help.
        Maire McKenna


      2. Good luck searching, Maire!
        There are about 20 Smyth or Smiths listed in the 2013 Directory of Irish Family History Research (Subscriber’s Interest List) from the Ulster Historical Foundation in Belfast, but none seem to match up with your Smyth family. Maybe with a little more digging you will get matches. If I find anything from the Doran side I will let you know. I love the Doran clan dearly, and always hope to find close and distant cousins!


      3. Maryann, Thank you for all the time you have spent trying to help. I will keep you posted if or when I find anything out either about Sophia and James Doran.
        Take care.
        Maire McKenna


  2. I agree that putting something more personal in obits would be a good thing. Don’t we want to remember what our relatives liked rather than just what they did for a living?


    1. Amy, I think it is very true, especially for those relatives that we never got to meet. And I agree that it helps us remember the person if we simply write down a line or two, or a memory of something that they loved to do.


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