John Kissag (d1775)

Sue Pedersen contacted me in 2005 with details that raised questions about the story of John Kissack/Kissag in Revd Rex Kissack's book "Seed of Isaac". If you are able to add to this investigation, then please contact me.

Sue Pedersen writes:

In the 'Seed of Isaac' Revd Kissack has "solved the mystery" of a John Kissack who died aged 70 in 1775 [maughold mi] by making him John Kermeen, the illegitimate son of William Kermeen's wife Ann Christian: read details

He decided that this Ann was the one named in the William Kissack of Lezayre incest Court case in which no child was mentioned: read details

The basis for this was that Ewan Christian of Maughold mentioned his grandson John Kissag in his will, and that he had a daughter Anne:

Ewan Christian of Maughold had at least two daughters, the eldest being Mariad who married John Kissage [Feb.27 1693 Maughold Articles of Marriage between John Kisage on his own part, and Ewan Christian on behalf of his daughter Mariad].John Kissagg & Maryad Christian married in Maughold on 8 Feb 1692/93. Mariod Kissag als Christian was buried in Lezayre on 1 Dec 1731.

The eldest son of Mariad Kisage als Christian and her husband John Kisage was John b.1693/4. So Mariad was almost certainly the mother of the grandson John Kissag who was mentioned in Ewan Christian of Maughold's will, and not the son of his other daughter Ann Kermeen als Christian.

Maughold register:

  • KISSACK John son of John Kissack bapt 25 Feb 1693/94 [Therefore was Ewan Christian's eldest grandson.]
  • KISSACK Edward son of John Kissack bapt 23 Jul 1697
  • KISSACK William son of John Kissack bapt 18 Jan 1701/02
  • KISSACK Ewan son of John Kissack bapt 8 Apr 1705

Revd Kissack wrote "The sons John and Edward of the registers (MgIII) never feature elsewhere..". [Except that John was in Ewan Christian's will!]

For the John Kissack in grandfather Ewan Christian's will to have been the illegitimate son of Ann Kermeen als Christian, we would have to accept that either there were two Ewan Christians in Maughold both with a grandson called John Kissack, or that there was one Ewan Christian with two grandsons called John Kissack, and that he didn't bother identifying to which one he was referring in his will.

We would also have to accept that William Kermeen of the Corony who was the eldest son of landholding family married Ann Christian with contract when she was 7 months pregnant to another man! [Marriage contract between Ann Christian and William Kermeen of the Corony 13 Oct.1704: they married 17th Oct.] And then that Wm Kermeen baptised her son [John Kermeen bapt 6 Jan 1704/5] as his own son when he was really John Kissack, which could have affected the Kermeen Corony land inheritance [and he was not registered as illegitimate (which Maughold regs did)]. Also that the bapt was for a son of this particular William Kermeen when there were two others in Maughold having children baptised at this time.

Additionally the Wm Kissage Court case wasn't until 28 Nov.1705, 11 months after John Kermeen was bapt 6 Jan 1704/5, and named the woman involved as "Ann Christian". Ann Kermeen als Christian on that date had been married to Wm Kermeen for over a year. The Court case named no child and no date of birth - not known whether he/she lived, or even whether there was a child.

Revd Kissack's "shred of corroborative evidence" about a Ballig connection was wrong. The William Kermeen he chose to be the father was not from Ballig, but from the Corony.

William Kermeen and Ann Christian did have a son John 'Kyrmeen', who married Isabel Callow and died in 1769, bapt not found, but he was a younger son. Their heir William was b.1711 [clear land records].

I have located a possibility for the John Kissack who died 1775 aged 70 [MI] whom Revd Kissack thought was John Kermeen and wrote his whole Ann Christian/Kermeen story about. Revd K. writes: "It was round John`s provenance that the mystery lay. His tombstone and the parish registers indicate that he would have been born in 1705. But there is just no record of any such John Kissack. A child of that name was born that year in Lezayre but died within the year. A John, son of Ewan of Kerrowmoar was born in 1708, but died in 1714. In Maughold, no John was born in the family between 1692 and 1726".

There is no evidence that the John son of Robert Kissack, bapt Lezayre 5 Oct 1705, "died within the year". There is no burial for him in either Lezayre or Andreas before the death of Robert Kissack of Andreas. Revd Kissack appears to have based this assumption on the will of Robert Kissack of Andreas who married Bessy Christian of Bride, and who had only one child, Bessy: He has assumed that John was his son, and therefore must have died before his will.

He wrote: "In 1704 Robert "the Miller" married at Andreas Bessie Christian of a good Bride family (AnIIa), and had a son John in 1705. His parents, John and Joney, both died in 1705, as did baby John. In December 1706 Robert himself died within a few days of the birth of a daughter Elizabeth".

Could there have been two Robert Kissacks - one in Lezayre and one in Andreas, and Revd Kissack has mixed their records together because of the lack of records in Lezayre? Lezayre registers on film date only from 1696, so it is possible that there was another Robert in Lezayre and many unknown Kissack marriages there. The will looks like a farmer in Andreas [cutting hay] - but this theory needs far more research from a Kissack researcher.

One other comment re. Robert Kissack the miller of Lezayre who married Bessie Christian in Andreas in 1704, according to Revd Kissack. The Andreas parish register says she was from Bride, but doesn't say Robert was from a parish other than Andreas at the time of their marriage. You need to look at their marriage contract which Revd K mentions, and also at the land records he describes.

Presumably there are Kissack descendants of the John in the Maughold MI [died 1775 aged 70, which started all this] and his wife Isabel Kerruish, who are probably being misled if they accept the illegitimacy and the Ann Kermeen als Christian ancestor.

By the way, Revd K. has the exec of Ewan Christian's will wrong - it wasn't "his executor seemingly his only child, a daughter, Ann Kermeen" - the exec was his wife, and Anne was mentioned only because of money still owing from her marriage settlement. Everything he owned went to his wife apart from the sole legacy "a Heifer and ye 3 quarters of ye Heifer" [not "a sheep"] to their grandson. I cannot see why he concludes that "Here was a child, John Kissack, which smacked of illegitimacy" - when it was quite usual to name an eldest grandchild in a will.

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