Researching Mary Kane Doran of Belfast, Northern Ireland


I’m hoping to find out more about the second wife, Mary Kane, of my Irish great-grandfather, Bernard Doran. His first wife, Mary Hall, was my direct ancestor, but it always helps in family research to look at all sides. From research done for our family at the Ulster Historical Society in Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland we found the first inkling of Bernard’s second wife’s name in 2002. We also knew from a written family history by Sal Rafferty, that after Bernard’s first wife died he married a woman that owned a public house (pub) and was thought to have lived happily ever after, and that he died circa 1920 in Belfast. This record only shows that they are Roman Catholic, living on Weaver Street, and gives their ages as full age, meaning over twenty-one. Mary Kane had never been married. Since Bernard’s father was listed as John Doran, and deceased, we are fairly certain that Mary Kane is the person we are seeking to research.

Recently I was contacted by someone on who is researching the Kane family of Kirkinriola, Ballymena, County Antrim. In 2011 I had found a baptism record for a Mary Anne Kane, born or baptized on 16 June 1861, at the Roman Catholic church in Kirkinriola. Her parents were listed as James Kane and Susanna McQuillan. The sponsors were William Chushnahan and Catherine McCauley.

Researching Irish records there was a marriage record for Augustine Kane to Robert McKane on 15 February 1908 in Belfast. The witnesses were Bernard Doran and Elizabeth Jane Griffith.  Since Augustine Kane also was living on Weaver Street, it is a very good lead for searching the Kane family. Kane is a very common surname in Ireland, but her first name is more unique. From both of these marriage records it looks like Bernard Doran had a close enough relationship that he was chosen as one of the witnesses.


On I found a birth/ baptism record for Augustine Kane, born on 4 September 1870, to James Kane and Susanna McQuillan. living at 51 Nail Street, in Belfast. I know that our Doran family was living at 19 Nail Street when John Doran (Bernard’s brother) was born on the 26th of September 1878 to John and Ellen Little Doran. This makes me think that Mary Kane and Bernard Doran may have known each other from childhood.

Looking at the 1901 Irish Census for the Kane family was a challenge. Finally I found Susanna Kane living on Weaver Street with two of her daughters, Augustis, age 36, and Mary, age 32, both single. Susanna was listed as a widow. The family was Roman Catholic and had two male boarders living with them. After a check up and down Weaver Street I didn’t find Bernard Doran living there yet, or simply not recorded. The Kane family was enumerated as O’Kone, but the house and building return clearly shows Susan O’Kane.


Since Mary Kane’s year of birth is off by about eight years, it is possible that the birth record from Kirkinriola in 1861 was for another child that died. Looking at the Irish birth records for James Kane and Susanna McQuillan or Mcquillan, I have found other siblings of Mary and Augustine Kane. James Kane, born 27 June 1864, male, Ballymacarret. Eugene Kane, female, born 1 August 1866, female, Ballymacarret. Susanna Kane, born 22 September 1866, female, in Belfast. Susanna Kane, born 19 December 1872, female, in Belfast, Annie Kane, born 3 January 1875, female, in Belfast. and Margaret Kane, born 28 June 1877, female, in Belfast. What is also interesting to me is that Bernard Doran was baptized in Ballymacarret in 1858.

The only other information about Mary Kane Doran is that in 1914 she came to the USA with her step-son, Joseph Doran, to visit her step-daughter, Nellie Doran in New Jersey. Mary listed herself as a widow, but we know that Bernard Doran was still living later in the year when Bernard’s daughter, Elizabeth Doran Rafferty, left Belfast for Canada.

Name: Mary Doran
Arrival Date: 16 Mar 1914
Birth Date: abt 1869
Age: 45
Gender: Female
Port of Arrival: New York, New York
Ship Name: Columbia

Joseph Doran, son, age 18

I hope to find out more about the Kane family, and what would be fantastic is to find an ancestor of the family that had photographs.

Good luck searching for your family’s roots!

Copyright 2016 by Maryann Barnes and Genealogy Sisters.

7 thoughts on “Researching Mary Kane Doran of Belfast, Northern Ireland

  1. Maryann,

    Nice to hear from you. It has been a very busy time for you. What great research you have done. I think it is funny that my husband used to always give his name as Kane when he was calling for information especially about real estate. It just seems like every surname in Ireland is very common when it comes to trying to trace an ancestor. I had no idea there were so many Doran’s until I started this search many years ago.

    I have asked my friend in Lisburn to see if she can find any more about the Doran family from the St. Coleman’s R.C. Church in Annaclone, Dromore, Co. Down. Unfortunately with my husband in a wheelchair and both of us getting past the travelling age and condition or I would be on a plane to Co. Down to see if I could find any current Doran’s who might know something of their family history.

    Thank you for sending me your latest finds. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your sister.

    Take care. Maire McKenna


    1. Maire, I always love hearing from you and getting updates. I’ve been to Northern Ireland once and I would love to go back with extra time for research. Best wishes for a very happy Thanksgiving!
      Warm regards, Maryann


  2. Wonderful research, Maryann! It seems that Irish records have all the same spelling and name confusion problems as US records. Human error everywhere.


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