Introduction

This site is devoted to the early (pre 1700) records of the Isle of Man, with a particular focus on those of greatest value to the genealogist. It attempts to provide detailed descriptions of all the main record types and to explain how to understand them. It also includes a large number of online images of early (predominately 16th century) Manx ecclesiastical records (which include around 1000 abstracts of wills) and extensive transcriptions of (Kirk Michael) property records.

 

Most of the original records are written in English (as opposed to Latin), but the different handwriting of the era can make them extremely difficult to read for the inexperienced modern eye. Some help is provided on this site and more information is available from numerous paleography websites.

 

I would welcome any comments, corrections etc. and can be contacted at robert@manxmanorialroll.com

 

This site is periodically updated.

 

Site overview

 

The site contains a number of sections which are outlined below. Navigation between these is via the top menu. Pages within a section are linked via the left menu.

 

This Introduction section contains overviews of several subjects without knowledge of which it is hard to understand the documents properly.

 

The Records section discusses individual categories of records in more detail, including discussion of their format and the information they contain in different time periods.

 

The Images section contains an archive of original images of 16th and early 17th century Spiritual Court records including many abstracts of wills. The section also has high resolution examples of many of the other types of record discussed on this site. The vast majority of these images are photographs taken by myself of original manuscripts and are included here by courtesy of Manx National Heritage. A few come from scans of microfilmed copies of the records and the inclusion of these is additionally by courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints which produced these microfilms.

 

The Transcriptions section has a particular focus on the property records for Kirk Michael and (to a lesser extent) Ballaugh parishes. The online property data has a good chance of containing genealogical information about any family living in Kirk Michael between 1600 and 1800, and it will sometimes be useful for 16th century ancestors too. It also serves to illustrate the type of information available and can be used to track the ownership of individual pieces of land through the centuries. The section also includes a complete transcription of the Knowsley Lease Book, which is the major source for Manx leases agreed with the Lord before 1643.

 

The References section contains various background information, including details of how to read the older documents (with a description of secretary hand and a list of common latin phrases used), a glossary of relevant contemporary terms and a list of sources.

 

The Research section contains more detail about certain of the issues described elsewhere on the site. It also includes a list of unresolved questions which I have about relating either to the old records or to Manx way of life at the time. I have included some speculation or research of my own with each of these, but would welcome any comments about them to robert@manxmanorialroll.com (The above should be caveated by pointing out that my perspective here is that of an amateur family historian and it may well be that the answers are well known, but that I have failed to find or consult the correct reference or source.)

 

Sources

 

The information in this site is predominately taken from an examination of the original records. Secondary sources such as the major published histories of the pre 1700 Isle of Man (Moore and Dickinson) have been used as guides.

 

It may also be worth mentioning that the Manx Courts, laws, administration etc. naturally changed over the centuries. The various contemporary Manx accounts from the 18th and 19th centuries are not necessarily reliable guides to the workings of the 16th and 17th century Isle of Man.