The Isle of Man has an interesting and rich history. This is in no small part due to the fact that the island is uniquely situated between the coasts of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales -- stand on its highest point, Snaefell, and on a clear day you can see all four countries.
Between the 5th and 8th centuries the Island came under the sovereignty of various Welsh kings whose reign extended to the Isle of Man. They were styled King of Ynys Manaw, the Welsh name for the Island. The 8th century saw Viking invasion and rule, establishing a Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, and a Manx parliament. Scandinavian rule came to an end in 1265, when the island became caught up in a battle between Scotland and England; control passing between the two. By the 15th century, sovereignty was in the hands of the English Crown, and the Island was governed by hereditary Lordship. The Island now has its own democratic parliament.
The native language, Manx, was spoken up until the 1970s, when sadly its last native speaker died. It is now beginning to see some signs of revival. Manx, or Manx Gaelic, is a Goidelic language, along with Scots Gaelic and Irish. These Goidelic languages, combined with the Brytholic (Welsh, Cornish, Breton) make up the main Celtic languages.
Names in the Isle of Man therefore, are a rich mixture of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and Norse influences as well as uniquely Manx creations. Many are the popular names you would expect (Oliver, Jack, Olivia, Ruby...) but mixed in are some of the Island's own gems.
The names below I have sourced from historical documents (census and manorial rolls), scholarly texts on the subject, and from birth announcements from the Isle of Man. Names that have been found in birth announcements from the last five years have been underlined.
Abban - A 6th century Irish saint who is commemorated at Keeill Abban ("chaple of Abban") in Braddan. The name is also found in Ireland and means "little abbot."
Aedan - The Manx (and old Irish) version of Aidan, a diminutive of the Old Irish Áed meaning "fire".
Aleyn - A form of Alan.
Allow, Allowe, Aloe - A Manx name, used up until the 17th century. The etymology is uncertain. Kneen atrributes it to being derived from the Old Norse element alfr "elf". Gill sees it as a derivation of the Manx surname Callow < MacCalo < Mac Calbach, from the Gaelic name Calbhach "bold".
Aulay - Ultimately from the Norse name Áleifr (Olaf). Olaf Godredsson was 12th century King of Mann, and Olaf the Black ruled the Island in the 13th century.
Carbry - From the Old Irish Cairbre, "charioteer", The parish of Arbory (Kirk Carbery < Kirk Cairbre) is named for St Cairbre, disciple of St Patrick.
Cristen - Manx form of Christian. Used historically on both men and women, more so on women from the 15th century but is now found more on boys. Cristen was Prioress of Douglas in 1408.
Dolyn, Dolen, Donal- Manx form of Donald. From the Old Irish Domhnall "world mighty". The name is found on many medieval religious figures in Manx history.
Doolish - The Manx form of Douglas and the name of the island's principle town.
Eamon - Gaelic form of Edmund, also popular in Scotland and Ireland.
Ean - Manx version of Ian, via Eoin, the Gaelic form of John.
Finlo, Ffinlo, Fynlo, - An Old Manx name, still used today. It derives from fionn Lugh "fair Lugh", Lugh being an ancient Celtic god once worshipped in Mann.
Gibbon - Manx form of Gilbert. Common in earlier times.
Gilcrist - Common early Manx name. Literally "servant of Christ". Several other names appear in Manx records with the Gil- prefix including Gilander / Gilandrew ("servant of St Andrew"), Gilcolm ("servant of St Columba") Gilmartin ("servant of St Martin"), Gilmore / Gilmurry ("servant of St Mary"), Gilno
("servant of the Saints") and Gilpatric ("servant of St. Patrick).
Illiam - The Manx form of William.
Jamys - The Manx form of James, equivalent with the Scottish Seumas.
Jole - An old Manx name name, still used today, derived from the Old Norse Jolfr "Yule".
Juan - Found in earlier texts as Huan, Juan is now seems quite popular in Mann. Either a form of Eoghan via Euan, or a form of John via Eoin or Johan. It is pronounced JOO-un.
