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Newspapers & Publications from the Isle of Man National Library

Posted on 30.10.2015
Manks Mercury 25.12.1792

Manx Newspapers are available online from 1792 to 1960 and can be used by family historians to find out more detail about the lives of your ancestors.

Details of births, marriages and deaths may be found that give more information than in the parish registers of the time, such as addresses and names of other family members. Published obituaries will give more detail on work colleagues and society wedding announcements will give details of people attending and the presents they gave.

Other reasons people will appear in the newspapers are numerous. They may have appeared in court cases as defendants or witnesses. They may have been involved in sporting or other social activities. They may appear in advertisements for businesses they ran. They may have participated in an unusual event. Lists of names also appear in “Visitors Lists” of hotels and boarding houses which were regularly published in the 19th century; as contributors to various charitable fund-raising events; and lists of people paying taxes for the upkeep of highways etc.

The newspapers are also used by researchers into specific events such as shipwrecks, the development of the mining industry, agriculture, fishing etc. Changes in the treatment of diseases and the opening of hospitals can be found. Over the last 2 years, many people have used the newspapers to research the impact of the Great War on the Island and find out more about the lives of their ancestors who took part, many of whom sadly lost their lives during the conflict.

The earliest newspapers in our collection were telling their readers on the Island more about world events and technological developments than about what was happening on the Island. They are therefore useful sources of information for the various conflicts that the British Army and Navy were involved with; the developing relationship with the United States and countries of the British Empire; the expanding railways; and telegraphic communications. They provide an interesting Manx perspective on Victorian Britain.

In addition to the Manx newspapers, this online service also includes other publications. These are: the Journal of the Manx Museum; the Manx Museum & National Trust Reports; and the Calf of Man Bird Observatory Reports. These provide insights into the way Manx National Heritage has developed over the last 100 or more years and are again useful research tools for those interested in the archaeological, cultural and natural heritage of the Isle of Man.

Coinciding with the improvements we are making to our iMuseum service, we have also added the German language WW1 internment camp newspapers we hold. These have been translated and can be searched in either German or English to reveal details of internees in Knockaloe and how they kept themselves amused and otherwise occupied during that difficult period in their lives.

Paul Weatherall (Manx National Heritage Library & Archives Services Officer)

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