Isle of Man Family History Society Journal Vol 1 No 4 Oct 1979



In its Spring number for 1979, the Family. History News and Digest, p.29, carries a review by Elizabeth Simpson of a GLOSSARY OF HOUSEHOLD & FARMING TERMS from XVI century Probate Inventories, compiled by Rosemary Milward (Derbyshire Record Soc.). She writes:

Inventories are those lists which are attached at the back of wills... Inventories can supply a unique key to life as it was. They con be used in dozens of ways: e.g., a plan or elevation of the house can be devised from the description and position of the rooms , marvellous real sound of the dialect can be reproduced by reading them phonetically out aloud, splendid idea can be gained of the actual level in society at which the family lived, simply by the description of their household contents...and from the items NOT mentioned comes a picture of their private comfort. What, no mirrors? Curtains? Clocks? Books? Pictures?

In 1529 a statute of Henry VIII decreed that inventories should be drawn up by 4 local honest men... Interest focuses on words, words whose meanings have changed; or challenge our detective powers to work cut their correct meanings; some are picturesque, some intrigue with spelling peculiarities; some elude all powers of identification.

Here is a challenge to us Manx to use the rich stock of inventories in our microfilms of historical wills to reconstruct some picture of the homes and living conditions of our ancestors. Let me take an example, again from XVIII century Lezayre.

In the 1760's the Cowles would have been called a yeoman family. They held land in the quarterlands of Kella, Glen Moar, and Ballakerbere, and owned the Kella Mills. They rated the handle Mr to their names. They were sent to -school and could read and write. If Capt. John Llewellyn headed the wealth league in land with an assessment of £11 for the new church, the Cowles paid about half as much. Their daughters married into the Standish Christians of Ellanbane-bane and the Brews of the Gileagh, Andreas. -

Old Arthur Cowle died about 1766, to be succeeded by his only son John, then pushing 60. He was childless and his wife Jane Moore died in 1768, and himself in 1769. His will was disputed, and 29 pages of the transcript of the case and the inventory of his goods sold at public cant in July 1770, are a mine of human and social interest.

The ostensible issue of the case was whether the will-he dictated to Mr Nicholas Corlett, yeoman, aged about 30 and Thomas Casement Clothier, about the same age, his neighbours, on June 13 & 14 1769 should stand over against one declared in February 1768 to his-brothers in law, Standish Christian and William Cowll. In the event the later one was upheld, and Standish Christian and Am Cowll paid -£13 costs for their pains. It was a fair enough will. Mrs. Margaret Brew his eldest sister was in any case heir at law of his lands. He remembered his sisters, his nephews (including the children of Standish Christian and William Cowll), and Catherine Crow his house-keeper. He left his wearing apparel to Dan Cowll.. He even had Rich Corlett and Thos Casement back the next morning to add legacies to two handicapped boys and to the School at Sulby.

But behind all was a power-struggle between Mrs Brew and Standish-Christian for the executorship which went to Margaret Brew in the end, and turned on whether she had exercised undue influence over the sick man. For in Standish's words 'she had come about May and taken possession of the house, and after an arbitrary manner ruled there, keeping all under her own influence, and would not suffer her brother John to do anything but what she pleased', adding and 'more abominable, she did not cease to ply him with intoxicating liquor '.

The fact was that John Cowle, as his friends put it with XVIII-century delicacy, was 'a person who had often in the latter years taken a Cup extraordinary, and had been sometimes guilty of Intemperance'.. Had he then been 'disguised' in liquor when he made that June will? But Nich Corlet and Thos Casement had been particularly alert on this point, and. had continuously examined and looked at Cowle before he made his will. Michael Kissage, the Kella-miller, testified that he had looked in on Cowle most days of his illness, and was sure that Mrs Standish Christian had never been refused access to her brother. As for being plied with intoxicating liquor by Mrs. Brew, on the contrary John Cowle had often complained that Margaret Brew put too little spirit in his drink.

