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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: English, Irish

Where did the Irish Coleman family come from? 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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Numerous spelling variations of the surname Coleman exist. A partial explanation for these variants is that ancient scribes and church officials recorded names as they were pronounced, often resulting in a single person being recorded under several different spellings. Different spellings that were found include 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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Irish families began to immigrate to British North America and the United States in the 18th century, but the greatest influx of Irish immigrants came during the Great Potato Famine of the late 1840s. The earlier settlers came to North America after a great deal of consideration and by paying relatively high fees for their passage. These settlers were primarily drawn by the promise of land. Those later settlers that came during the 1840's were trying to escape the conditions of poverty, starvation, disease, and death that had stricken Ireland. Due to the enormity of their numbers and the late date of their arrival, these immigrants primarily became hired laborers instead of homesteading settlers like their predecessors. An exhaustive search of immigration and passenger lists has revealed many Irish immigrants North America bearing the name Coleman:

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

Coleman Settlers in 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 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 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


Coleman Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Wm Coleman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Bartw Coleman, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Bartholomew Coleman, who arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1754

Coleman Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Andrew Coleman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1806
  • Patrick Coleman from Lismore, county Waterford, Ireland, settled in St. John's in 1811
  • Joanna Coleman, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Patrick Coleman, aged 19, an apothecary, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the barque "Independence" from Kinsale
  • Bartholomew Coleman, aged 24, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1833 aboard the ship "Hibernia" from Kinsale


Coleman Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Emma Sophia Coleman arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Winchester" in 1838
  • Jeremiah Coleman arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hooghly" in 1846
  • William Coleman arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "David Malcolm" in 1848
  • Samuel Coleman arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Royal George" in 1848
  • John Coleman, aged 39, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Samuel Boddington" in 1849


Coleman Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • J Coleman landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Indemnity
  • Thomas Coleman landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • Thomas Coleman, aged 35, a baker, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • Rebecca Coleman, aged 36, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842
  • James Coleman, aged 15, a baker, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Martha Ridgway" in 1842


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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. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  2. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Johnson, Daniel F. Irish Emigration to New England Through the Port of Saint John, New Brunswick Canada 1841-1849. Baltimore, Maryland: Clearfield, 1996. Print.
  5. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Somerset Fry, Peter and Fiona Somerset Fry. A History of Ireland. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1993. Print. (ISBN 1-56619-215-3).
  9. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  10. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 18 March 2015 at 15:02.

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