What is the origin of the last name Coleman?

The last name Coleman has its origin in the medieval English occupational surname "coleman," meaning a person involved in the trade of coal. This surname can be traced back to the Middle English word "cole," which refers to coal, and the suffix "man," denoting a person. The name likely originated from an ancestor who worked as a coal merchant or miner. Over time, variations of the name Coleman have emerged, including Colman and Colemen, as it spread throughout English-speaking regions and eventually beyond.

Countries of origin for the last name Coleman

Derived from the Old English personal name “Cola,” meaning “swarthy” or “coal-black,” the surname Coleman has a long history and varied origins. The name can be traced back to the early medieval period in England. It is predominantly found in English-speaking countries, particularly in the United States.

One possible origin of the surname Coleman is as an occupational name. It may have originally referred to someone who was involved in the trade of burning and selling charcoal. In this context, “Coleman” could be seen as a modification of the Old English word “col,” meaning “coal.” Alternatively, it may have denoted someone who was responsible for taking care of a coal merchant’s interests or working in a coal mine.

Another possible origin of the name is as a patronymic surname, indicating descent from a man named Cola. It was common in the Middle Ages for surnames to be formed in this way, using the prefix “son” or “s” to indicate “son of” or “descendant of.” Thus, “son of Cola” would have eventually evolved into the surname Coleman.

Historical records suggest that the surname Coleman first appeared in written form in the late 13th century. In early records, variations in spelling were common, with Coleman being written as Colman, Colmane, Colement, and other variants. Over time, the spelling standardized to Coleman.

The surname Coleman has been prominent in various parts of the United States since colonial times. It can be found in significant numbers in states such as Texas, California, Florida, and New York. This distribution reflects the pattern of immigration and settlement in the country, with early English and Irish immigrants giving rise to the surname’s prevalence in certain regions.

In addition to English-speaking countries, the surname Coleman is also found in other parts of the world. It can be found in Ireland, where it is often of Irish origin, derived from the Gaelic name “Ó Colmáin.” This variant may have different etymological roots compared to the English version, although both ultimately derive from personal name origins.

While the origins and meanings of the surname Coleman have been extensively researched and documented, it is essential to acknowledge that there may still exist unexplored possibilities and uncertainties. Genealogy and historical research continuously unveil new insights and connections, and the full story of the surname Coleman may not have been entirely uncovered. Nevertheless, the available evidence provides a comprehensive understanding of the name’s origins and historical context.

Interesting facts about the last name Coleman

  • The surname Coleman is of Irish and English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old Irish name “Colmán,” which means “dove” or “little dove.”
  • The English variant of Coleman comes from the medieval personal name “Coleman,” meaning “charcoal burner” or “burner of coals.”
  • The surname Coleman first appeared in written records in the 12th century.
  • Coleman is a relatively common surname in Ireland, particularly in counties Cork, Kerry, and Mayo.
  • Some notable individuals with the surname Coleman include actress Jodie Foster, musician and actor Ornette Coleman, and football player Vince Coleman.
  • In the United States, Coleman is the 64th most common surname, according to the 2000 census.
  • The Coleman family name has various spellings, including Colman, Colmen, and Colmans.
  • The surname Coleman has been the inspiration for the creation of brand names such as Coleman Company, a popular outdoor recreation company known for its camping equipment.

Name Rank


There are around 219070 people with the last name Coleman in the US

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