Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why, Yes! I Do Come From a Long Line of Dormans!

Guest post by Bill Dorman

Everybody loves Bill! He's a lot of fun and a frequent visitor here. I met Bill on Twitter and serve with him on two Triberr tribes. His blog, is a fun place to stop by for a good read on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Trust me, he's great entertainment. And so is the comment section!

Do you ever wonder who blazed the trail before you; the sum of all parts who determined in some way the person you have become?

I had never really given it much thought when I was younger, and even though my dad's family was relatively close knit and were great story tellers, I never knew much about the family beyond my grandfather.

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away when I was 5 years old.

I do know 'Big Daddy' was a preacher man and he was going all over rural Florida in the 30's and 40's starting churches. I also know my father did not care for the vagabond lifestyle, moving almost every year.

It can be addicting.

My father passed away when I was 39; but about 3-4 years prior to that I became interested in the 'family' and began asking questions. I started bugging all of the relatives and really came up with some interesting stories. It was fun to watch the excitement as they recollected long forgotten memories. Every time I would 'discover' something new, I would pass it on.

This was a little bit before the internet so you almost had to be a private detective digging through census data in genealogical libraries and such. However, when you started connecting the dots, it just made me want to dig some more.

I see dead people.

My wife thought it was silly to be chasing dead people. I would counter that my efforts were bringing these people alive, and if it weren't for them I wouldn't even be here. I was curious to 'know' who they were.

You can glean valuable information from census data. You will see who the neighbors were, who married who, their occupation, etc. This helps you piece their life together.

As the discoveries were made I would always try to envision what their life was like at that time. I would wonder if they were having fun or if life was hard. I also wondered what mannerisms and characteristics they had that have carried down to me.

There will be hidden treasures.

One thing I quickly found out, there is no unclaimed Dorman estate money out there. The other thing I found out was there are a lot more Dorman's than I imagined.

Just like social, you can start chasing down a lot of different trails. Therefore, most of my efforts have been straight line, direct Dorman descendants that if any link in the chain were broken, I wouldn't be here writing this.

I know of towns, schools, roads, buildings, murders, war heroes, etc that I can trace. Some of the stories I could tell would be pretty colorful and that is what is most interesting.

They say US southerners take root; well I am probably a testament to this statement. I can trace my direct line to the early 1700's where Mitchel Dorman lived in North Carolina; every migration from there just kept going south.

Aren't you curious?

With sites like, it has become very easy to discover your family history. Just like social, not every thing you read and/or discover should be taken as gospel, so it pays to verify all sources of information. It is very easy to get diverted if you don't.

I have found 3rd, 4th & 5th 'cousins', some of them local, who have also taken an interest in family history. This is another great way to cross check your information, finding 'relatives' who are also looking.

Where did I come from?

Well, we all probably came from the proverbial 'Eve' on the plains of Africa; but beyond that I definitely have European ancestry. Originally, I assumed England but since I haven't jumped the pond yet in my discoveries, I have reason to believe it could be Ireland or Germany as well.

If you have any curiosity at all, I would recommend at least taking a look. However, I will warn you, it can be very addicting........just like social.

Principal/owner @LanierUpshaw, Inc. FSU grad; Auburn dad; interested in people & relationships, who you want to be when you grow up. My themes will run from social media to life to community to corporate life and what it all means to me, of course.

Recent posts at Bill's place:
Find Bill Dorman on:
Twitter: @bdorman264
Facebook Bill Dorman


  1. Replies
    1. Ding, ding; you win.

      I'm sure you were expecting some 'nobility' in the lineage, but it turned out we are all just a bunch of rednecks............:)

      Thanks for stopping by my friend.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Stan,
      The question is, who came before YOU?!!

    4. Bill,

      The kindness, service, and courtesy that you have demonstrated in the social media game is more relevant to me. You matter, buddy. And I would like very much if our friendship will, one day, find roots offline. Thank you for being a stand up, friend.


