The Coleman Genealogy

In this page you will find a short statement that gives you a general view of our family history. It comprises a summary of headings and short paragraphs organised to give you an outline of the whole story. For those of you not interested in history, it will stand as enough for now at least, but for all others it will present a meagre outline of much more interesting things to come in the pages ahead. On a few occasions when describing to others how our family history will also include a number of articles on important events in Irish history, I have been reminded that 'such things are best forgotten' or that 'we must put those things behind us and not dwell on the past'. My problem with those types of comments is that they are invariably used to cover up one's own ignorance of history or are used as an excuse by others who don't want us to know about such things for whatever reason.

I feel it's reasonable to assert that if you want to really understand the present, you must try to understand the past. What has happened in the past has determined in no insignificant way what and where we are today. By way of analogy, to clearly understand the workings of the modern motor, you need to embrace the history and science of its development. In other words, you need to acquaint yourself with the language and thought processes involved in its evolution. The same thinking applies to all other situations whether cultural, historical, religious or scientific. How can you be expected, for example, to understand your religion without knowing the history of its development?

As a teacher for some forty years, I was ever so conscious of the fact that if students didn't have the words and language acquired through exposure to certain situations and events, they just didn't have the ideas. This is much the same as saying that their capacity to think and the quality of their thinking are commensurate with the quality of their language. Carry this through to its logical conclusion and you can have some people whose thinking capacity is virtually non existent leaving them inadequately prepared to cope with life. I believe that you can cope much better with life or at least it has a lot more meaning for you if you have that understanding of yourself which only a knowledge of your history can provide.

We begin by taking a brief look at the political and social structures of Celtic Ireland when our ancestor, Eochaidh Muigh Meadhoin (OH-he Muee -Moyvone), became Ard-Rí, the 124th Monarch of Ireland, in 357 AD.

Celtic Ireland was divided into a number of small kingdoms or tuatha (TOO-ha), with the number gradually increasing to about one hundred and fifty by the turn of the seventh century AD, and each ruled by a king or rí (REE). A number of these rulers were also over-kings, receiving tribute from neighbouring kings. There were also kings of provinces, and a high king, or ard-rí of all Ireland. The two pivotal institutions of the time were the fine (FEEN-eh) or joint-family which was the social unit, and the tuath (TOO-eh) or petty kingdom- the political unit. The fine included all relations in the male line of descent for five generations and in it was vested the ultimate ownership of family land, fintiu (FEEN-chew).

Initially Ireland was divided into the so-called 'five fifths of Ireland'. These corresponded to the present provinces of Ulster, Connacht, Munster and Leinster, except that north Leinster formed the Middle Kingdoms or the ancient Irish territories of Mide (Mee-de) and Brega or Breagh (Breh), which roughly equate to the modern counties of Meath and Westmeath.

There was no system of primogeniture. Land was shared equally between brothers but the head of the senior line of descendants was the cenn fine (CAN), who represented the family.

In royal families, each king was elected from a small group of people, known as the geilfhine (GAYL-fee-ne) or derbfine (also deirbfhine) as often called, and comprising the male descendants of a common great-grandfather, four generations in all. A tánaiste rí (TAWN-ish-teh) or heir-apparent was usually elected during the king's lifetime.
Beneath the king were the nobles or flaithi. The highest grade of nobleman or the aire tuise(AH-reh CHEW-sheh) was the toisech (TEE-shock) or chief of a large group of aristocratic kinsmen known as a cenél (ken-ALE).

The áes dána (AWS DAW-na), the 'men of art', constituted the most important element of early Irish society and comprised the learned classes, the poets, the brehons, the historians and genealogists as well as the musicians, and the skilled craftsmen.
The brehons (BREH-huns) were professional lawyers, who had drawn up a very elaborate scheme of the different degrees of relationships, and when disputes arose, it was to them that people turned as arbitrators, for there was no public enforcement of law.

The filidh (FEE-lee) were more than poets. In addition to composing and reciting poetry they were custodians of the history, mythology and genealogy of the Celts.

Next came the freemen, the tillers of the soil, usually bound by contract to a nobleman. Under this contract, which could be terminated by either party, the nobleman provided protection and lent the freeman cattle to graze his land, receiving in return a rent which might consist of sacks of wheat or malt and possibly a salted pig or a young calf.(i)

(i). While the information here is derived from a number of sources, the main two are a brilliant book entitled "Early Irish Contract Law" by Dr Neil 
             McLeod and "The Course of Irish History" edited by TW Moody and FX Martin.

