We’ve had a bit of a Collister day, although the Quilliam side of the family was not left out. We lunched with Fenella Collister, the first person with my surname I’ve ever met who was not an immediate family member. She’d contacted me earlier this year because of her interest in paintings from the Isle of Man. We had a great lunch and a good chat and decided we probably were related but it might take a bit of work to prove it.
The morning had been spent at the Manx museum where we first found the “Elk” skeleton which was dug up on a Collister family farm in 1897. My brother remembers our father recounting that he had been sent to this farm (Close y Garey) to convalesce and had been told off for making a hole in the earth floor so he could play marbles.
Following our visit to the excellent museum we visited their archives. I was a bit embarrassed not to have better information about my grandparents but the very helpful chap at the counter soon found that William and Frances (née Quilliam) Collister were, according to the 1911 census, living, along with their one year old daughter (Elsie) at 8 Richmond Grove, Douglas. By coincidence this was only three streets from the museum so we went and took the photo below.
After our lunch with Fen we headed for the bus station to go to Peel and visit the castle and see where my grandmother “Frances” had been born. By the time we got on the bus it was raining and by the time we reached Peel it was bucketing down, which left out of doors activities off the agenda, so we slunk off to the House of Manannnan museum which had good multimedia presentations on most aspects of Manx history. Included was a presentation about Captain Quilliam who was Nelson’s helmsman at Trafalgar. Family history suggests that he was an ancestor but I understand that most Quilliams claim him.
A real family day even if we did not see much of Peel. We might be able to get back there on Sunday morning before we catch the ferry to Liverpool.