Difference between revisions of "Skancke and the Isle of Man"

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Male descendants of Halstein Torleifsson on Geni, gathered by [http://historylinktools.herokuapp.com/graph?profile=profile-g6000000002323786359&type=descendant&color=gender HistoryLink descendant graph], includes:
Male descendants of Halstein Torleifsson on Geni, gathered by [http://historylinktools.herokuapp.com/graph?profile=profile-g6000000002323786359&type=descendant&color=gender HistoryLink descendant graph], includes:
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Carsten-Schanche/6000000004252557865 Carsten Henrich Schanche], Trondheim 1744
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Carsten-Schanche/6000000004252557865 Carsten Henrich Schanche], Trondheim 1744 - this is the one that descends through Joan, and is thus presumably the branch claimed to be R1a above.
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Erik-Eriksson-Hofsted/6000000001729143188 Erik Eriksson Hofsted], 1751
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Erik-Eriksson-Hofsted/6000000001729143188 Erik Eriksson Hofsted], 1751
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Olof-J%C3%B6nsson/6000000037519125062 Olof Jönsson], Jämtland 1712
* [https://www.geni.com/people/Olof-J%C3%B6nsson/6000000037519125062 Olof Jönsson], Jämtland 1712

Revision as of 23:20, 11 December 2016

This page is created based on a debate in the Geni discussion fora about the relationship (or lack of proof thereof) between the following historical persons:

The claim being made is that Harald was the father of Torlack, who was the father of Hallstein. The counterclaim is that there isn't enough evidence available to support either of those linkages.

The arguments being cited are:

  • Use of the Triskelion (three legs joined at the hip) by both the Skancke family and the kingdom of Man
  • Matching dates
  • Oral traditions

Timeline of the Isle of Man

Mostly from Wikipedia's Man history and Wikipedia's list of rulers of Man.

  • 1113: Olaf Godredsson rules Man
  • 1130s: First bishop appointed
  • 1152: End of Olaf's reign
  • 1153: Godred Olafsson takes the throne
  • 1158: End of Godred's rule
  • 1187: Ragnald takes the throne
  • 1229: End of Ragnald's rule
  • 1249: Harald Gudrødsson ursups the throne (from Harald's geni page) Alexander III takes the throne of Scotland at age 7.
  • 1250: Harald summoned to Norway, and returns with Magnus, who takes over.
  • 1252: Magnus Olafsson takes the throne (maybe 1254?)
  • 1261: Alexander III negotiates for a takeover
  • 1263: Battle of Largs (inconclusive)
  • 1264: All islands but Mann surrendered to Alexander, Mann under homage
  • 1265: End of Magnus' rule (death)
  • 1266: Magnus "Lagabøter" of Norway cedes the islands at the Treaty of Perth
  • 1267: Alexander III sends an expedition against "the rebels of Mann"
  • 1275: Uprising under Gudrødr Magnusson. Ends in the Battle of Ronaldsway - Scottish rule established
  • 1290: Walter de Huntercombe sent by the English king to take possession of Mann
  • 1293: Two women, Aufrica de Connaught, a kinswoman of Magnus (possibly daughter), and Mary, niece of King of Magnus and wife of John Waldboef, separately petition the English king for the rulership of Man based on their kinship to Magnus.
  • 1313: Robert the Bruce conquers Mann
  • 1333: The English king Edward III declares Man an independent kingdom under the rule of the Earl of Salisbury
  • 1346: England defeats Scotland (not on Man). Rule becomes confused.
  • 1347-1350: The Black Death savages Europe.
  • 1399: Henry IV, claiming Man by right of conquest, grants the title of "Lord of Man" to Henry Percy

Timeline of the Skanckes

  • 1295: Torlack Schenck is mentioned in Regesta Norvegica II, nr 790. This source does not contain a sigil. The exact transcription of his name has been debated.
  • 1303: Purported date of the letter to Erling Amundsen from which Iver Hirtzholm copied the sigil.
  • 1303: Hallstein Torleifsson mentioned (DN b.III, no.53, 56). The name does not contain "Skanke" or "Schenk"; just "Hallstein Torleifsson". III #56 contains the triskelion sigil.
  • 1326: Hallstein Torleifson is "sysselmann" in Jämtland (DN b.IV, no.168)
  • 1345: Nils Hallsteinson pays two farms and a fishing right to atone for a murder (DN X 50, 51). X #51 contains the triskelion sigil.
  • 1348: Nils Hallsteinson fails to show up for a (civil) trial (seems to be a matter of a debt) (DN III #254)
  • 1348: Nikolas Hallsteinson is represented by his wife Kristin Hallvardsdatter in a matter of property at Häggen, Oviken (RN 1095)
  • 1394: Sale of a farm in Hackås, Sweden from Markus Nifson to Karl Pederson. This might be relevant if Markus Nifson is read as Markus Nilsson, and is assumed to be the son of Nils Hallsteinson. SDHK-nr: 14272
  • 1397: One-legged sigil used on Ønd Pederson's grave
  • 1474: One-legged sigil with feathers used by Ørjan Karlson

Reference for the sigils: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-nb_digibok_2009052603006 (only accessible from Norwegian IPs)

There is no reference mentioning the inferred link (presumably a Peder Nilsson) between Ønd Pederson and Nils Hallsteinson.

