This last August my brother, John, and I had the great good fortune of meeting two of William John Doran’s children, and their spouses, in New Jersey. William John’s brother, Bernard, was our grandfather. This is one of the photographs they had saved of their father. William John Doran was born in Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland on 21 July 1893, and died in New Jersey on 11 August 1961.
When looking for military records it is very helpful to have the exact birth-date, to sort through the many records available. Since William John looks rather young in this picture, I think it could have been taken while he served with the New Jersey National Guard. There are a few British military records that look like a close match, but they only show the year of birth as 1893, and that the William Doran was born in Belfast. Doran is a very common Irish name, so the British search results are still inclusive.
This record of William Doran’s World War One Draft Registration is definitely his. You can click on any of the images to enlarge them.
What was so interesting to my sister and I when we found this, was that we found another WWI draft registration card belonging to another great-uncle of ours, John Mahoney, with the same exact address, 11 Hamilton Street, Harrison, New Jersey, from June 1917. Perhaps the two men met each other when Bernard Doran married Mary Mahoney in Harrison in January of 1917, and decided to live together together. During the 1920 Federal Census of Harrison, Hudson County, NJ, taken on the 5th of January, the residents of 11 Hamilton Street, were my great-grandmother, Mary Carter Mahoney, her three sons – John, Timothy, and Peter, and also a young male Irish-American boarder named Francis Riely [Source: Year: 1920; Census Place: Harrison Ward 1, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1041; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 54; Image: 594, accessed at ancestry.com].
William John Doran served one year in the 1st Regiment of the New Jersey National Guard. On his 1930 New Jersey Federal Census return he put down that he wasn’t a veteran, so I don’t think he served in the United States Armed Forces, except for his time in the National Guard.
His brother, Bernard Doran, served for four years in the First Infantry, Company M, National Guard of New Jersey, from his enlistment date of 15 October 1914, so it is possible that the two brothers served together for that one year.
Here’s a picture from August of my brother with William John Doran’s son. Ted and his sister, and their spouses, filled us in on lots of stories about their parents, William John and Rosina Evans Doran, and our grandparents, and family. They repeated what I had heard from my father, and other relatives, that William John and Bernard Doran looked so closely alike that people thought they were twins. I think there is also a resemblance between my brother and Ted Doran. We are so grateful we had this opportunity to meet our new cousins!