Manx Y-DNA Study Update

Blein Vie Noa

I have just completed a review of what has been achieved and learned in the study during the course of the last five years.

Key headline findings from the study so far are:-

  • In the period immediately after the Scandinavian occupation of the Isle of Man (800-1265AD) a quarter of the male population were of Scandinavian or North European origin.
  • Unexpectedly, a number of male Manx lines with different family names were found to be related and share common male ancestors in the period before hereditary family name adoption.
  • The unique Y-DNA signatures of more than 70 (out of 125) Manx family lines have been identified and knowledge about their early origins gained.
  • Kelly from the Isle of Man is really so! All those familiar family names (e.g. Curphey, Bridson, Kennaugh etc) which we consider to be typical of and unique to the Isle of Man are shown to be indeed so.
  • Different variants of the same original Manx family name, which are popularly assumed to be equivalent, e.g. Callister and Collister, etc are indeed the same family.
  • Most Manx families show a single male genetic origin, as would be expected of such small families, but with several exceptions.
  • Every one in eight men tested in the study did not show the genetic profile associated with the rest of his family.
  • The names of some early Manx emigrants changed/evolved after they left the Island in the 1700-1800s.
  • The close-relatedness of the Manx community genetically is a notable feature of the Isle of Man, as might be expected. Y-DNA testing indicates that a number of male lines are connected from early times. However autosomal DNA testing provides further anecdotal evidence of this characteristic amongst a small population of people with Manx ancestry.

A full copy of the report can be seen online here


Introductory course on the Iron Age in the Isle of Man



A new course on the Iron Age in the Isle of Man is being offered by the Isle of Man College. The course was intended to begin last autumn, but will now take place on 10th March and will consist of 3 2-hour lectures on consecutive weeks and 3 weekend field trips. This is a great opportunity to hear and discuss a period of Manx history that remains poorly understood.

Call for contributions

Manx Research is an informal community blog for those wishing to share current or past research, summaries of more extensive research published elsewhere, reviews of books and articles, notifications about useful sources and resources and discussion pieces. Whether you are an amateur researcher, professional, academic, graduate or undergraduate Manx Research can provide a place where you can distribute your research to a wider community. With average monthly views well over 1000, contributing is certainly worthwhile and presents a unique opportunity to bring attention to research to a wider community of like-minded researchers and those with a keen interest in the Isle of Man. Recent posts have included the latest findings on Manx DNA signatures, research on Ballaugh’s WW1 War Memorial and the first Manxman killed during WW1, but there is really no limit on the subjects that can be covered in a post, only that it should have a connection with the Isle of Man.

If you are interested in posting a blog you can send your post to manxresearch [at], or send an email to the same address requesting your own login details which will allow you to create your own posts. If you are not interested in posting then please follow the blog, like the Manx Research Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter (@Manx_Research). If you have any questions just drop us an email.

Please circulate this as widely as possible, as Manx Research is intended as a community resource and requires contributions in order to continue. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Many thanks,
Manx Research


Threshing at Balladoole Farm.

The Isle of Man: Historically a more closely-knit community than we think!

The Isle of Man is only small in physical size (221 square miles) and its population relative to its neighbours has always been small also. Until the 19th century the majority of the population worked on the land or sea and lived in, or close to, the countryside.

Any movement of the population was largely limited to farmers seeking new farmland to rent or people marrying someone from another parish. In this rural community it was common for marriages to take place between neighbouring families and, over the centuries, many of them ended up related to each other in some way or another, within a parish or surrounds. The result of this is that the community of the Isle of Man has always been closely-knit and everyone tended to know or know of their near family relatives. Anyone researching their own Manx family history today will find that fact out quickly and see the same range of other Manx surnames marrying into their own ancestral family.

Those people living on the Isle of Man, whose families have lived there since the last 500-1000 years or so, are identified by their range of unique family names. In early times individuals were originally only known by their single or personal names. Such personal names were often nicknames or descriptive (e.g. Duggan = “little dark man”) but around 1000 years ago the Celtic patronymic system of names started to be adopted.

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