Isle of Man History

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Effective family research requires understanding the historic events that affected your family and the records about them. Learning about wars, local events, laws, migrations, settlement patterns, and economic or religious trends may help you understand family movements. These events may have led to the creation of records, such as poor law records or military records, that mention your family.

Your ancestors will be more interesting if you learn about the events that shaped their lives. For example, a history may tell you what events occurred in the year your ancestor married and how those events may have impacted their decisions.

Historical Timeline[edit | edit source]

The Isle of Man has been inhabited since the Mesolithic Period and came under Celtic influence during the Iron Age. It had a turbulent history and came under the rule of the Norse in 1079 but in 1266, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the island to Scotland. The Isle of Man came under English control in the fourteenth century.

The head of state of the Isle of Man is the head of state of the United Kingdom, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented on the island by a Lieutenant Governor. The country's government, Tynwald, thought to have been founded in 979, is one of the oldest established governments in Europe.

  • 5000 BC First inhabitants arrive on the Isle of Man.
  • 1000 Celtics arrive on island. Their influence on the culture and language remains until the 19th century. The Celtic language, Manx (closely related to Gaelic), remained the everyday language of the island until the first half of the 19th century.
  • 400s CE Beginning of Irish immigration to the island.
  • 400s Isle of Man converted to Christianity by Irish missionaries.
  • 800 Vikings (Norse) began invading and plundering the island.
  • 979 Manx parliament (Tynwald Court) was established and is, today, known as one of the oldest continuous parliaments in the world.
  • 1079 Island conquered by the Norse and ruled by kings of Norway.
  • 1130s Catholic Church established first bishopric on Isle of Man. Some religious antagonism toward Roman Catholics occurred after the English Reformation in the 1500s, but not nearly as severe as in England.
  • 1261 Scotland king negotiates the cession of the island; war results when Norway refuses.
  • 1266 Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the Isle of Man to Scotland.
  • 1300s Island transferred hands between Scotland and England multiple times before coming under complete English control.
  • 1538 The Church of England was the established church on the island by this time. In 1538, the Church mandated that every parish begin recording baptisms, marriages, and burials. These records became known as parish registers.
  • 1598 The Isle of Man began following the Church's mandate to record every baptism, marriage, and burial.
  • 1651 "Lord of Mann and the Isles" title first used; refers to the island's Lord Proprietor.
  • 1704 The Act of Settlement, known as the Manx Magna Carta, was passed. It preserved the rights of peasants, such as restoring claims to their ancestral estates, establishing a fixed rent, and limiting fines on succession.
  • 1753 Isle of Man legislation replaced the Julian Calendar with the Gregorian Calendar, one year after Great Britain had done so
  • 1765 The Purchase Act, or Act of Revestment, was passed. With this act, the "Lord of Mann" title was revested into the English Crown, meaning the English monarch automatically became the Lord of Mann. The Isle of Man became a crown dependency.
  • 1770s Methodism began on the island.
  • 1840s The Baptist church began on the island.
  • 1841 The first genealogically useful census was taken by the government. Censuses were taken every 10 years.
  • 1849 Births and marriages (from those in dissenter churches) could be registered with the state and, therefore, be legitimized. Before this year, all baptisms and marriages recorded in dissenter churches were not valid as proof of parentage or marriage in the eyes of the law.
  • 1866 Isle of Man obtained basic home rule, meaning although they were a British Crown dependency, they controlled their own government to a vast extent.
  • 1878 Civil registration of births and deaths began.
  • 1881 Gave single women the right to vote (first national legislative body in the world to do so).
  • 1884 Civil registration of marriages began.

[1] [2] [3] [4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Wikipedia contributors, "History of the Isle of Man," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 July 2018.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Isle of Man," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 July 2018.
  3. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, "Isle of Man," in Encyclopaedia Britannica,, accessed 25 July 2018.
  4. Wikipedia contributors, "Tynwald Day," in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia,, accessed 25 July 2018.