      I am the the modern-day warrior, Tom Sawyer, Bets. I come out of the mist, the myth, the mystery, and the drift. [grin]

    5. Perfect! Watched the video...definitely you!! LOL!

  2. Social...addicting? Say it isn't so:)

    My husband has "The Dillabough Book", so we're pretty clear on his ancestry to way-back-when. Interesting that someone took the time to compile, in one place, so much information. It's great to have in our possession and our two boys get a kick out of seeing our names in it.

    As to my side, well that's a whole different ball of wax. The history is somewhat convoluted with Finnish, Swedish and Italian ingredients. How my grandmother, a Finn ever hooked up with someone from Italy back in the day is a mystery to many of us:)

    Oh...and the Dorman estate money? It was bequeathed to the Dillabough's, haha! Cheers! Kaarina

    1. The interesting thing is you really do come across some twists and turns. I found out stuff about my mother and her family after she passed away and it really brought some clarity to why certain things were the way they were.

      If I have to go back to 1700 and still can't find any money, maybe there will be a castle or something in England I can take possession of, huh?

      Thanks for coming by, this was the GP I was talking about.

    2. Kaarina,
      You are very lucky to have that book. What a treasure! My hope is to have that to pass on to my children. So far I have over 700 names from mine and my husband's side, and am making my way through them collecting their stories.
      If you ever get curious to start your side let me know. I'd love to spend a few days compiling info (for free of course) because it's so fun!

    3. Lol! Dorman.... the Dillabough's have your money... kaaa ching!

  3. My husband's aunt started working on a Burke family history several years ago. I haven't actually seen it, but I'm dying to get my hands on it. How neat to be able to trace your roots so far back, Bill.

    I started something similar for my own family when I was still a teenager - I've always been fascinated by family history. I used to get my grandmother (maternal) to write down her memories of days past, who was who, etc. Unfortunately, when she passed away, that book couldn't be found, and I am still so upset about that.

    I started a wiki for my family - my dad remembers a ton of stuff about both sides of the family - and have been trying to get my parents to write stories there. Sadly, they still haven't done so. is such a cool site... but they probably don't have records for non-US people (take me, for example, since I don't have an ancestry in this country, would they have anything on my family in India, where record-keeping is still pretty lousy?)... do they?

    1. Hey Shonali!
      I came across that question last year when I met a woman from India and (of course)asked her about her research into her ancestry. Seems that most of the records are kept by local religious leaders and can be found, but mostly in person. Your best bet is to start connecting with family members and start piecing it together bit by bit. Some of it you won't be able to document right away, but will be heresay (which can be dangerously wrong!), but it's something. But wherever you focus you will start to find help and success!
      Here's a link as well to a page with a few sites to check out: (you'll have to paste it in your browser)

    2. I see some parallels with social and genealogy; once you get the bug it seems like you are 'all in' and can never get enough info. Prior to the I manually researched at a family history library. I knew nothing past my grandfather and neither did my dad's family so I thought it was cool when I found my great grandfather and great-great grandfather.

      Back in the day the stories were carried forward through family gatherings; that has gone by the wayside in many instances and never recorded. Now, at least we have the resources to pull all this info together.

      I think Ancestry is pretty much US based and working backwards from there. It would be interesting to see if it is developed in some other the other countries where record keeping might have been different.

      Good to see you, no pirates here......yet......:)

    3. Hey Shonali, I am from India too. But my maternal grandpa has a book that has noting down ancestry for quite some time. For my paternal ancestry I had to rely on most of my grandmother's memory. There is a great probability that you might have to get in touch with the someone who has seen it all and talk it out with them. Though the data might be still be influenced by a lot of subjective opinions; there is still a good chance that it works out quite some time.

  4. It is addictive...finding out where you come from. Though we lived in UAE all through my childhood, I originally come from India and my father is the only child. His uncles and aunts and all that we would call family estranged my grandfather during the Indian partition. So, it was really tough to get back to the roots. But like you said, it is addictive. And it is confusing. My grandma's family comes from somewhere in Iran so that makes me about a lil percentage Iranian. And then everybody else is Indian. So, that is as far as countries go. As for surname, we have got to be the most weirdest family ever. My name is a tribute to a long lost aunt so technically my surname Khatoon is different from my parents and my siblings (weird alert) and it TECHNICALLY is Urdu for "Lady"; something which was the cause of bullying in school. So, though my family comes from a long line of their name; I don't come from a long line of Khatoon.

