DNA study traces origins of Manx names

John Creer

John Creer

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If you ever wanted to know where your surname originated from, now could be your chance.

A study into the origins of 120 Manx family names is at its halfway stage and the man behind it is appealing for more funding and support.

John Creer, who is conducting the study, lives in Cheshire, but has traced his Creer family line back to the Creer families who were farming at Ballamodda and Ardwhallan in Baldwin in the 15th century.

Just a few of the names in John’s study are Crellin, Garrett, Kennaugh, Quayle, Leece, Callow, Looney, Brew, Karran and Shimmin.

He says it is making slow but steady progress and that he has completed studying more than 70 per cent of the 120 names.

John said: ‘A male child receives his father’s Y-chromosome (male) passed on intact, which is paired with its X-chromosome (female).

‘The Y-chromosome is passed down intact from father to son, virtually unchanged from generation to generation and tracks the paternal or surname.

‘Analysis of the Y-DNA of a living man therefore can tell us a great deal about the Y-DNA of his male ancestors and early connections with other families can be identified.’

The project has so far cost £25,000 but will need another £15,000 to finish it.

The study has revealed facts such as the present day Cain, Keig and Oates families were all the descendants of one individual male Scandinavian settler who arrived in the island around 1000AD.

Their Y-DNA profiles are so close to each other that this is an inescapable conclusion, said John.

The Clucas family has a specific generic marker which places their early family in Scotland, while the Crellin and Garrett families show a marker which is more popularly attributed to the Ui Neill dynasty of early Ireland.

Asked why he began his research John, who has a degree in chemistry, said: ‘I became interested in Y-DNA analysis in 2005 as part of the research into my own Creer family history.

‘When I couldn’t get any further using conventional geneology sources I embarked on the Creer Y-DNA which I’d completed by 2009.

‘My research demonstrated that all Creers from the Isle of Man are descended from one man who lived on the island between 1200 and 1400.

‘For the purposes of exploring early Manx history, the 120 names are deemed to represent those families who were known to be living on the island at least 500 years ago.’

So far, participants in the study have contributed by paying for their own Y-DNA tests, which cost around £100, but John is now struggling for funding despite having approached a number of Manx cultural, political and business organisations.

Visit www.manxdna.co.uk or email john@creer.co.uk

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