This then was the political and social structure when Eochaidh Muigh Meadhoin (OH-he Muee -Moyvone) became Ard-Rí, the 124th Monarch of Ireland, in 357 AD. He had five sons, Brian, Fiachra, Oliol, Fergus and Niall. From his sons sprang the powerful Uí Néill (EE-NALE), Uí Bríuín (EE-BREEN), and Uí Fiachrach (FEE-kra) line of kings of Ireland, Ulster, Midhe, and Connacht for the next 700 years. From Fiachra and Brian were descended the two most dominant dynasties of Connacht, the Uí (EE) Fiachrach and Uí Bríuín Dynasties. Fiachra's descendants gave their name to Tír-Fiachra (Cheer-FEE-krah) in north east Connacht, known today as Tireragh (CHEER-rah) in County Sligo but also included back then parts of north-east County Mayo.


Niall was himself a powerful prince of the Connachta and became the 126th Monarch of Ireland in 378 AD. Nine tuatha around the northern capital of Emhain Macha (EV-n MOK-ha) put themselves under the protection of Niall and formed a federation called the Airgialla (eerGEE-lah) -'the hostage-givers' - from whom Niall got the epiteth of Noígiallach (Nine Hostages) - Niall of the Nine Hostages. His descendants took the dynastic name of Uí Néill. Two of his sons, Eoghan (Owen) and Conall conquered north-west Ulster and founded there the great Northern Uí Néill Dynasty with its capital at Aileach, and the others ruled in Mide and Brega as the equally powerful Southern Uí Néill Dynasty. Almost without interruption Niall's descendants were considered the high kings of Ireland for 600 years with the position alternating between the Northern and Southern Uí Néill Dynasties.


While Fiachra's son, Dathi (DAH-hee), succeeded Niall of the Nine Hostages in 405 as Ard-Rí (High King), It was Niall's son, Laeghaire (Lah-HEE-reh), as the 128 Monarch of Ireland who received St. Patrick at Tara in 432, an event that led to the conversion of Ireland to Christianity. He chose Ard Macha (Armagh) close to Emhain Macha, the great hill fort once occupied by the Gaelic kings of Ulster, as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland. As the gospel spread, more and more people wanted to dedicate their lives to God. In this rural society there were no great towns or cities where they could join together in prayer and contemplation, and so monasteries quickly came into existence.

From Columba (Latin 'dove') and Columbanus ('little dove') to Columhán, Columáin, Colmáin (Kole-mawn) - the
Irish for Columba and Columbanus and the Celtic Latin origin of the surname Coleman.

The collapse of the Roman Empire meant that communication with the mother church was impaired, and the Celtic Church in Ireland developed its own separate character and rites. While a number of monasteries existed before then, the first Irish monastery to become famous was founded by St Enda on the Aran Islands at the end of the fifth century. St Finnian founded Clonard early in the sixth century. He became known as the 'teacher of the saints of Ireland', for twelve of his pupils, often referred to as the 'twelve apostles of Ireland', founded a number of important monasteries. They included ones by St Columcille, or St Columba the name under which he usually appears in accounts written outside Ireland, at Derry, Durrow, Kells and at 38 other places, all by the time he had reached the age of forty-one. In fact by the time of Columcille's death in May of 597, sixty monastic communities had been founded in his name in Scotland alone.


St Columcille (Columba) was the greatest Irish figure after St Patrick. He was born and baptised Crimthann (Fox) at Gartan, County Donegal, in 521. He was prince of Clan Conaill of Tir-Conaill and direct descendant of Niall of the Nine Hostages whose son Conall had founded this dynasty. It was during his days of study under St. Finian of Moville (Co. Down) that he was given the monastic nickname of Columcille or Dove of the Church, Columba being the Latin for dove, and Cille the Irish for Church.


As Irish monasteries had quickly attracted thousands of foreign students, the Irish monastic tradition began to spread beyond Ireland and, as the learned Thomas Cahill puts it in 'How the Irish Saved Civilisation', "Columcille's reputation spread like wildfire". The other Columba, Columbanus, following in the steps of the great Columcille, left the monastic community of Bangor for the continent in 590, just seven years before Columcille's death.


