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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: Scottish, Swiss

The story of the name Dorman reaches back through Scottish history to the kingdom of Dalriada. The name evolved for a person who worked as a door attendant. The name is also a nickname type of surname derived from the Old English word deore, which means "beloved", and "man"


Spelling variations are the result of the medieval practice of spelling according to sound and repeated translation between Gaelic and English. Many spelling variations of Dorman have been recorded over the years, including Dorman, Dorward, Doorman, Durward and others.

First found in Fife, the name Dorman is derived from the word door-ward. This official hereditary position involved being the door attendant to the King of Scotland. The office of door-ward to the king was a very honorable one and was passed on in the powerful family of de Lundin Fife. The first who took his name from this office was Thomas de Lundyn in 1204. His son, Alan Durward, was one of the greatest names in Scottish history in the thirteenth century.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dorman research. Another 425 words (30 lines of text) covering the years 1228, 1452, 1478, 1511, and 1636 are included under the topic Early Dorman History in all our PDF Extended History products.


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


Some of the Dorman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Dormans to arrive in North America:

Dorman Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Dorman, who arrived in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1635
  • Wm Dorman, who landed in Virginia in 1638
  • Edmund Dorman came to New Haven, Conn. in 1639
  • Edmund Dorman, who arrived in New Haven, Conn in 1639
  • John Dorman settled in Virginia in 1648

Dorman Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Johannes Dorman, who arrived in New York in 1709
  • Kasen Dorman, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753

Dorman Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Margaret Dorman, aged 62, landed in New York, NY in 1805
  • Margt Dorman, who arrived in America in 1805
  • Geo Dorman, who landed in America in 1805
  • Margaret Dorman, age 62, arrived in New York, NY in 1805
  • William Dorman, aged 15, arrived in New York in 1812

Dorman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Dorman a miner, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bussorah Merchant" in 1848
  • John Dorman, aged 25, arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Fatima"

Dorman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • William M. Dorman arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Telegraph" in 1863


  • Sonya Dorman (1924-2005), pen name of Sonya Dorman Hess, American poet
  • Samantha Dorman, American model and actress
  • Peter Fitzgerald Dorman (b. 1948), American epigraphist, philologist, and cultural anthropologist
  • Lee Dorman (b. 1942), American bass guitarist for Iron Butterfly
  • Isaiah Dorman (1820-1876), African-American former slave and interpreter for the United States Army during the Indian Wars
  • David Dorman (b. 1954), American telecommunications executive, former chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc
  • Dave Dorman (b. 1958), American science fiction and fantasy illustrator, recipient of Eisner Award (1993) and Inkpot Award (2010)
  • Robert "Bob" Dorman (1859-1937), Irish socialist activist
  • Sir Maurice Henry Dorman GCMG, GCVO (1902-1993), British diplomat, served as Governors-General of Sierra Leone and Malta
  • John J. Dorman, 11th Fire Commissioner of the City of New York



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  1. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
  2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  3. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  4. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  6. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  8. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  9. Donaldson, Gordon and Robert S. Morpeth. Who's Who In Scotish History. Wales: Welsh Academic Press, 1996. Print. (ISBN 186057-0054).
  10. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  11. ...

The Dorman Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Dorman Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 11 April 2016 at 19:52.

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