    But yes, I am keeping record. Some day I will have kids, some days those kids will have kids and five generation down the line, the kids will remember their ol lady Hajra who kept records and made it a norm to have the same surnames. No tributes whatsoever.

    My, I did lay out my family history... Sorry, bullied children are weird!

    1. Uh yeah, weird alert like you belong to someone else kind of thing.....:).

      I think it's great you are keeping record and going forth with what you know. It has to start somewhere, right?

      We all come from somewhere, and if you look at the direct line it is mind boggling to see how precarious it was from the beginning of time not to have that line broken. However, as you can tell from the gazillion people we have on the planet, obviously it wasn't that precarious, huh?

    2. Lol! It really wasn't!

      Did you find a super rich Dorman who left you his / her fortune to you?

    3. Still looking for that elusive 'rich' Dorman.....

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. It sure is fun to be reading about all our online friends history..Betsy may have started something new!

    I to am lucky enough to have a historian who wrote everything down at least on my father and maternal grandmothers side. I asked my Mom about her fathers history the other day and there is nothing! A mystery there for sure..there is no one left on that side to ask...

    So Bill has always lived in the flip flop part of the fav. place to visit in the winter!

    Interesting how some family groups stay in an area and some spread out to the four corners.

    Fun Stuff! I love History.

    As Always..


    1. As I mentioned being able to trace from North Carolina; actually a fair share of that family migrated north and westward. Because a lot of the families were large, you can really go down some rabbit paths trying to keep up with everybody. That is why I stuck on a straight line for awhile, but I do have some interesting stories on my f-grandmother's side as well.

      I like the way Betsy brings the stories alive.

  7. Hi Bill,

    We have been trying to track down our family history too. Some of it is harder to do as family in Europe moved every which way and to the best of our knowledge the Nazis wiped out most that didn't go.

    But I know that my great-grandmother on one side was born right around the beginning of the Civil War (US that is) and that many of my relatives moved to the states somewhere between 1880 and 1905.

    We had relatives in Ireland up to the sixties, not sure if they are still there. But you can find my people in South Africa, Israel and all over the US.

    Suppose it is time for one of us to try and dig up some more information and see if we can't find out a little bit more about who went where.

    1. I haven't made the jump across the pond, at least w/ the Dorman side but it will interesting when I do. Once you find that line, Europe seems to have better records that go much deeper.

      I found it interesting; but like anything else, it takes time. I'm hoping to piggyback someone who is close enough to my line who has already done it....:).

      Thanks for stopping by Betsy's today sir.

  8. Hey Bill and Betsy, Very interesting post. My father and husband both research our ancestors, so I have lots of records, except my mother's side of the family. She was an only child and died when I was fairly young. Her family name was common and no one can seem to come up with much about her.

    My husband's family on the other hand is fascinating. We have traced the Mohr family to a small town in Germany and visited his ancestral town, home to the Mohr Fire Extinguisher store. But we visited on a Sunday and it was closed. < -- True story, sometimes I think I married Clark Griswold.

    You don't want to own a castle, Bill. The amount you have to pay for upkeep is vast, much more expensive than even a blog!

    Thanks, Betsy, for enriching us with Bill's writing here at your place. :-)

    1. My luck, I'll show up and there will be money owed and they will start chasing me to collect. I know there are Dorman's in England, Ireland and Germany and I'm probably related to some or all. It would be neat to see where Mitchel Dorman came from and start backwards from there.

      You know, that was quite a leap of faith to just pick and move to an unknown land. I wonder what drove my family; probably hunger and lack of work.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  9. You have some great history in your family Bill. Mine came from Europe in the late 1800's and early 1900's. I am 4th/5th Generation depending on which side you pick. I do know my ethnic group 40% of the population can be traced back to 4 women I think 800 years ago in eastern europe. I started asking around but everyone denied being related to me. I then ran DNA and got official proof I am related then was served with disownership papers. Go figure.