Kerran - Manx form of Kieran. From the Gaelic ciar "black".
Lonan - The name of several Irish saints. St Lonan, nephew of St Patrick, is the namesake of the parish of Lonan in Mann. The name derives from the Gaelic lon "blackbird".
Mian - A Manx diminutive of Matthew via Matthias.
Mold - A very common name in the 15th and 16th centuries. The name possibly derives from Maughold, the patron saint of the Isle of Man, which itself is a form of the Irish MacCaille "son of the wood".
Orry, Gorry - The Manx forms of Godfrey. Godred was borne by three Manx kings. The name derives from the Norse Guðfriðr "god's peace."
Pheric - The Manx form of Patrick.
Rory - Also used in Ireland and Scotland.
Thormot - From the Norse Þórmóðr (Tormod) "Thor's mind."
Vannin - The Manx name for the Isle of Man is Ellan Vannin.
Aalin - From the Manx vocabulary word meaning "beautiful."
Aalish, Aelish, Ealee - The Manx form of Alice.
Africa, Aufrica, Averick, Aurick, Affric - Many noble medieval women of Mann (and others in Ireland and Scotland) bore this name, including the wife and also a daughter of King Olave I; the daughter of King Godred II; and Aufrica de Connaught, heiress of Mann. Some scholars, such as O'Corrain & Maguire, attribute the name as a borrowing of "Africa". Others, such as Macbain and W.J.Watson derive its meaning from the Gaelic ath, an intensifying prefix, and breac "dappled, freckled." Given that Africa and Aufrica appear as Latinised forms of Affric -- and given the archetypal freckled complexion of the Gaels -- the latter explanation has most weight.
Bahee - A popular Manx name, now fallen out of use. The etymology is uncertain.
Blaanid - A diminutive of blaa "flower". This is the name of a legendary Manx princess, cognate with the Irish Blathnat.
Breeshey, Breesha - Manx forms of Bridget. The ancient Celtic goddess Brigid was worshipped in Mann as well as Ireland. In Manx, the word bree means 'strength, vigour.'
Calybrid, Calibrid - "Female devotee of St.Brigid." Common name in 15th and 16th centuries, and most likely before. As with the masculine Gil- prefix (see above), Caly- was prefixed to names of saints to form feminine forenames such as Calycrist ("devotee of Christ"), Calyhony ("devotee of the Church"), Calypatric ("devotee of St. Patrick") and Calyvorra / Calyvorry ("devotee of St. Mary").
Ealisaid - The Manx form of Elizabeth.
Eubonia - An ancient name for the Isle of Man used as a forename in the 18th century.
Graihagh - From the Manx vocabulary word meaning "lovable". It's pronounced GRAY-ah.
Grayse - The Manx word for "grace", used as a name.
Ibot, Ibott, Isot, Isott - Manx diminutives of Isabel.
Joney, Jonee - Manx diminutive of Joan.
Kirree - Appears to be the Manx version of Kitty, but is also the vocabulary word for "sheep." It is found as the subject of two Manx folk songs: Ny Kirree Fo 'Niaghtey (The Sheep Under the Snow) and O Kirree T'ou Goll Dy Faagail Mee (Oh Kirree, Thou Wilt Leave Me).
Lilee - The Manx word for "lily", used as a name.
Malane - Manx form of Madeline. Moirrey Malene is the Manx name of Mary Magdalene.
Margaid - Manx form of Margaret.
Moirrey, Voirrey - Manx form of Mary, now found more in the vocative form Voirrey.
Mona - The poetic name for the Isle of Man. Popular in the 19th century.
Onnee - The Manx form of Annie.
Paaie, Pyee - A diminutive of Margaret, equivalent to Peggy.
Sessott, Sissott - Manx diminutives of Cecilia.
Vorgell - Aspirated form of Morgell, from the Irish Muirgel "sea-bright."