Recorded as Doran, Dorran, Dorrian and O'Deoran, this is usually a surname of Irish origins. It derives from the Old Gaelic O'Deoradhain, with O' indicating "grandson or male descendant of", and the personal byname "Deorain", meaning an exile, wanderer or possibly stranger. The Dorans were one of the seven septs of County Leix, the others being O' Devoy, O' Dowling, McEvoy, O' Kelly, O' Lalor and O' Moore, and together they were known as "The great Brehan family of Leinster". The word "brehan" refers to the Gaelic legal system in force before the Norman Invasion of 1170, on which for some reason "the family" was expert. The Dorans were also noted antiquarians and they kept possession of three manuscript copies of the "Tripartite Life of St. Patrick" for generations. In 1540 they held territory in Waterford, and Doransland in that county, was their original home, although later in the 16th century branches of the sept settled in Ulster in Counties Armagh and Down. Recordings from Irish church registers include: the christening of Barbara, daughter of Thomas and Anne Doran, on March 7th 1679, at St. Catherine's, Dublin, and the marriage of Ann Doran and James Keating on August 28th 1793, at Borris, County Carlow. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Maurice Doran, the Bishop of Leighlin in Leinster. This was dated 1523, when he was murdered by his archdeacon, Kavanagh. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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