Dorner Surname History

The Dorner surname first began to be used in the German state of Bavaria, some time after the 12th century, when hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules, and names that were derived from locations became particularly common. The family name Dorner is a local surname. Originally denoting the proprietorship of an estate or influence within a village, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Dorner was given to someone who lived near a thorn-bush or hedge. The surname Dorner is derived from the German word dorn, which means thorn. Thus, the name was adopted by a person who lived near thorn bushes. The name Dorner also was used by people from Dornach, which is a town located near Munich in Bavaria. There is also a town named Dörnach in Tübingen, Westphalia and a city named Thorn (which is now Torun) in Poland. In Bavaria, the Dorner family lived on a feudal estate. Land proprietorship and management were the sole source of wealth and power in the Middle Ages and the Dorner family, as noble landowners, became prestigious members of the landed aristocracy.

Early Origins of the Dorner family

The surname Dorner was first found in Bavaria, where the name came from humble beginnings but gained a significant reputation for its contribution to the emerging mediaeval society. It later became more prominent as many branches of the same house acquired distant estates and branches, some in foreign countries, always elevating their social status by their great contributions to society.

Important Dates for the Dorner family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorner research. Another 71 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1738, 1530, 1584, 1809 and 1884 are included under the topic Early Dorner History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dorner Spelling Variations

One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Dorner include Dorn, Dorner, Doorn, Doern, Dorne, Dorns and others.

Early Notables of the Dorner family (pre 1700)

Another 31 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dorner Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dorner migration to the United States

The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from Bavaria who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. For many Bavarian tenant farmers, the chance to own their own land was a major incentive. So the widespread colonization of the United States began in 1650, when many immigrants from Germany settled in pockets in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. In Canada, German settlement centered in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Among those of this surname listed in various historical records were:

Dorner Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Jacob Dorner, who landed in New York in 1709 [1]
  • Johannes Dorner, who arrived in New York in 1709-1710 [1]
  • Anna Margaretta Dorner, aged 40, who arrived in New York in 1710 [1]
  • Thomas Dorner, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1740 [1]
  • Johann Henrich Dorner, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1774 [1]
Dorner Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Peter Dorner, aged 34, who arrived in Missouri in 1840 [1]
  • Wilh Anton Dorner, who arrived in America in 1856 [1]


  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
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