The fact that there are thousands of references in ancient manuscripts and books with over a thousand in the "Annals of the Four Masters" alone to monks, abbots, bishops, clans and kings with the name Columhán, Columáin, Colmáin (Kol-mawn) - the Irish for the latin Columba (Dove) and Columbanus (little dove) - and also that there are well over a hundred Irish saints of this name attest to the popularity of the two Columbas. While this symbol of peace was a very popular choice as a religious name among those turning to the gentler ways of the church from the earlier Irish warrior society, it was also adopted as a clan name by cousins of Columcille in both the Southern Uí Néill (Middle Kingdoms) and Uí Fiachrach (Connacht) Dynasties.

Uí Fiachrach Dynasty
Southern Uí Néill Dynasty
Mide and Brega

Uí Fiachrach had two main branches, one in the north of that province, the Uí Fiachrach Mauide, and the other in the south, the Uí Fiachrach Aidne which also dominated much of north Munster in the 7th century.

  The Southern Uí Néill were the leading dynasties in the Middle Kingdoms from the 5th century up to the arrivals of the Normans in the 12th century with Clann Cholmáin (Clan Coleman) playing a prominent role.
The Colmáin sept belonged to the Uí Fiachrach Mauide branch and were chiefs or princes of Tireragh until the arrival of the Anglo-Norman families in this area in the early thirteenth century. The sept had its ancient headquarters in the townland of Grangemore, parish of Templeboy, County Sligo. Columhán of this sept was the 10th Christian King of Connacht, and ancestor of the Colmáin (Coleman) families. He was slain in 622 by Rogallach mac Uatach of the Uí Briuin at the battle of Cenn Bugo (Cambo, Co. Roscommon).

Uí Fiachrach and Uí Bríuín Dynasties


The Uí Fiachrach and Uí Bríuín, to which all the rulers of Connacht from the 5th to the 12th centuries belonged, had their power disrupted by the Anglo-Norman settlement of the mid 12th century and seriously curtailed in 1227 when the English king Henry III granted Connacht to the Norman baron Richard de Burgh (or de Burgo).


As counties were formed, they were divided into baronies formed out of the territories of the Irish chiefs who were gradually forced to submit to English rule. County Mayo had nine baronies when it was created and named in 1595 AD. and by then there was a branch of the Colmáin sept (Ó Colmáin) in most of its baronies including the barony of Kilmaine which had been formed from the ancient territories of Conmaicne Quiltola.


My Great Great Great Grandfather,
DANIEL COLEMAN (1744 - 1818), ancestor of all the Colemans on this web site, lived and worked in the townland of Turloughmore* (Caherheamus) in the parish of Kilmolara* which was in the barony of Kilmaine. The records of the time show that he received a grant of four spinning wheels from the Linen Board in 1796. This indicates that our Coleman family was established in Turloughmore, Kilmolara, from at least that time. He married (wife unknown) and had two sons, PETER AND PATRICK.
*Click on name for further information

14. My Great Great Grandfather,
*PATRICK COLEMAN (1775 - 1860) held a house, out-office and approx. 161/2 acres of land in1856(1). He married and had issue:
  I. My Great Grandfather,
*JOHN COLEMAN (born 1809, died 15 March 1892 aged 83 years)(2) married Catherine Heskin (born 1831, alive 1901 aged 70 years)(3) and had issue:
  A. Winifred Coleman married Martin Hughes, (born circa 1857), a farmer of Bullaun, son of Patrick Hughes, a farmer, in The Neale RC church on 26 July 1895 (witnesses: Redmond Walsh and Bridget Coleman).(4) They had issue:
  i Mary Hughes, born 9 February 1897,(5) baptised 9 March 1897 (sponsors: Michael Hughes and Bridget Coleman).(6) She resided with her grandmother in 1901.(7)
  ii Patrick Hughes, baptised 25 April 1899 (sponsors: John Coleman and Bridget Farragher).(8)
  iii Sabina Hughes, baptised 18 April 1903 (sponsors: Peter Hughes and Bridget Conry).(9)
  iv Bridget Hughes, baptised 23 October 1904 (sponsors: Thomas Reilly and Mrs. Farragher).(10)
  B. My Grandfather,
*JOHN COLEMAN (born 1859, died 14 January 1932 in Cahermaculick, Shrule) resided with his mother in 1901 age understated as "30" years.(11) He married 1901 Mary Davoren (died 22 January 1932) of Inishmacatreer in St. Mary's Church, Claran, Co. Galway on 25 May 1901 and had issue:
  i *MARY COLEMAN , born 8 June 1902, baptised 10 June 1902
(sponsors: James Davoren and Margaret Holleran).(12)
My Father
ii *PATRICK JOSEPH COLEMAN, born 25 August 1903, baptised 29 August 1903 (sponsors: James Davoren and Margaret Holleran).(13)
  iii Bridget Coleman, born 30 January 1905, baptised 31 January 1905 (sponsors: John Davoren and Margaret Holleran).(14)
  iv *JOHN JOSEPH COLEMAN, baptised 25 February 1906 (sponsors: James Davoren and Margaret Halloran).(15)
  v *JAMES JOSEPH COLEMAN, born 13 February 1909, baptised 14 February 1909 (sponsors: James Davoren and Margaret Halloran).(16)