The story of the princess who went to Norway

In a book by J. Johnson, "A View of the Jurisprudence of the Isle of Man with the History of its Ancient Constitution, Legislative Government and Extraordinary Privileges: together with the Practice of the Courts", Edinburgh, 1811, p. 5, it is stated that "there seems to have been a third candidate for the Manx throne in 1292, namely, a Princess Maude (or Matilda) who is stated by J. Johnson to have gone to Nidaros (Norway) in 1292, taking with her a considerable number of Manx documents, in order to persue her claim to the throne of Man." (cited from a Rootsweb discussion). Maude is described as a sister of King Magnus III and as wife of Torleif, son of Harald Godreson, on page 190 of the first of those books (presumably G. V. C. Young's). See also the chart on page 203.

Section 3 of 'The Supposed True Chronicle of the Isle of Man' reprinted in volume 1 (the only volume) of 'An Abstract of the Laws, Customs, and Ordinances of the Isle of Man' edited by James Gill (Attorney-General of the Isle of Man), Manx Society, publications volume 12, 1866 says:

"#3 Insomuch that the last named Reginald had no son, but one daughter named Mary, to whom the right descended, which Mary was Queen of Mann and Countess of Straherne; who taking with her all her Charters and Deeds of the Land of Mann fled to the King of England, Edward the first, in the twentieth year of his reign, being in St John's Town in Scotland, otherwise called Perth, A.D. 1292. "#4 For Alexander, King of Scots, arrived at Roynaldsway, and took possession of the land of Mann, against which the said Mary did complain before the King of England."

There's a long discussion on pages 3-17 of Gill's book.

The claim by Johnson is then cited by G. V. C. Young in "The History of the Isle of Man under the Norse".

George Waldron, in his 1726 book on Man, says that the archives of the island were carried away to Trondheim "by the Norwegians", but does not mention a princess in this context.

Evidence of the Legged Triskelion

On the Isle of Man

  • The flag of the Isle of Man features a triskelion; it was adopted in 1932.
  • The Coat of Arms of the Isle of Man appears in multiple rolls including the Camden roll believed to have been created ca 1280.
  • The "Manx sword" has the triskelion in its pommel, and has traditionally been connected to Olaf the Black, but analysis of the sword indicates that it's a 15h century design.

In the Skancke family

The name "Skancke" means "leg" or "shank". Whether it's singular or plural is debatable; in contemporary Danish, it's a plural. In Swedish the common definite form is "Skanka".

Skanke in heraldry is used as a description for any heraldry containing a foot. (David Widerberg Holden).

The most commonly seen coat of arms for the Skancke family has a single leg, often wearing armor (as quoted from the Norwegian Wikipedia). The examples seen with three legs are:

  • Iver Hirtzholm's book of arms (1670ish), claiming as its source a letter from 1303 related to Erling Amundsen. The legs here are bare. (shield #46)
  • The two letters from Diplomentarum Norvegicum cited above.


  • The Flag of Sicily has a triskelion of bare legs and a gorgon. Pliny the Elder (AD 23-79) mentions this symbol and relates it to the shape of the island. (Source: English Wikipedia)
  • Jean "Baudrain" de La Heuze
  • William Montagu, Comte de Salisbury - titled king of Man 1344-1392

A Norwegian book of arms (by Henning Sollied, approx 1940) with multiple coats of arms featuring legs is here: http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-nb_digimanus_204993 http://urn.nb.no/URN:NBN:no-nb_digimanus_204994 - #25 is the triskelion of 3 bare legs, and the book's writer advances the theory (overleaf) that this coat of arms belongs to Hallstein Thorleifsson "som altsaa maa være af de rette gamle Schanker", (who then have to be of the right old Schankes) since Erling Amundson's coat of arms was different. This is likely Erling Amundsson Hildugard (1250-1319), king's counsel (riksråd).

Evidence of traditions

"On Frøsøn in Jämtland from where the Skankes ruled the community, there is made a "historical trail" for pupils telling the story and pointing at the possible link to Isle of Man. This is part of basic education in primary school in Østersund." (Quote from Stein Aage Sørvig)

The Skanke foundation has an unsigned article repeating the story.

