Origins           Return to top of page

The Doorbar surname is very predominantly found in North Staffordshire. Although Doorbars, may now live in various locations around the world, the roots are firmly based in this part of England.

The name does have some variations – Dorbar, Durbar and Durbarre are found in the early parish registers. Spelling & dialect may account for the changes to Durber & Durbar. However the spelling of the name as Doorbar is established by the early eighteenth century.[1]

Some families changed to the spelling of Durber – this seems to occur with the movement of families into towns such as Burslem and Tunstall. Elias Doorbar, from whom the large Durber family of Wood Lane, near Audley originate is a good example of this change. Other families who originally were recorded as Durbers became Doorbars.

At Biddulph Parish Church records begin in 1558. The earliest recorded reference is to the marriage of Rumbaldus Dorbar and Elizabeth Stocken on September 2nd 1583.

From the family of Daniel, born around 1703 & his wife Elizabeth Doorbar – we can trace many members of the present day Doorbar family.

As to the meaning of the name, there does not appear to be any obvious explanation. My favourite is the idea of the deer keeper, which would be doe and bar as in gate.

 Early Doorbars        Return to top of page


Sep 2

Rumbaldus Dorbar  et Elizabeth Stocken



Nov 17

Margeria Dorbar  fa. Rumbaldi Dorbar



Jan last

Margareta fa. Rumbaldi Dorbar



Apr 24

Rich., fs Rumaldi Durbar



Feb 16

Margeria fa. Rumbaldi Durbar



Apr 19

Jana fa. Rumbaldi Durbar


1591 & 1592

Jun 11

Thomas fs Rumbaldi Durbar



Mar 25

Hellena Durbar, fa Rumbaldi Durbar et Margerie uxor sue



Nov 17

Elizabetha fa Rumbaldie Durbar et Elizabethae uxoris ejus



Apr 20

Anna Durbar



Mar 6

Joanna fa Rumbaldi Durbar freemason



Apr 23

Rombaldus Durbar in Ecclesia de Biddulphe



Jan 1

Rumball fs Rich. Durbar



Aug 17

Johannes fs Richardi Durbar



Feb 9

Johanna fa. Richardi Durbar



Jul 8

Richardus fs Richardi Durbarre



Sep 22

Willimus fs Richardi Durbarre



Sep 26

Willimus fs Richardi Durbarre



Aug 15

Thomas s. of Richard Durbarre



Aug 13

Mary d. of Richard & Anne Durbarre



Sept 7

Jana fa. Richardi et Annae Durbarre



Oct 24

Rogerus fs Richardi Durbarre



Apr 2

Elizabetha Durbarre


1642 -1657





Aug 29

Rodgyer Durbar



Jan 3

Richard s. of John & Grace Durbar



Mar 12

Thomas Durbar



Feb 18

John Durbar junior of Bugleton



Jul 5

John Durbar



Jan 14

John s. of Rumball & Sarah Durbar



Jul 29

Rumbalde Durbar



Nov 28

John s. of Richard & Mary Durbar born Nov 5




Dec 29

Thomas s. of Richard & Mary Durbar



End of Staffs Parish R Soc transcript



Minnie Pit Disaster January 1918        Return to top of page

                 hugh doorbar                                          carnegie certificate


There had been explosions at the Minnie Pit before 1918. In 1915 9 lives had been lost but on Saturday 12 January 1918 there was a huge explosion. Of 247 men working in the pit, 154 were killed either by the blast or by the gas which then filled the workings.

The Central Rescue Station at Stoke sent men and equipment and Rescue Teams from the Minnie Pit and other collieries started work. The Captain of the Birchenwood Team Hugh Doorbar lost his life in the rescue attempt as a result of faulty breathing equipment. The damage to the pit was so great that it took 20 months to recover the last of the bodies. It was the worst mining disaster in North Staffordshire.                                                         minnie pit after dissaster

Rescue Work

Rescue teams worked in relays during the night exploring and carrying out the difficult task of repairing the ventilation in an effort to reach the entombed men. The work was very slow. The poisonous atmosphere necessitated the use of oxygen breathing apparatus which only lasted a limited time. They encountered several falls which further hindered their progress. Despite these obstacles however, the untiring efforts of these gallant brigades took them about 1000 yards inbye the pit bottom. One of the rescuers was overcome by gas and had to be assisted out of the pit.

On Monday morning the Captain of the Birchenwood Colliery Rescue Brigade, Hugh Doorbar, lost his life when engaged in exploration in the Seven Foot Seam. The team of which he was a member consisted of six men, and after consultation with a captain of a team who were coming off duty, proceeded inbye.  On reaching the top of the fall in what was known as Locket's dip, in the Seven Foot Seam, the men noticed an unpleasant smell. Tests were made for firedamp but without result; a safety lamp however, burned dimly, and it was decided to couple up their breathing apparatus. The team proceeded slowly, and ultimately the safety lamp went out. A sharp report was heard and Captain Hugh Doorbar remarked, "Oh my apparatus!" his comrades tried to assist him but he struggled violently. Efforts were made to get to cleaner air but owing to his struggles, during which he repeatedly knocked off nose clips of the other men, and knocked one man down. The other men by this time were also affected by the atmosphere and they were finally obliged to leave him. When they left him, they were satisfied he was dead. His body was recovered the next day. On examination later they found that the apparatus was faulty.

alice doorbar receipt for pit fundminnie pit fundraising napkin           men killed in minnie pithalmer end chapel               

 minne pit commemorative plate




The photographs above show - withing the text the scene at the Minnie Pit following the disaster. The top two photos in the lower group are an Alice Doorbar receipt for a fund donation and a commenorative napkin used for fund raising. The next two photos are a list of the miners killed in the disaster and the outside of the Halmer End Chapel. The bottom photos include a commemorative plate and a photo of Hugh Doorbar




Tragedy in America        Return to top of page

Hugh Doorbar born 1837 married Elizabeth Clowes

on the 16 December 1861 at Horton Church in North Staffordshire.

They had 7 children.

Hugh Doorbar their 3rd child was born in 1867

at Horton in Staffordshire. He travelled to America in search of work.

Sadly he was killed on 7 February 1889.

Killed on the Bridge

The Millstone train cuts short the Career of a Railroad Man.

Hugh Doorbar, a track labourer on the Pennsylvania Railroad, was instantly killed last night on the railroad bridge by train No.165, the Millstone passenger line, which arrives in this city at 6.02 p.m.

Doorbar was returning from his work and started across the railroad bridge. When near the flag house the Millstone train came on the bridge. The unfortunate man continued on as if he had not heard the train's approach.

The engineer, seeing the man on the track, drew a shrill blast from his whistle, but it was not heeded. The engineer then drew back the engine levers, but it was too late. The locomotive struck Doorbar and threw him a distance of twenty feet ahead of the train, killing him almost instantly.

The body, which was not mangled, was picked up and taken to the dead house and Dr. Slack was summoned.

The unfortunate man had been only about two months in this country, having come from Staffordshire, England and was about 24 or 25 years of age. He boarded with a family on Codwise Ave, but had no friends or relatives living in this city. Doorbar was unmarried.

Newspaper report 8 Feb 1889

 Doorbars in America         Return to top of page

This section to be constructed