Bruce Johnson's Family History Website




The Doran Family: From Ireland to Glasgow via the Arctic Circle
My Great Great Great Grandfather, John Doran, was a farmer, who married Sarah Orr in Ireland, possibly in County Tyrone.

Their sons, William & Joseph seem to have come over to Glasgow during the potato famine in about 1847 and were listed in 1861 census, they were later joined by a younger sister, Margaret.
 Many people have absorbed a popular assumption that it was only the Catholic population who were driven from their homes by the potato blight,  but in reality famine strikes at all the people of a country.   MY family were protestants but they needed to eat just the same, and so they left their home and came to Glasgow.  Joseph became a wholesale stationer & paper merchant & did very well for himself.  He married Jane Smith. They had a child also called  Joseph who married Edith Herbertson.

William had been a teacher in Ireland (County Tyrone) and later became prison chaplain in Glasgow.  He was present in an official capacity at the last public hanging, and my mother once told me that there was an oil painting of it in the peoples palace at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow,  although I have not seen it as yet.  

The reverend William Doran married Catherine McCutcheon (8 Sept. 1854) and had three children. The 1861 census is interesting as it shows the Reverend William and his wife living in what must have been a fairly select accommodation, with a Professor of Music as the next door neighbour. William's younger brother Joseph is living with them at the time and is listed as a wholesale stationer.  
Joseph  married Jane Smith  did well for himself in the stationary business,. They had six children,  including another Joesph Doran (born  1872) who married Edith Herbertson. Joseph and Edith had three sons, Dennis,  Derek and John.  Many of their decendants still live in Glasgow,  although some are now settled in Devon, and have kindly updated me on their branch of the Doran family.


Meanwhile, The Reverend William and his wife Catherine had three children.  

My Great Grandfather  was their third child, (another Joseph)
. William died in 1883, the witness to the death certificate was his daughter Eliza, who appears to have been unmarried.
 
Joseph Doran was born in 1865 and not married till 1888 by which time both his parents were deceased.


This Joseph Doran worked as an Iron Planer and was married to Sarah Moore, (b 29th October 1866) daughter of John Moore and Mrs Sarah Moore (McCormick)


The picture on the left may actually be Joseph's wedding picture.  I have no evidence of that, but it dates from the right time.

Joseph Doran (b1865)

Sarah Moore  (b1866)

I believe their children were: John, Willie (1893), Kate(1890), Mattie(1896), and Joseph (1899)  as that is what I have written  on the back of old photograph.  The census return of 1901 for 194 Preston St lists Annie,  not Mattie ?

 From another picture it appears that John or Willie had a son called Alfie, shown here with Joseph, his grandfather. 


Great Aunt Kate and Great Aunt Mattie are  shown below holding my cousins, Rose and Tom, probably about 1957.

I met them in the 1960's, still living in the same Glasgow tenement block where they had spent most of their lives.

 Joseph's daughter Kate (b1902)


Joseph Doran (b1865) and  Alfie

My maternal Grandfather Joseph Doran was born April 16th 1899 (at 4.20 am) 6 John Streel Lane Glasgow,  baptised by the Rev, R. Turnbull Minister of Barrowfield Parish, registered in the district of Calton.  His mother, Sarah Moore,  died young,  aged just 41 in 1907. Joseph was just 8 years old.  After serving in the First World War he married Rose McGovern on  August 27th 1920 at the Congregationalist Church, Bellshill.  His profession is given as Engineers machineman, but my mother said he was a rivetter. As a young industrial worker in Glasgow he became caught up in the Red Clydeside movement of the 1920’s.   At that time many workers fondly imagined that a Russian style communist revolution was just around the corner and in order to speed it on its way they would hold demonstrations and tip over the odd tram, which caused considerable inconvenience to the capitalist system.

My mother told me that he was strongly opposed to gambling,  referring to playing cards as “The Devil’s Pictures”  and also that  he was strongly opposed to sectarianism, as he would not allow the singing of “Party Songs”  at parties.  This apparent contradiction becomes clear if we understand that “party songs” were those which related to Catholic and Protestant divisions, the songs of the Orange Lodge and of the IRA.   My grandfather regarded religion as an evil influence which caused divisions among the working class.   In that I agree with him entirely, as I have found organised religion to be in all cases, without exception, a totally evil force throughout all cultures and all nations.


Great Aunts Kate and Mattie, c1957
Joseph (Grandad) Doran

Their children were May, Catherine, Joseph and his twin Rose,  Sarah, and Martha, my mother,  who was born 22nd January 1927 at 87 Poplin Street Glasgow  but only baptised in 1952 when she wanted to get married !

During World War Two my Aunt May was the Matron of a hospital in Glasgow.   Many of her patients were wounded soldiers,  including British,  Canadians and other allies,   as well as Germans and Italians from a nearby prisoner of war camp. May was a strong character and she found ways to ensure that all the men got on without any trouble.  If any of the soldiers caused trouble with other troops,  or with the nurses, she would arrange for a group of the older soldiers from their own side to have a serious little talk with them and so everyone was kept in good order. However there were one group of prisoners who just wouldn’t co-operate,   these were member’s of Hitler’s personal bodyguard, the S.S.   Whenever a member of the SS came to the hospital for treatment they would stir up the other Germans to cause trouble. 
 At last May had had enough and decided to act.   On her day off she went up to the prison camp and asked to see the commander.   She told him that in future she would not have any more SS men for treatment and that if he sent any she would refuse all of his prisoners from then on.  This was completely illegal – but she got away with it and in future the SS men were simply treated inside the prison.   Life in the hospital got back to normal and so the family say that this was how Aunty May defeated the SS.


Pat and May's Wedding

Uncle Joe - a great guy.
There was yet one more Joseph Doran to make his mark. My own  Uncle Joe was my mother's only brother.   In  the second world war he was a sailor,   given the dangerous job of talking supplies from Scotland,  round the north coast of Norway, through the Arctic Circle, to the Russian port of Murmansk.   The supplies helped the Russians in their fight against Hitler,   but the journeys involved immense hardship and danger for the sailors in the arctic convoys.   The weather was so cold that if the men grabbed hold of a metal hand-rail their hand would simply freeze to the metal and might have to be cut off. Joe often came home with frostbite on parts of his face.   Joe survived to become one of my favourite uncles.  He was a real character, a gem.








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