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"The earliest recording of the name Colebank I have found to date is in The Boke of Maryages and Buryalles of "Saynte De'nis Back- Church Parishe" in London, England. On "1550 Sept. 1, Thomas Smythe and Allys Colbanke" were joined in marriage. The next is in "A List of Passengers to be Transported From The Towne of Gravesend (near London) to Virginea June 23, 1635" where we find "Sara Colebank" listed among the women passengers. The 1810 Census of Monongalia County, Virginia recorded "P. Colebank" and in the 1820 Census his sons were recorded, "Sam Coalbank" and "James Coalbank". In later censuses the "Colebank" spelling is used most often. We know that the name existed as "Colbanke" in 1550 so the name dates back to 1500 or earlier. We know there was a practice of giving foundlings a surname indicating where they were found. We know that stories handed down by some of the Colebank families say this is how the name originated. Traditional stories that are handed down often have a nucleus of truth -- names, dates and places become vague because they are harder to remember. It is possible that the first Colebank was a foundling child named for the place where he was found. I think Colebank is a place name of the man who lived on the bank of the Cole River. The original spelling was likely "Colbenc, Colbanke or Colebanke. I have wondered about the origin of the Colebanks ever since grade school in the 1900s when my schoolmates asked me "Colebank" -- What kind of name is that? Where did they come from?" I couldn't answer. All anybody knew about the Colebanks was that they came from West Virginia. My Grandpa L S Colebank said he grew up in West Virginny near the Monongahela River and Point Marion, Pennsylvania; that his father was James David Colebank and his grandfather was James Coalbank. He said the earliest Colebank he had heard about was his Great Grandpa Peter Colebank. In my studies, all the Colebanks I have talked to or corresponded with have proven to be descendants of Peter and Sarah Grimes Colebank born about 1755. I found them in Monongalia County, Virginia in the 1810 federal census. They had three children -- Samuel, James and Mary."
Warren Colebank, Colebank Family Historian "From Whence Came the Colebanks", 1989, pages 8 -9