1. General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland, "Griffith's Valuation", Union of Ballinrobe, p. 133
2. Ballinrobe district, deaths, vol. 9. P. 75.
3. 1901 census, district electoral division of Neale, townland of Caherhemush, house no. 4
4. Ballinrobe district, RC marriages, vol. 12, p. 33.
5. Cong district, births, vol. 1 1, p. 49.
6. Kilmaine RC parish, baptisms, vol. 2, p. 104.
7. 1901 census, district electoral division of Neale, townland of Caherhemush, house no. 4.
8. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 83.
9. Kilmaine RC parish, baptisms, vo. 2, p. 143.
10. Kilmaine RC parish, baptisms, vo. 2, p. 153.
11. 1901 census, district electoral division of Neale, townland of Caherhemush, house no. 4.
12. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 93.
13. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 97.
14. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 107.
15. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 105.
16. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 114

  C. Bridget Coleman, baptised 6 January 1873 (sponsors: Patrick Coleman and Bridget Heskin). She married Patrick Vahey of Mucrossaun, son of Patrick Vahey and Ellen Rochford on 10 March 1901 (witnesses: Michael Heskin and Margaret Heskin).(17) They resided in Mucrossaun and had-issue:
  i Bridget Vahey, born 13 January 1902, baptised 14 January 1902 (sponsors: John Coleman and Catherine Casey).(18)
  ii Mary Vahey, born 21 March 1903, baptised 22 March 1903
(sponsors: John Heskin and Margaret Heskin).(19)
  iii Ellen Vahey, baptised 7 April 1904 (sponsors: Patrick Farragher and Mary Farragher).(20)
  iv Michael Vahey, baptised 13 December 1906 (sponsors: Martin Casey and Bridget Malley).(21)
  v Catherine Vahey, born 30 December 1907, baptised 31December 1907 (sponsors: Patrick Vahey and Bridget vahey).(22)

Catherine Anne Vahey, baptised 29 September 1909
(sponsors: Patrick Farragher and Julia Heskin).(23)

  vii John Vahey, baptised 26 January 1911 (sponsors: James Malley and Bridget Coleman). He married 20 January 19- to Anne Feerick of Kilconly.(24)
  viii Anthony Vahey, baptised 8 April 1912 (sponsors: Michael Farragher and Bridget Hoban).(25)
  ix Patrick Vahey, baptised 11 April 1915 (sponsors: Patrick Farragher and E.Malley).(26)
  D. Patrick Coleman, a labourer, born circa 1855/1858, died unmarried on 24 January / 20 February 1891 aged 33/36 years.(27)

17. Cong RC church, baptisms, vol. 2, p. 16 with note of marriage appended and Cong RC parish, marriages, vol. 1, p. 29.
18. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 92.
19. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 96.
20. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 99.
21. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 104.
22. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 1 10.
23. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 116.
24. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 12 1.
25. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 125.
26. Cong RC parish, baptisms, vol. 1, p. 132.
27. Ballinrobe district, deaths, vol. 9, p. 36 - age given as 33 years and date of death as 21 January 189I- and gravestone inscription no. 55 Kilmolara cemetery "O Lord have mercy / on the soul of / Patrick Coleman / who died on the 20th of February 1891 / aged 36 years / R.I.P. / Erected by his cousin / Mary Coleman / U.S.A. /"

Group 14. 1. B. i. ii. iii. iv. v. above are developed further to show all branches to the present.  For your branch and family tree go to your place or country of residence in the Index , click on it to open it and then click on your name.

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