But how close the Kella had come to passing out of the Cowle family! On June 17, three men were gathered round John Cowles bed,, the Vicar and the Smith (who both had the same name, John Gill), and a Castletown Lawyer, John Quayle. John Gill the Smith, who had been a schoolfellow-of Cowle's was to testify that for quite a year before his death, Cowle had spoken of his intention to sell the Kella to 'pay off the debts which had begun to accumulate even in good Mr Arthur's day', and he had been entrusted to negotiate with John Quayle. Here then was the lawyer with a conveyance duly drawn up. He would pay £1300 for the Kella enough to cover the £500 debts. Moreover-John Cowle would not be disturbed in occupancy for his life. Cowle lay on his bed, reading the conveyance and -'lapping the paper writing.' He seemed ready to sign when into the room burst Margaret. Vicar and Smith corroborated how she demanded what tricks they were going about? and how the lawyer replied " Honest woman, I am about no tricks, but plain honest and above board. I am about purchasing the estate and Giving him money to relieve his wants, as you will not do.". Declaring that her father's estate should not be sold to pay her. brother's debts (which she would pay herself), she hastily and forcibly took the deeds out John s hands and threw them at the lawyer. saying:"The Devil a pen shall he get to put to paper here this day, ": and put his arms under the bedclothes and tucked the clothes about his arms while John said: What, must I always be under Petticoat Government and so things stayed. ;
Both John Gills understood Cowle entrusted the papers to them, but which of the two it is not quite clear. Maybe the Smith might have had an interest-in getting them signed at a mere propitious moment. But in the event it was the Vicar who took them, and when he returned them after John Cowles death on Saturday morning July 15th; they were still unsigned.

And so Thomas -Arthur Corlett made the inventory and managed the sale, There were over 400 lots, and some 125 people bought. It-realised about £177 (as -against the probate assessment of £135, with £220 for the non-entailed lands.) Some intack auctioned was bought by Margaret Brew for about £50. She was indeed the largest purchaser in general.
The highest bid was by Standish Christian, £4.8.0 for a bullock; the next, - £3.9.9. for a feather bed -and boulster, which were sold by weight, at 1/1½ a pound. Cheapest item was a 'Capp, Id'. Heifers fetched about £2.0.0.'a Pigg 11/-, the little mare 15/8. 4 fowls and 2 cocks made 1/2, a Duck & Drake 8d, geese 1/- each, A pair Of spectacles fetched 6d, a blue coat, breeches and White waistcoat, £1.10.0 5 shirts 13/-;2 prs, white stockings and 3 nightcaps 2/6; a pair of shoes 2/~; 2 wiggs 13/2. The bedstead in the parlour all curtains made 14/6-. The Big Table in the Kitchen with its frame, the Big Chair & 2 forms 10/-. The old bedstead in the kitchen loft went for 5/6, that in the cowshed for 2/4. a 'rountable' sold for 3/1; the same for a dresser; a cupboard for 4/1. A chest of drawers brought in £I.3.2,: a spinning wheel 4/6,-a brass candle-stick 1/1, an rush candlestick Ed, a smoothing iron 5/4½, glass battles at 5d the half-dozen. Most utensils seem to have been kitchen ones. There. were only 3 silver teaspoons and 2 tea-cups. Culture seems limited to 2 books and..2 prints.

Most items were from the farm an Old cart-£1.5. harness, wheelbarrows, pig-trough, pitchforks, dung forks, weeding irons, etc. Surprisingly good -prices came for pieces of wood, 13/6. for a nice of cedar, 16/6 for 18 pieces of ash & 34 small oak sticks 16/6 for a large piece of Timber And of course many items were edibles, cheeses, bacon, oats, barley and '60 kishens of pudtatoes' at 4d.

I learnt some measures that had long escaped me when I faced the sum: If .Anne Garrett paid 1/8 for 2. kishens of barley at £1 per-boule, how many kishons Are there into bottle? I found I had arrived at a table:-. 4 kishons one tub 12 kishons 1:firlott, 24 kishons one boule. .But how much was a Kishon My Cregeen told me that 8 quarts of 1 peck. There was wool for sale, sold by the quarter`-.2/6 up to 3/7.
The funeral expenses come to £8.18.9 Of which the Minister got l/- and. £1 18.6 went on 87 gallons of brandy at 5/6 British, and 21/- for ales. There were 31bs of loaf sugar at 8d a ld, 12lbs of ham of Bacon at 3d per lb,. 24 fowls at 2d each, 4 loaves at 7d.'and a lamb for the funeral, 3/6'.

Margaret Brew had trouble enough. Her husband died within the year, and even before the lawsuit could :be heard she required to get harvest-in. There were 85 shearers at 8d per day. She also paid herself 9 days at 1/- a day for supervision:-:But she kept the Kella. in the family.

But to revert to Elizabeth Simpson's suggested excercise. I offer the 'hinderance of barley' as a candidate for a picturesque phrase to challenge your detective powers. But I am quite- beaten by fledge, checkreel, greenabanes and seed banes, keivesstool, and opper. And I am so conscious of the things the house lacked. There can have .been so little spaciousness and graciousness in the homes of the XVIII century Manx squirearchy. And how weighted the economic scales were against even the yeoman Manx landowner. For him, as for the crofter, agriculture was a lost battle. It was the families that could diversify their-interests into trade that survived. The shrewdest activists like Margaret Brew might change destinies, but nor for long.




