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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Coleman family come from? What is the Irish Coleman family crest and coat of arms? When did the Coleman family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Coleman family history?

While the Anglicized versions of Irish names are familiar to most people, many Irish names have a long and proud Gaelic heritage that is often unknown. The Coleman surname stems from two distinct Gaelic names O'Clúmháin, derived from the Irish root "clúmh," meaning "down," or "feathers," and from O Colmain, derived the Latin word "columba," which means "dove."

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The spelling of names in Ireland during the Middle Ages was rarely consistent. This inconsistency was due to the scribes and church officials' attempts to record orally defined names in writing. The common practice of recording names as they sounded resulted in spelling variations such as Colman, Coleman, O'Colman, MacColeman, McColeman, Coalman, Coulman, Colemen, Colmen, Coalmen, Colmin, Colmen, Coulmen, Coulmin, Colemin and many more.

First found in County Sligo (Irish: Sligeach), in the province of Connacht in Northwestern Ireland, where they were a sept of O'Colmain, a branch of Hy Fiachrach.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coleman research. Another 312 words(22 lines of text) covering the year 1172 is included under the topic Early Coleman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Coleman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many destitute Irish families in the 18th and 19th centuries decided to leave their homeland, which had in many ways been scarred by English colonial rule. One of the most frequent destinations for these families was North America where it was possible for an Irish family to own their own parcel of land. Many of the early settlers did find land awaiting them in British North America, or even later in America, but for the majority of immigrants that arrived as a result of the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s the ownership of land was often a long way off. These Irish people were initially put to work on such industrial projects as the building of bridges, canals, and railroads, or they worked at manufacturing positions within factories. Whenever they arrived, the Irish made enormous contributions to the infant nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the earliest immigrants to bearer the name of Coleman were found through extensive research of immigration and passenger lists:

  • Thomas Coleman, who arrived in America from Marlborough in Wiltshire, England

Coleman Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Coleman, who landed in America in 1630
  • Katherine Coleman, who arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Joseph Coleman, who arrived in America in 1637
  • Thomas Coleman settled in Newbury, and later Boston, Massachusetts. He was under contract, but not indentured to Sir Richard Saltonstall, to keep his cattle. He was negligent and unfaithful, as the court ruled, but, strangely a year later in 1637. he was admitted a freeman
  • Joseph Coleman and his wife Sara and four children settled in New England in 1637


Coleman Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Rota Coleman, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Robt Coleman, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Geo Coleman, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Philip Coleman, aged 50, landed in Pennsylvania in 1740
  • Margaret Coleman, who landed in Virginia in 1744


Coleman Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Bartholomew Coleman was a proprietor and occupier of fishing rooms at Trinity in 1800
  • Isaac, Coleman Jr., who arrived in America in 1803
  • John Coleman, who landed in America in 1804
  • Mrs. Coleman, who landed in New York NY in 1812
  • Daniel Coleman, who arrived in Long Island in 1812


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  • James Plemon Coleman (1914-1991), American politician, Governor of Mississippi from 1956 to 1960
  • Dabney Wharton Coleman (b. 1932), American Golden Globe Award, Primetime Emmy Award and two-time Screen Actors Guild Award winning actor
  • William Coffin Coleman (1870-1957), American founder of the "Coleman" camping gear company in 1902
  • Mary Sue Coleman Ph.D. (b. 1943), American scientist and educator and the 13th President of the University of Michigan (2002-)
  • Norman Bertram "Norm" Coleman Jr. (b. 1949), American politician, Mayor of St. Paul Minnesota (1994-2002) and a United States Senator (2003-2009)
  • Cy Coleman (1929-2004), American composer, songwriter, and jazz pianist who won (or was nominated for) 19 Tony awards, 3 Emmys, and two Grammys
  • Ornette Coleman (b. 1930), American saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer awarded the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for music
  • Sidney Richard Coleman (1937-2007), eminent American theoretical physicist
  • Elizabeth "Bessie" Coleman (1892-1926), first African American to become a licensed airplane pilot and she was the first American of any race or gender to hold an international pilot license
  • William Thaddeus Coleman Jr. (b. 1920), American attorney and politician, 4th United States Secretary of Transportation (1975-1977), 2nd African American to serve in the Cabinet, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

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  • Coleman Family History by George Simpson.
  • Colemans of Greene County: a Bit of Alabama History by Stephen Beasley Coleman.
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  1. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Woodham-Smith, Cecil. The Great Hunger Ireland 1845-1849. New York: Old Town Books, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-385-3).
  5. Donovan, George Francis. The Pre-Revolutionary Irish in Massachusetts 1620-1775. Menasha, WI: Geroge Banta Publsihing Co., 1932. Print.
  6. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  7. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of Ireland. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1969. Print.
  10. MacLysaght, Edward. Mores Irish Familes. Dublin: Irish Academic, 1982. Print. (ISBN 0-7165-0126-0).
  11. ...

The Coleman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Coleman Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 June 2014 at 10:47.

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