Rountree Coleman Project

Welcome to the Rountree Coleman Project.  We are the New Zealand branch of the Rountree Coleman Family.  Our known history dates back to 1710 in Ireland.  We are in the process of documenting our journey from that time, through to present day.

Who are we?

We are the descendants of Charles Rountree and Mollie Coleman (both born early 1700s); and/or John Coleman and Margaret Bell (both born early 1800s).  Our ancestors lived in County Cavan, Ireland in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  Some of our cousins are still living there now.

However, in 1862 our ancestors started emigrating to Canterbury, New Zealand.  This was a long, risky and and arduous journey.  They travelled by sail powered clipper ship along the coast of West Africa, and across the Southern Ocean to New Zealand.  Not all survived the 12,000 plus mile voyage.  Those that did became early pioneers in Canterbury, working hard to make ends meet, establishing new lives and raising their children.

[We know that other members of our Irish County Cavan ancestors emigrated to the United States of America, and Australia.  However, their history is not the focus of this project.]

What is the Rountree Coleman Project?

It started with an idea in 2018, which has its origins in the nineteenth century.  Jo Noble, and her brother, Dallas Rountree, had published a 200 page New Zealand Rountree Coleman Family History book in 1994.  This shared some stories from their father, aunts, uncles and cousins about their known family history and the lives they built here. 

However, the origins of that book actually date back to March 1890, when Reverend Walter Rountree, B.A. of Campstown, Cootehill, County Cavan, Ireland, published the “Rountree Genealogical Tree Scroll” (see image).  He had compiled this by travelling around his relations’ homes in County Cavan.  Once there, he copied down the genealogical information in their family bibles.  He then had copies of this scroll printed and distributed around the family.

Fast forward to 2020.  As the world retreated into lockdown, we (Jo Noble, Deb Donnell, Christina Carroll and Bev Cameron) decided to make good use of that time.  Furthermore, we encouraged our Rountree – Coleman relatives to record their memories and stories.  We thought we’d do a second volume [a follow up 200 page book].  

However, we didn’t factor in that our family has grown over the years!  Consequently, the response far exceeded our initial vision and expectations.  So the Rountree Coleman Project has evolved into something much much more.  In fact, we are currently working on four projects within the main project:

1. Revising and Reprinting the 1994 book (Volume One)

The original photo images were extremely poor quality due to the pages being photocopied.  So Deb is in the process of rescanning the images and revising inaccuracies in the text. This revised edition will be available for purchase by Rountree Coleman relations in due course.

2. Updating the Family Tree [Rountree Genealogical Tree Scroll]

Work has been started.  However, it has proven to be a major project and so it will take some time to complete.

3.  Producing a Second Volume of the NZ Rountree Coleman Family History

This project was completed in January 2021.  It ballooned out from the proposed 200 pages to 528 pages.  Over 100 people contributed photos, memories and highlights of their lives.  Deb Donnell invested at least 1,100 hours for management, research and production.  

To achieve this in only 9 months is incredible.  Books of this size normally take two to five years to go from concept through to publication release.  Most never get completed because the task is too mammoth and overwhelming.  Producing this book is testimony to Deb’s publishing skills, dedication and professionalism.

This edition includes a sections on the Irish history, County Cavan origins, the journey to New Zealand, and details about our early pioneers that were either not known, or only briefly covered in Volume One.  There are also 907 images, many dating from late 1800s through to early 2021. 

If you’re a Rountree Coleman cousin, you can purchase a copy of this book here

If you’re not, a more generic, shorter book may be produced in the future if there is enough interest.

4. Online Digital Archive and Resource Centre

Ultimately, we want to build a private, secure, family membership access only online digital archive and resource centre.  This is being designed to engage and educate all ages through visual media, as well as downloadable files. 

With many of our NZ Rountree Coleman families having emigrated to other countries over the years, we want to make our history accessible for them. 

We also hope this will make the adding and updating of information easier all around, because the tech savvy will be able to add content themselves.  If you can manage Facebook, then our archive will be just as straight forward.

You’re Invited to Get Involved

This project is for private genealogical research only.  So the criteria you need to become involved, or to purchase one of our private publications is to be a descendant of the County Cavan Rountree or Coleman Families, or married to one.  You don’t need to do a DNA test.  However, we need to verify your ancestry back to a common relative either in New Zealand or Ireland.  This may be as easy as providing some details about parents, grandparents, etc.  To get in touch, please use the contact Deb form here.
We are also looking for crowd-funding to continue working on the incompleted projects above.  Any contribution will  cover the research and production costs for updating the original Rountree Tree Scroll, and building, hosting and maintaining of the online digital archive.  If you would like to contribute to these costs, you can do so here.

What if You’re Not a Rountree Coleman Relative?

If you aren’t related, but are interested in publishing your own family history, Deb can help you through one of three ways:

  1. Self-Driven or Group Training through KESWiN Academy.  You access our online training and follow the step-by-step process to gather the information, collate and publish it.   For more information visit KESWiN Academy’s website.
  2. Work with Deb.  She will personally coach / mentor your through the information gathering, book writing and publishing journey.  For more information, visit this page.
  3. Hire our Professional Services.  If you prefer to contract someone else to fast track the process, then engage the publishing services of our team of experts at Keswin Publishing.  For more information visit Keswin Publishing’s website.

If none are these options are of interest to you, but you know someone who is keen to document their history and/or write and publish a non-fiction book.  If so, please refer them to one or more of the above websites. 


Deb Donnell, on behalf of
The New Zealand Rountree Coleman Families

Rountree Coleman Book Vol I

Rountree Coleman Family History Book Volume One
(Second Edition) 

Rountree Coleman Family History Book Volume Two

Rountree Coleman Heirloom Book

Rountree Coleman Family History Book Volumes One and Two
(Hardcover / Heirloom Edition)

Contribute to Project Rountree

Contribute to Project Rountree Coleman From $50

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