    1. I hear ya; as soon as we start trying to claim our birthright then the whole issue of DNA testing comes up; not wanting anything to do with us, huh?

      Once my line of Dorman's got to the states and started migrating south, I've been told there is an Indian or two in the mix. Maybe I can claim a casino or something.

      Good to see you Howie, hope you have been doing well.

  10. "no unclaimed Dorman estate money out there" Awwwwwwwww!
    Hi Bill! Fancy meeting you here! I didn't know you were a family history buff! I've always been collecting stories from our family and really, someone should write a book about them! We've got elopements where the father and uncle chased the young couple on horseback and the priest barring the church door - and that's just for starters! Maybe one day...

    1. As I got out of the Dorman line, there are certainly some interesting stories to be told. The biggest shocker of them all was my mother was illegitimate and she never knew it. However, the way that side of the family treated her she probably knew something was up. Since she has passed, I did find out who the biological father was so if I ever want to trace her side I know where to start.

      Good to see you Lori, hope you had a good chat yesterday.

  11. Hey Bill,

    So, you didn't come from royalty? Dang it and I just knew you had. :-)

    So as you can probably guess, Smith isn't my maiden name. I told my parents when I divorced 22 years ago that I hoped they wouldn't be offended if I didn't use my maiden name. We were the only people in town with that last name and still are, so I had to have an unlisted phone number and I got so tired of spelling both my first and last names. I felt by keeping Smith, I would be harder to find.

    One of my Dad's cousins researched his family history and we found that we had a decedent sign the declaration of independence and Ronny Milsap (the country western singer) is a distant cousin. Thought that was pretty cool. We have an entire book of my Dad's genealogy and on my mother's side, my uncle researched all of that. So we have all the history from both sides and I find it to be very interesting reading.

    1. If you spend time with it, you can pull the stories out and envision what their lives must have been like.

      I would say Smith is pretty generic, it could be a hard line to trace anyway, huh?

      I do wear my Burger King crown around town now because I am a social guru in case you didn't know. That should count for something, right? Good to see you; thanks for stopping by Betsy's.

  12. Hey Bill,

    It sounds like you had an interesting time looking for dead people. I stopped reading a little when I read that your father passed away when you were 39 years old. I am 39 years old, and I have about two months left until I'm 40, and that made me think.

    I haven't been doing any research on my own, and even though my dad hasn't either, we know that he has some very interesting family members. He was born during the second world war, and he's father (my grand father) was most likely a German soldier. But that's all we know. We might know his name and that's it :)

    It was very interesting to read about your family. Keep it coming.

  13. German soldiers, huh? I'm sure you can find some interesting stories in there. Europe usually has pretty good genealogy records too if you ever became interested.

    Good to see you, thanks for stopping by. It's pizza night at the Dorman's BTW....:)

  14. Bill,

    I started to use, got bored with all the boring news that I stopped. The problem is my family sucks. It seems nobody cared or they were too poor to give a shit. No biggy. I can rest knowing they were hard working and good. I'll pass down stuff to my kids. It has to start somewhere.

    I did find out some juicy stuff about my grandma. Sure, I'm fine saying that, she was not so nice to my mom so she can go to you know where. And she is gone now. And when I say juicy, it is. It all came out AFTER she passed, of course. LOL.

    My family line is not pretty at all. There is nothing big in it, good or bad. No awards or famous people. Pretty bland. Thanks ancestors. LOL.


    1. I didn't think I would find much when I started looking, but it did get interesting at points..........still didn't find any money.........:).

      Not through genealogy, but found out my mother was illegitimate after she passed away. It explained a lot of things, but if she knew, she never let on. I do know who her biological dad was, in case I ever want to go down that line.

      I guess some are born in the lucky sperm pool and the rest of us aren't, huh?

      Good to see you over here, thanks for coming by.


What do you think? I'd love to know.