Taubmans in America

In October 1853, a-newly-married Ballaugh couple Edward Richard Taubman (born Oct. 24 1833),and Margaret Catharine Teare (born Feb. 2? 1831) left Liverpool for America. Eight weeks and two days later, the vessel landed at New York; two hundred of its passengers had died from Cholera during the long voyage.
With the birth of their first child imminent, the young pair made their way to Summit County,-Ohio, where they spent three weeks with Edward's twin sister Catharine Christian Taubman; and her husband William Wade, who had preceded them by about a year. Leaving Margaret in Ohio with their new-born sons Edward, the senior Edward made his way west to Maquoketa, in Clinton County, Iowa, an area just being opened to pioneer farming. While there he took up 80 acres of land. While this was being done Edward hired himself out to J. E. Goodenew who he a farm-nearby and worked for him until October 1854. True Manx thrift that! In December of 1854, Edward returned to Ohio to bring back his little family and to move into the partially-completed shanty. He put in a crop only on the initial eight acres the first year and the next 9 as he had no team or stock of any kind, But by 1866, he had enlarged his farm holding to 240 acres of highly improved and well stocked land, and was the envy of many in the area.
Nine children were born to Edward and Margaret Catharine:- Edward T., born 1853, married Maggie Kennedy and went to South Dakota:
John T. born 1837, died 1891 buried in Iowa: William H. born 1857 married & lived in Iowa Margaret Catharine, born 1859, married John H. Phelps and lived in Iowa:
Mary Elizabeth, born 1862 married John Quincy Robinson and died in Cedar Rapids Iowa in 1936 (She was The writers Grandmothers )
Maloa D.) born 1864, unmarried and died 1885, having been a public school teacher:
Elsie D , born 1866, unmarried and died 1923
James Llewellyn, born 1870-, married Fannie Belle -Phillips and died in Maquoketa 1919:
Glive Mona born 1872, married Harvey E. Levelly
Edward died in Maquokets in 1912, aged 78, and was buried in the Delmar Cemetery nearby the farm;his wife Margaret Catharine, died at Maquoketa in 1904, aged 73, and is buried alongside him.

Edwards brothers and sisters in Ballaugh were:
Thomas, born 1824, went to Australia and died there unmarried ;
William, born 1826,married and went to South Dakota and died there
Henry born 1827, went to Maguoketa with Edward, married twice, first to Malon Current, who died then to Laura Fairbrother; he died in Maquoketa in 1899 :
Margaret, born 1830 and married Williiam Kneen, lived and died in Ballaugh 1898:- :
Catharine Christian, Edward's twin sister, married William Wade and went to Ohio ~ -
-Elizabeth, born 1836, married Thomas H. Kneen, lived and died in Iowa near to Edwards farm.
John Joseph, born 1840, died in Ballaugh 1909
Ann Jane, born 1844, died in the US:-
Joseph, born 1847, died in Iowa 1878, buried in Delmar Cemetery: - -
James Benjamin, born 1848, living in America in 1905
; Edwards-father was Thomas Taubman, born in Castletown 19 February 1797, a brewer by trade, also a farmer, He came with his father to Ballaugh at about the age of 5. He spent nearly all his life there, except for a short time in Peel running a brewery trade in 1844; the family residence in Ballaugh was Ballamoar. Thomas. married twice. first to Margaret Catherine Kewish who was born in Ballaugh 20 Sept. 1795, and died 12 April 1843, by whom the first eigtht of his.children were born. His second wife was Elizabeth Mylcraine, of the Curragh, Ballaugh, born 1818 and died 1866 Three Children were born to this union Thomas died in Ballaugh 7 July 1871.
Edward's-wife, Margaret Catharine Teare was from Ballanedin, Ballaugh daughter of. John Teare decended from a long line of Teares in Ballaugh.

The Taubman-family reaches back traditionally to Cumberland, England. It is reported that about the time of the Dissolution (1540)-the first Taubman (then spelled Tubman) came to the Isle of Man. In the old records one Peter Tubman is found occupying an intack in Lezayre in 1540 There are several other records of about the same period which are not dated, therefore he could have been resident for several years before 1554

Peter apparently died about 1567, for at that time the Lezayre records cease and a Peter Tubman appears in the Castletown area of Malew for: the first time to be followed by Thomas Tubman living near Peel in German about 1576. There was a Sir William Tubman, Chaplain of Castle Rushen in 1575, also a Thomas and a William Tubman are listed among the soldiers of the garrison at Castle Rushen the same year. Doubtless these are the sons of the original Peter. So we find two- principal branches of the Tubman line developing - Castletown and Peel

The line living in German mainly pursued farming round the area of: Ballkilmoirrey. The Castletown branch became property owners and merchants. Public service is noted in both branches of the family quite soon after their appearance. Examples are:- Charles Tubman, Moar of Malew in 1577; Thomas,- Coroner the same year. Charles Tubman is listed frequently as Moar until as late as 1602; in 1608, John Tubman held the Moars post and Charles Tabman is Coroner.- Frequently Charles is named a Juror, and also had a brewer's licence. dating from as early 1597. In German. a Silvester Tubman was Juror in 1637; in 1631 the Coroner was again Silvester.

