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Isle of Man Family History Society mourn founder member Nigel G Crowe

By Sarah Christian and Priscilla Lewthwaite

Members of the Isle of Man Family History Society are sad to have lost one of their founder members. After many years of intrepid study, Nigel Crowe passed away on 2nd August but has left a legacy of written research.

From an early age Nigel had been an avid reader and had a curious mind and real intelligence and so could make sense of complex records. Nigel was passionate about the Baldwin Valley where he grew up and became an expert on the area. Aged 12, Nigel started his research in the Reading Room at The Manx Museum. He began looking at Baldwin families from age of 17 and gradually became interested in historic buildings and the landscape too.

At 18, he became excursion Secretary for the Isle of Man Antiquarian and Natural History Society and was a life member. In 1979, aged just 20, Nigel helped to form the Isle of Man Family History Society, becoming the organisation’s genealogist and later Chair. The society started in time for the great influx of Manx home-comers expected during the Millenium year.

Early influences were people like Doug Faragher, Leighton Stowell and Janet Narasimham - he was passionate about all things Manx. Music was a large part of his life too- the Manx Music Festival in particular.

Nigel went on to study Estate Management at University and was able to use his research skills, working for the UK valuation office in Shrewsbury, Manx Civil Service in the Local Government Planning Office and later with Chrystal’s valuers and auctioneers.

He continued to research all his life producing publications like "The Quarterland and Cottage rents of Douglas c 1705". He contributed to various journals, edited the Family History Bible, and much of his research is lodged in the Library and Archives at The Manx Museum and The Isle of Man Family History Society Research Centre. Nigel was encouraged in his work by his late wife Christine and supported by daughters Amy and Alice who he leaves behind.

One of the most striking things about Nigel was that he was very happy to share his time and knowledge with anyone who asked. He hated being misquoted and happily Culture Vannin carried out an oral history interview with him so you can hear him talk about his life in his own words on their website. The interview was prompted by Nigel being awarded the prestigious Reih Bleeaney Vanannan award in 2022. We will miss him.

Link to interview

The Library is open on Wednesday's and Saturday's between 2pm and 4pm.

We have now published a list of member's surname interests which will be updated regularly.

The Society now has a group on Facebook which anyone can join. Group members will post updates on the people they are interested in contacting and information will also be published in the journal.

Meetings and Events for 2023

January 20th - Terence McDonald - "Gladstone's Secret Visit to the Isle of Man"

February 17th - Dave Martin - "Bridges in the Landscape"

March 17th - Dr. Breesha Maddrell - "Looking Out to Sea: Mona Douglas's Cultural Connections"

April 21st - Sue Woolley - "A Manx Family Story in Three Objects"

May 19th - James Franklin - "Curses, Charms and a Beast at the Window: A Tour of Churchtown Folklore"

June 25th - A walking tour of the history around the area of the NSC with John Wright

July 21st - Jane Hodson - "Daniel Teare Callow and the Shocking Death at Cross Four Ways" (originally scheduled for September)

August 18th - Members' Evening

Sep 15th - Mike Clague - "Reapers, Clogs and Pulpits" (originally scheduled for July)

Oct 20th - AGM

Nov 17th - Mike Hoy - "A Manx Child in the Eighteenth Century"

Read about previous meetings and presentations.