Mr William John Doherty (boarded as James Moran)1 was born on Main Street in Dunmanway, Co Cork, Ireland on 27 July 1889.
He was one of five surviving children born to Co Leitrim-native William O'Doherty (b. 1856), a policeman with the Royal Irish Constabulary, and the former Anne Golden (b. circa 1858) from Cork who had married on 21 January 1886 in Donoughmore.
His siblings were: Thomas Peter (b. 1888), Annie (b. 1893), John James (b. 1894) and Bartholomew Hugh (1895-1914) whilst another sibling, a brother, died in infancy. The family were Roman Catholic.
He first appears on the 1901 census living with his family at 8 Cross Lane in Rosscarbery, a small town in west Co Cork located about 40 miles from Cork City. His father later fell out of favour with the Royal Irish Constabulary and was described as "superannuated" by the time of the 1911 census; although not certain why, his discharge was perhaps due to his own and his wider family's perceived Irish Republican political leanings in an Ireland which, at the time, was on the knife-edge of an ethnoreligious civil war. The family were making their home in Cork City in 1911 and the census records them as residents of 12 Old Market Place where William's parents ran a grocery store as well as his father working as a railway policeman. William, who was unmarried, was described as a barman and he was employed at W. F. O'Callaghan's at Daunt Square.
William Doherty [sic], 12 Old Market Place, employed by Messrs W.F. O’Callaghan, Daunt’s Square, and Timothy O’Brien2, billiard marker at the Oyster Tavern. - Cork Examiner, 17 April 1912
William purchased a ticket for Titanic from an acquaintance (ticket number 330877 which cost £8, 9s, 2d) and boarded the ship at Queenstown on 11 April 1912 as a third-class passenger, his exact destination in the US is unknown. He travelled under the name of the ticket's original owner, James Moran.
William Doherty died in the disaster and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
In sad and loving memory of William J. O'Doherty, 12. Old Market Place, who lost his life in the Titanic disaster on April 15th, 1912. On his soul Sweet Jesus, have mercy. (Inserted by his fond parents, brothers and sister). - Cork Examiner, 15 April 1916
His family largely remained in Cork; his father died there in 1926 and his mother in 1933.