The name Taubman (Tubman as it was spelled until around 1700) shows up frequently in the House of Keys:-

1521 John Tubman

1753-77 John Taubman

1628-42 Silvester Tubman

1777-1821 John Taubman

1650 John Tubman

1785-1811 John Taubman

1653-90 John Tubman

1815-19 John Taubman,
(Major ) also Speaker

1723-4 John Tubman

The last named purchased the Nunnery estate in 1766 and his family later assumed the names Goldie-Taubman and Fry-Goldie-Taubman as marriages were consummated with other prominent families. -He also formed the Isle of Man Bank with George and Mark Quale in 1802.

The Arms of the Taubman family are:

Per fesse arg. and sa. on a bend cottised between six lozenges counterchanged a sword the point upwards ppr. pommel and hilt or between four escallops also counterchanged. Crest:- An escallop inverted arg. charged with a .wolf's head erased sable. Otto:- DILIGENTIA . DIDAT.

The writer has spent many years in researching his family in the United States and in the Isle of Man,.and any who wish to have additional details,.or who might have something to contribute to his records are invited to correspond. ..[address suppressed]





Our Genealogist writes:
It is with pleasure that I am able to record the acquisition by the Library of the Manx Museum of microfilm of what are in effect, indexes to the Anglican Marriage Registers transcripts held by the General Registry for the period before 1884. The new films of Computer Print-outs prepared by the Genealogical society of the Church of Latter Day Saints, who also prepared the indexes to Baptisms which have been in use at.the General Registry and Manx Museum for some years

The format of the indexes to marriages closely resembles that of the Baptismal indexes, with which many of our members will already be familiar. The records of each parish or church have been indexed separately, and the computer has combined various spellings of names together, to reduce fragmentaticn of references to particular families due to the vagaries of our ancestors' spelling. Unfortunately the proccess does not seem to have been too efective, and I have found myself often referring to the key which is fortunately provided for each parish in order to discover what has happened to a particular name. In many instances the combination of obvious variants of names has been neglected, and sometimes such variants have been attributed as versions of some other quite alien name The researcher will be surprised to find Cowley and Kewley, combined, to give an outstanding example, and the confusion of Kelly and Killey may cause puzzlement. The Quilliams have been denied their rightful place between the Quilleashes and Quines, and categorised under 'W' . The list could go on. The simple way to overcome this drawback in this valuable new research tool is to use the Key of Names provided at the start of each parish on the micro film.

Other shortcomings of the indexes are perhaps worth mentiong, to remind members that all perhaps is not quite lost if a particular marriage is not indexed. Firstly the index is only to Church of England marriages; nonconformist registers must still be searched. Secondly, the registers from which the index was compiled are often interrupted by gaps of many years, for example no marriages are recorded in the Marown Parish Registers, as now surviving, and as transcribed in the volumes at the General Registry before the year 1799 However marriages were being solemnised in the parish and a record of some 220 of them between 1735 and 1799 survives in the Bishops Transcripts held at the Manx Museum, and available there on microfilm, There are many more Marown marriages of course totally unrecorded, as the series of Bishops Transcripts is itself incomplet a similar situation, with unindexed gaps partly filled by the Bishops Transcripts, also exists in the records of Lonan and Malew.

Such reservations aside, the recent acquisition is a most useful and welcome one. It enables the hitherto time-consumming task of searching the whole Islands records for a marriage, which, I am told, took two days complete work, now to be reduced to a twenty minutes exercise. Our members will find the indexes are particularly helpful when compiling the Family Group Sheets, which I hope all of them will shortly be submitting to me, to commence our Pedigree Referral index.






by Vera Martin, printed & published by Courier Herald, Ridgeway St, Douglas.

This book tells of life in Douglas between the wars, and in particular about a young girl growing up with her family and friends. It mentions personalities and characters who were around in those days,-many of whom are still living. It also tells of places and customs which have since been left behind in the march of progess.. Vera revives these memories, which would be of particular interest to all these Manx people who have left the Island to live in other parts of the world. Her story is related with warm humour, nostalgia and an authenticity for which I can vouch as an eyewitness Living at the time. The book contains a lot of historic interest which should be made available to those interested in Family History Societies every-where, because-- as Vera Martin says -..Thats the way it was.



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