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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Irish Dornan family come from? What is the Irish Dornan family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dornan family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dornan family history?

The original Gaelic form of the Irish name Dornan was O Duirnin or O Dornian, possibly derived from the word "dorn," which means "fist."

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The search for the origins of the name Dornan family name revealed numerous spelling variations. These variants can be somewhat accounted for when it is realized that before widespread literacy people only recognized their name by pronunciation; it was up to scribes to decide how it was to be formally recorded. Variations found include Durnan, Durnane, Durneen, Durnin, Durnain, Dornan, Dornain and many more.

First found in County Antrim (Irish: Aontroim) located in the province of Ulster in present day Northern Ireland, where they had been anciently seated for many centuries and held territories in that county.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dornan research. Another 321 words(23 lines of text) covering the years 1596 and 1700 are included under the topic Early Dornan History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Dornan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Thousands of Irish left in their homeland in the 18th and 19th centuries to escape the religious and political discrimination they experienced primarily at the hands of the English, and in the search of a plot of land to call their own. These immigrants arrived at the eastern shores of North America, early on settling and breaking the land, and, later, building the bridges, canals, and railroads essential to the emerging nations of United States and Canada. Many others would toil for low wages in the dangerous factories of the day. Although there had been a steady migration of Irish to North America over these years, the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came to North America during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Irish name Dornan or a variant listed above:

Dornan Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • John and Mary Dornan who settled in New York State with their three children in 1803
  • Mary Dornan, aged 40, arrived in New York, NY in 1803
  • Edward Dornan, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1828
  • Alexander, Jacob, and Robert Dornan landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between 1835 and 1852
  • John Dornan, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1856


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  • Robert Kenneth "Bob" Dornan (b. 1933), American Republican and former member of the United States House of Representatives
  • John Pickens Dornan (1880-1959), American cricketer
  • Jamie Dornan (b. 1982), Northern Irish fashion model turned musician and occasional actor
  • Alan Dornan (b. 1962), retired Northern Irish footballer and manager
  • Andy Dornan (b. 1961), Scottish former football player


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  1. Woulfe, Rev. Patrick. Irish Names and Surnames Collected and Edited with Explanatory and Historical Notes. Kansas City: Genealogical Foundation, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-940134-403).
  2. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  3. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  4. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  5. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  6. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  7. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Dornan Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dornan 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 21 May 2014 at 02:53.

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