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I live near Toronto in Canada and am descended from a Great Grandfather (John Coleman) who came here from Ireland (by way of England) in 1879. He was born between 1845 and 1850.
We believe he was from Ballaghaderreen, County Roscommon but before 1898 it was in County Mayo. He was a RIC policeman in Ireland 1866 to 1872 and we think he was the only child of Michael Coleman, a farmer. We don’t know his mother’s name or if he had siblings. We assume, since we know of no siblings and she isn’t in census records, that she died in childbirth for John. It was during the famine years so it’s very possible.
John was a police officer in Ireland (RIC), near Galway then later in Liverpool and then Yorkshire (1877-79) before marrying Anne Eliza Shaw from Yorkshire (Muston) in Jan 1879 and emigrating to Simcoe ON in Canada in June 1879. His firstborn was my grandfather William Francis Coleman in Nov 1879. My father was William Michael Coleman and his brother was John Redmond Coleman (both born in Montreal 1911 and 1918). We think perhaps the name William and middle names Francis and Redmond may be honouring ancestors of John and Michael, perhaps one is the maiden name of his mother. My father used both names for my brothers.
We do know that John went to Ireland one last time, presumably to tend to his dying father for the last 3 months in 1903. (Oct to Dec). John resigned from the Montreal police force in order to make the trip.
Michael likely died in December 1903 before John’s return. In one of his RIC police records John stated he had previously worked for a James Coleman – as a Labourer (probably farming) and James was very possibly another relative. We don’t know anything about parish names or townlands. He did seem to spell the town name as “Ballaghaderine” and we thought this was a mis-spell or from Gaelic.
Here's a really confusing fact – John’s headstone in Montreal reads “A Native of County Clare Ireland”. His RIC police paperwork indicates Ballaghadereen (erine) as his birthplace in Ireland.
We think his widow made an error on the tombstone but there is no way to know. A search of County Clare records did not yield any success. Maybe on his deathbed Michael told John he was actually born in County Clare? Our best hope is that a DNA connection to a resident of Ballaghadereen would provide conclusive info on Michael, his wife and their respective ancestors. I’m still hoping this happens since public records haven’t helped.
Would appreciate any info you can provide, perhaps from church records. It’s my understanding that before 1864 the birth records were kept only by the church, not the civic authority. Hopefully you can find a John and Michael Coleman in the right time period and can fill in any blanks for me”.
If a current "Coleman" in that area is a member of the Ancestry website or has any relatives that are members please let me know their names. I can try to find them in there and work backward to see if we have common family tree links or distant DNA connections.
George Coleman


Tuesday 8th Mar 2022, 10:02PM

Message Board Replies

  • George:

    The baptismal records for the RC parish of Castlemore and Kilcolman (Ballaghaderreen) start in November 1851 although marriage records start in August 1830  so I don't believe will will find a baptismal record for John Coleman. The earliest Michael Coleman marriage record in the parish was in 1852.

    The surname Coleman was fairly common in the Ballaghaderreen area. There were 24 Coleman households in Kilcolman civil parish in the 1901 census. I don't see an older Michael Coleman and I did not find a civil death record for a Michael Coleman in the area in 1903. Are you sure hed ied in 1903?

    There was a Michael Coleman who died in 1897 (see fourth record). He lived in Hawksford which is about 4 miles outside Ballaghaderreen. A daughter Mary was the informant.…

    My grandmother was from just outside of Ballaghaderren but she emigrated in 1906 to Philadelphia. I do not have any Colemans in my line.

    Roger McDonnell

    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 9th Mar 2022, 01:27AM
  • Roger McDonnell

    Thank you very much for your reply.  To answer your question re Michael dying in 1903 - Not 100% sure but I'd say 99% sure.

    First - if your 1897 death of a Michael Coleman is correct then John returned in 1903 only to see a sister Mary and any other sibling.  But John quit/retired from his job in Montreal to do so.  Unlikely unless someone else was dying.  You say you couldn't find a Michael dying in late 1903.  I found one, right nearby Ballaghaderreen on Dec 3rd, 1903 recorded on Dec 26th. son "Edward" was present when farmer Michael passed in Claremorris.  He was senile.  See attachment.    John arrived in October.

    We've never heard of an Edward so we can't be sure this is our Michael but John returned to Canada in early Dec 1903 and because he quit his job we think it was more likely to say goodbye to his father.  If you could kindly explore this trail for us we feel it would likely be more promising.  The only other record of Michael we've found is on John's Marriage Certificate from East Yorkshire UK in Jan 1879 simply stating his father was Michael, occupation Farmer.  We don't know if John even had siblings for sure but would love to know. 


    Wednesday 16th Mar 2022, 08:05PM
  • George:

    I restricted my death record search to the Castlerea registration district which includes Ballaghaderreen, Castlerea and surrounding townlands.

    The record you located was in the Claremorris registration distrcit. Ballynew is 26 miles from Ballaghaderreen.


    Castlemore Roscommon, IrelandXO Volunteer ☘

    Wednesday 16th Mar 2022, 11:47PM
  • Roger

    Ok, I think I understand now.  Registration districts are an unfamiliar concept here so we assumed a short distance like 26 miles might be within the same metropoltan district as it would be here.  Does this mean no further records exist or that we should be looking elsewhere?  I know Ballaghaderreen was once part of Mayo and am never sure which county we should actually search for the years prior to the shift over to Roscommon.  We think if we can find out more about this 1903 Michael or the 1897 Michael we may be able to confirm if one of them fathered a "John" in that geographical area betwen 1845 and 1850 and from there determine his spouse' name and any other info to trace back.   We haven't had luck doing so online but we don't have access to the sources you must have and woud appreciate any guidance or recommendations. 



    Friday 18th Mar 2022, 04:48AM

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