Those Places Thursday – Doran Irish Research

Looking towards Scotland from County Antirm, Northern Ireland
County Antrim, Northern Ireland

This photo is one of my favorites from a trip to Ireland that I took with my eldest daughter. Ever since that trip I have longed to go back. From many spots along the County Antrim coast we could see Scotland. Here I’m gazing out to sea – the same sea that my grandfather, Bernard Doran (1890-1947), left from to come to the United States in 1910. His ship, the S.S. Columbia, left from Londonderry, Ulster, Ireland, not far from this spot.

One of my New Year genealogy resolutions is to research in more depth my grandparents’ grandparents. I decided to start with Grandpa Barney Doran’s paternal grandparents from Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Most likely he never knew his grandfather, John Doran. John was born about 1825 and died before the 1901 Irish Census, in Belfast. Barney’s grandmother was Ellen Little Doran, and she died in Belfast when he was a young teenager.  Ellen Little Doran was living with her daughter, Hannah Doran Murray in the 1901 Irish Census. She was listed as Roman Catholic, 60 years old, widow, born in Belfast, can read & write. Hannah Doran Murray was listed as 24 years old, married, born in Belfast, Housewife, Can’t read. Her husband was Daniel Murray, age 23, and their son, James, was one. By the 1911 Irish Census, Ellen Little Doran wasn’t listed, and Hannah and Daniel had three more children: John, Alice, and Annie. (Census of Ireland 1901/1911. The National Archives of Ireland. accessed 31 May 2013).

Through years of research my sister and I have found out the names of some of John and Ellen Doran’s children. We have birth or baptism records for their children: Bernard, John, Anna, Joseph, Ellen, Catherine, Mary Anne, and Hannah. All of these children were born in either East Belfast, in County Down, or West Belfast, in County Antrim. My great-grandfather was their son, Bernard Doran, born in 1858.  Confusing matters is the fact that it seems that if one of their children died in infancy, they sometimes named another child the same name. Here below the baptism record of John and Ellen’s daughter Anna Doran. You can click on the record to enlarge it.

Record accessed 1/3/2012 at
Record accessed 1/3/2012 at

While searching for records this week I came across a record of a Scottish birth of a child named Ann Dorran, born 24 November 1863, to John Dorran and Ellen Little! Quite often our family spelled Doran this way, and we still pronounce it this way, instead of the more common Irish way that sounds more like Doren. Since I have found nothing more about Anna Doran born in Belfast, I’m ready to broaden my search to Scottish records. For all I know my grandfather Barney’s grandmother, Ellen Little Doran, could have Scottish roots. My grandfather’s grandfather, John Doran, worked in the flax trade as a flax dresser, or hackler. From the Paisley website I have found out that the town was famous in the 19th Century for the textiles produced there. It is located seven miles west of Glasgow, Scotland.

Those Places Thursday is a blogging prompt suggested by Geneabloggers. Off to do more research! Good luck with your family history in 2015!

Name: Ann Dorran
Gender: Female
Birth Date: 24 Nov 1863
Father’s Name: John Dorran
Mother’s Name: Ellen Little
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C11559-1 , System Origin: Scotland-ODM , GS Film number: 6035516
Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 7 January 2015), John Dorran in entry for Ann Dorran, 24 Nov 1863; citing ABBEY PAISLEY, RENFREW, SCOTLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 6,035,516.
Copyright 2015 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters

6 thoughts on “Those Places Thursday – Doran Irish Research

  1. I really enjoyed this post! I wish you all the best as you research this part of your family. The last record you shared – the Scottish birth index – if you get the original, a Scottish birth record from this time period would list the parent’s marriage date and place so you would know if it was your family. Do you have access to the record? You can find it on scotlandspeople. It would cost a few dollars. Or you could get it on this microfilm from the SL FHL – 294823.


      1. Oh Amberly, I’m so happy I followed your suggestion and purchased the record! John Dorran’s occupation was Flax Dresser! He married Ellen Litttle 6 June 1857 in Ireland. Our Ellen Little was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, so keeping my fingers and toes crossed that the marriage record will be at the R.C. church my great-grandfather was baptized at. That church in Ballymacarrett, St. Matthew’s, has marriage records that start 8 October 1841. What a great way to start off the new year! Many thanks!


  2. My understanding was that there were mane people of Scottish descent in Northern Ireland in the mountains and loyal to the English King William… This is where HillBillies come from: hills of Northern Ireland loyal to king William. Maybe that relates to our roots…


    1. Hi Bob, and Happy New Year! It does seem that our Doran Clan may have gone back and forth to Scotland, because I did get the complete record for Ann Doran’s birth. John Dorran’s occupation was Flax Dresser, and it did give the date and place of the marriage. John Dorran and Ellen Little married in Ireland on 6 June 1857.

      More and more this seems to be our John and Ellen! For everyone of the children born, he put his occupation as flax dresser or hackler. Their son ,and our great-grandfather, Bernard Doran, was born 2 October 1858 in East Belfast, County Down and baptized at St. Matthew’s Roman Catholic Church in Ballymacarrett. From all the records we have searched, this Bernard was their first child, so this new marriage date seems to fit perfect. Ellen Little would have been 17 or 18 years old when she married. I’m hoping St. Matthew’s was her home parish. The Diocese of Down and Connor has the Ballymacarrett marriage records from 1841.

      The hills of County Antirm and County Down are beautiful! I would be proud to be a Hill-Billy!


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