THE CROWE FAMILY - FOREWORD
This part of the site contains the first part of the Crowe genealogy material which has been assembled.Considerable additonal data remains to be added including biographical details, transcripts of documents, extracts from parish registers etc.
Crowe has never been among the most widespread of Manx surnames such as Kelly, Cain or Corlett. For a while in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries it was most commonly met with in Kirk Michael and Ballaugh, but before this most of the families ultimately trace their lineage back to farms which lie on the south side of the main road between Sulby and Ramsey, in the parish of Lezayre. These fomer holdings of the family include both halves of Ballachree, Glenduff [originally incorporating West Glentramman] and the Nappin [not to be confused with East and West Nappin in Jurby.] Another branch of the family was established for a long period in "The Third Beneath the Burn", which was the part of Lezayre north of the Sulby River on either side of the Andreas Road. The writer descends from a Jane Crow on his maternal line, and she probably belonged to the family established at Aust, in this area.
The earliest form of our name is found in the Rental of the Lezayre Abbeylands dating from 1540. Paul, Edmund and William McCraw had all held land there from the Abbey. The currently accepted derivation of the surname name Crow(e) as found in the Isle of Man is from the Gaelic Mac Conchradha - son of "hound of destruction" as found in Ireland, and to be cognate with McEncroe. Another suggestion involves a parallel with the Scottish MacCrae or McRae. Recent research suggests that many Manx surnames may actually be locative in origin, and statistical research is needed into their early occurrence. It is hoped that recent progress in the use of D.N.A. for genealogical purposes will enable us to establish whether we have any genetic links with either the Irish MacEncroes or the Scottish MacCreas or MacRaes. A Manx surname/D.N.A. project manxroots.info
has been running and has now attracted considerable support and involvement.
Our branch of the Crow sold up their property at the Nappin and left Lezayre in the mid-eighteenth century. The Glenduff Crows moved to Castletown about 50 years later. The heiress of another branch of the Crow family brought half of Ballachree into the Quine family, and her daughter married into the Joughins. The other part of Ballachree was donated to the established church by our most eminent relative, Bishop Charles Crow. These lands have stood the parish in good stead, and the New Vicarage, burial ground and parish hall all stand on part of Crow's Ballachree.
First indications from the Crow DNA studies suggest that the descendants of Charles Crow, who settled in Maryland, 1680's, have kinship with us. Further investigation is needed as to how close the connection is, and when they branched off from our family in the Isle of Man.
Bishop Crowe left no surviving descendants, but his younger brother Edward Crow settled at Spruce Hall, Co. Galway, and left six sons. No contact has yet been made with the descendants of Edward.
The Crowes have been written about before, notably by Canon R.D. Kermode in the Parochial History [Annals of Kirk Christ Lezayre]. The Fleetwood Berrys, descendants of Elizabeth Crow of the Irish branch who died in 1848 were scholars; Canon Henry Fleetwood Berry edited many important original documentary sources for Irish Genealogy. Later another descendant of the Irish branch also commissioned Mr. T.U. Sadlier, Deputy Ulster Herald to research the family, and his findings are deposited at the National Library of Ireland. Fortunately many original records were abstracted prior to the destruction of Irish records in 1922.
Sir William Crow (c1547 - 1627) as the successive incumbent of Onchan, Braddan and then Bride, as well as being Vicar General's Official, who presided in one of the two probate courts was very widely known all over the Island. He was given the courtesy style "Sir William" because although a beneficed clergyman, he was not a university graduate. None of his descendants of our name took a role in the public life or government of the Island as a whole again until the time of Frank Herbert Crowe (1877 - 1960). "F.H." as he was usually known, was a well known personality, both as a Methodist local preacher, and in business life a farmer and cattle dealer. He became Captain of the Parish of Kirk Michael in 1930 - then quite an achievement for a self-made man. Comparatively late in life he was elected to the House of Keys. Since his time, his nephew the late Norman Crowe served in the legislature and held high office, and a number of other Crowes of the Kirk Michael branch have stood for, or served in political office.
A few local families have been strongly associated with a particular trade or occupation. The early Crows were notable for the number of members they contributed to the clergy of the established church in the Isle of Man. Since the time of Matthias Crow (b. 1734) every generation has been involved with stone masonry or building, and this continues with members of one branch of the family still active in the building trade. Obviously many of our ancestors were farmers, and a small number of our kin remain in the agricultural industry today.
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