Coleman Family History
Searching for Colemans
My first attempts at finding the Coleman Family started earler with a query on the Discussion Forum,
using information supplied by Garry Coleman ...
I am trying to find my Grandfather John Henry Coleman.
Working backwards: He died around 1924 ± 1, "in his 40's", so he was probably
born in 1880 ± 5. My only other information, is that he was a journeyman
chimney sweep and married (probably about 1912) a Florence MOORE.
His father was born in Germany and changed his name from KALNUNG to COLEMAN
(before or after the marriage ? - we don't know !) - His mother was born in
I've tried the 1881 census, where there are a lot of John Colemans, but none
of them seems to fit the data. Could somebody please check the 1891 or 1901
census for me, please.
... which brings me the following reply:
Hi there Bob
773 John Colemans !
There are 773 people on the 1891 census on line with the name John Coleman -
of those only 1 bears the name John Henry Coleman, but he is 18 and lives in
Somerset with father Joseph and family (father states he was born in Somerset
not germany). - so obviously too old for your J H Coleman
I searched for any Colemans born in Germany - zilch
Searched for the surname Kalnung born in Germany - zilch
Searched for Kallnung born anywhere - zilch
Not getting very far are we at the moment!
Do you have any further info at all - just one little thing to narrow those
773 people down a bit?
--- Looks like we have to do this the hard way !
The next step is to search the Birth, Marriage and Death (BMD) Indexes. These
are the lists of all BMD certificates issued, since compulsory registration was
introduced in 1837. Previously held at "Somerset House", these indexes can
now be searched on the Internet at
For each year there are 4 quarterly indexes, and the only search possibility*
is the first three letters of the surname ! The index list a name, a place
and a Volume Number. That's all ! If you think you have the right person,
you then have to buy the certificate, to find out !
(*Since writing this, the search facility has been extended to
the full surname.)
The first search finds
- a death certificate for a Florence Coleman, died in Lambeth,1925
(I was surprised, at first, how many Florence Colemans there are in the indexes. Further
reflection supplied a (possible) reason:
Florence Moore was born in the second half of the 19th.
was a big hero then, and who knows how
many girls were christened Florence, in her honour !)
I buy the certificates, and discover, that Florence Coleman died in 105 Oakley Street, Lambeth;
Garry confirms the address, so these are definitely the right ones.
Searching and searching, but I cannot find a death certificate for John Henry
Coleman ! However, I do find .....
- a death certificate for a Henry G. Coleman, died in Lambeth,1930
--- could this be the Grandfather ??
- a birth certificate for a Joseph William Coleman, born in Lambeth, 1920
--- Garry's brother, maybe ??
Only one way to find out, buy the certificates !
Results ? -- win one, lose one !
Joseph William is Garry's brother, but Henry G. has nothing to do with our family !
Keep on searching ! Nothing in 1930, let's try 1931, and ... what do we have here ?
- a death certificate for a John H. Coleman, died in Lambeth,1931
Buy the certificate and wait for it to be delivered ....
Yippee, it's the right John Henry Coleman ! He died aged 43, so he must have
been born in 1887/1888, depending on whether his birthday was before or after
"Person reporting the Death" is "Father, Henry F. Coleman" !
Armed with this information, I go to the online 1901 Census and
look for John Colemans, aged 13. I find several ! -- which one is "ours" ? Add to the list
all Colemans, 40 years old plus/minus 10 years, and sort by page number.
Using the free access in the 1901 Census I can only search for names, not households,
but I can sort my findings by page number. If there weren't too many Colemans living
in the same house, then I can assume that any Colemans entered on the same page were a family.
I find a family of three, living in St. John, London. I start a new search,
"any Colemans living in St John", sort them by page number and find a family of four ....
A further request to RootsChat for a census-lookup in 1901 and 1891
brings me the following information for the 1901 census ...
| 1901 Census: RG13/ 91/ Folio 62/ Page 10
Dwelling: 14/15 St Johns Close?,
St John, London
|Coleman ||Henry ||Head ||38||(1863)||London Stepney ||Parkkeeper |
|Coleman ||Rose ||Wife ||38||(1863)||Cambs. Upwell || |
|Coleman ||John ||Son ||13||(1888)||London Shepherds Bush || |
|Coleman ||Dora ||Daughter||10||(1891)||London Marylebone || |
|McKenna ||John ||Visitor ||19||(1882)||London Lambeth ||Bookbinder |
Garry confirms, that this is indeed his family: "that's my Auntie
Dora, she used to ... "
for more of his reminiscences)
And for 1891:
Had a good look on the 1891 census on Ancestry.com with limited success.
773 John Coleman's
84 Rose Coleman's - only 2 born in Cambridgeshire.
Nill - Dora Coleman's
340 Henry Coleman's.
But as far as I could find - none all living together.
But this could help explain that (see below):
Nora / Dora could be the same, having just been born and still in
hospital with mum - but where is Henry & John.
A search on their ages does not put the two together anywhere.
Which gives us ...
| 1891 Census: RG12/ 97/ Folio 166/ Page 4
Dwelling: Queen Charlotte's Lying In Hospital
Census Place: Marylebone, London.
|Coleman||Rose ||Patient ||29 ||(1863)||Wisbech, Cambs.|
|Coleman||Nora ||Patient ||9dys||(1891)|
My guess: Mum-Rose is in hospital, Dad-Henry has to cope with a 3 yr. old John Henry
and his job, so he and J.H. are staying with friends or relatives !
We now have the names of Garry's grandparents: Henry F. and Rose Coleman
On the Web-Site freeBMD there is a record of a marriage in 1887 between a
Henry Frederick Coleman and a Rose Elvina Breeze. Also, on The International
Genealogical Index of the Mormon Church (a transcription of church registers),
there is a birth and baptism record for a Rose Elvina Breeze, in 1859.
Date of Birth doesn't tally with the census data, but she may not have wanted
to appear too much older than her spouse !
Could these be the grandparents ?
The marriage certificate itself won't tell us, but the birth certificates of John Henry
and Dora might give us more information. So, I order them and wait ...
The certificates are here, and, in both cases,
- Father: Henry Frederick Coleman,
- Mother: Rose Elvina Coleman, born Breeze
we can order the marriage certificate ! This arrives and tells us:
- Father of the Groom: Henry Frederick Coleman (deceased), Postmaster.
- Father of the Bride: John Breeze (deceased), Farmer.