I stumbled on this by accident but I though I would share some information on the Dorrell families early history. Not that I am any kind of expert but my Great Uncle researched into this a lot and I was always interested in it. I have a booklet he wrote about it somewhere but as I am away from home at the moment then this will have to be from memory. Also I am an historian and while I feel that my Great Uncle did a good job I am not sure he got things 100% correct.
In any case this is what my Great Uncle thought.
He thought that all people around the world originate from just one person called Dorrell. So unlike with other surnames where various unrelated people started using a particular surname with our name there was just one. He saw the roots of the name as being French.
His theory was that it was originally De Something or D'Something (De or D' in French means 'of' or 'from'). He thought the most likely 'Something' part was the French for a bird sorry can't remember what type) or Ear (Oreille in French) or for some place in France with a name like Orrell. So the name could mean 'of the bird' - presumably our ancestor looked like the bird or had some characteristics of the bird or some kind of connection with the bird. Or 'of the ear/ears' maybe he had big ears? Or 'from Orrell' as in some place.
The last time I saw my Uncle I mentioned to him that there are a number of places in the UK called Orrell & that perhaps that could be the connection. My theory being that the family had been living at one of these places before we first have records of the family. Unfortunately while my Great Uncle was very excited about this idea he never got a chance to look into it, he died shortly afterwards.
In any case the family emerged into history from our unknown but likely French origins in the 1300's (it might bwe earlier but I can't remember exactly). At that time the family were living in Yorkshire, England and were doing quite well it seems. Indeed the family often seems to have hovered in status between high ranking Yeomen and Squires.
At some point, for unknown reasons, it seems that the the family moved to Worcestershire, and in particular north west Worcestershire, England. At this point there was still basically just one family and this was 1400's or maybe early 1500's. This area was then the main family home until emigration and economic change started to spread the family around the world. There are now not many Dorrell's left in Worcestershire but I am one of the few. My Grandfather told me that when he was young, early 1900's, there were lots of Dorrell's all over my area and Worcestershire generally. But not so any more.
If any one is interested I will find my Uncles booklet and fill in a few dates, etc. But I must warn you that I am a little suspicious that my Uncle basically found that we, my branch of the family, are the direct descendants of the original 'Dorrell' family. Maybe we are but I think it is a little untrustworthy. So maybe he made a mistake somewhere along the line!
Nick Dorrell, formerly of Worcestershire & now of Prague, The Czech Republic.