Authorities cited

G. V. C (Barney) Young (1921-2006)

George Vaughan Chichester Young (1921-2006) was born in Londonderry, educated in law in Belfast, served in the Royal Navy, qualified as a solicitor in 1946, and has worked in the Isle of Man in various legal posts since 1973. (Source: introduction to "From the Vikings to the Reformation: A Chronicle of the Faroe Islands up to 1538" - Google Books), obituary)

Quote from "Young, G.V.C.: A Brief History of the Isle of Man, The Mansk-Svenska Publishing Co. Ltd., Peel, Isle of Man, 2001: p. 12":

The rebellion {of 1275} was, however, abortive and resulted in some members of the royal family emigrating to Norway, where their descendants are still to be found in the Norwegian family of Skankes, the Swedish family of Skunck(e)s and the Danish family of Barfods. The emigrants took with them as their Arms "the three legs", which had been the Royal Arms of the Sudreyan Kings since about the middle of the thirteenth century. These Arms (a modification of the ancient Indo-Germanic sun symbol) were simplified in Norway and Sweden to one leg and in Denmark to three bare feet, and later to one bare foot

This has been cited by the Skanke Association, and the claim is repeated in materials published on Man

P. A. Munch (1810-1863)

Wikipedia (Norwegian)

Nils Gabriel Ahnlund (1889-1957)

Biography (Swedish Wikipedia)

In "Jämtland og Härjedalens historia", he wrote that Hallsteins sigill was similar to both Isle of Man and Sicily. (Quoted by Remi)

Roger de Robelin

Rejects the relationship between the Skanckes and the Isle of Man on pages 10, 12 and 384 in his book about the Skanke family.

A review of his "Skanke-ätten" (1995) in genealogi.no quotes him as saying that "as far as he has had time to research this, he has not found sources that can document a connection between the Skankes of Jämtland and the old royal house of the Isle of Man".

Lars Løberg (born 1960)

Genealogist and diplomat. Chair of the Norwegian Genealogical Society (NSF) 1999-2007. Biography

In a discussion on NSF-forum (in English), he says that the Man theory is "not genealogically sustainable", and says "This isn't even fanciful speculations. It is science fiction."

Stewart Baldwin

His material on the kings of Man is hosted at Rootsweb.

He weighted in on a discussion about the idea that a daugther of Olaf the Black went to Norway in 1292.

Hans Cappelen

Author of several books on Norwegian heraldry (see genealogi.no)

Cite: "En teori er lansert om at en slekt Skanke skal være etterkommer av kongeslekten på øya Man, fordi Man har tre rustningskledte ben i triskelion som våpenmerke fra middelalderen. Heraldisk sett er denne teorien ikke troverdig fordi det er mange steder, personer og slekter som bruker rustningskledt ben (ett eller flere) i våpenskjold." (heraldik.se)

James Gell

Attorney-General of the Isle of Man 1866-1898 according to Wikipedia, published "An Abstract of the Laws, Customs, and Ordinances of the Isle of Man" in 1866 (source, there spelled as "James Gill")

James Johnson

Published "A View of the Jurisprudence of the Isle of Man with the History of its Ancient Constitution, Legislative Government and Extraordinary Privileges: together with the Practice of the Courts" in 1811.

George Waldron

English topographer and poet (1690-1730). Wikipedia, Dictionary of National Biography

Published "A Description of the Isle of Man", written 1726. Published in several editions, and quoted by many.

The most relevant quote is this: "The courts of Judicature are also kept here, and what records of the Island are yet remaining: but the greatest part of them, in troublesome times, were carried away by the Norwegians, and deposited among the archives of the Bishops of Drunton [Drontheim, Trondheim] (10) in Norway, where they still remain; tho' a few years since, Mr. Stevenson, an eminent, worthy, and learned merchant of Dublin, offered the then Bishop of Drunton a considerable sum of money for the purchase of them, designing to restore and present them to the Island, but the Bishop of Drunton would not part with them on any. terms." - http://www.isle-of-man.com/manxnotebook/manxsoc/msvol11/p01.htm

DNA evidence

Quote from Justin Swanström link:

The Skanke project shows a particular DNA signature (S3207). This is a subgroup of Z18, which is known to be a Germanic / Viking group. It makes sense that S3207 could be a lineage in Norway and the Scandinavian kingdoms in the Hebrides and Man. The group even includes the descendant of a man named Alexander Douglas from Galloway.

But the thing that stands out for me is that it does not include any of the families that claim to have a male line descent from the kings of Man.

Quote from David Widerberg Howden link:

At this point the Skanke lineage can be proven back by primary sources to Karl Pedersson Skanke (ca. 1360-1430). He was most probably brother of Önd. Ahnlund writes that they also had a Brother Joan, but Y-DNA test of four of Karls descendants (R1b) suggests that Joans descendant (R1a) didnt share the paternal lineage. (Need more descendants to confirm). Who theyr father was is not at all certain, it is suggested that he is Peter Nikulasson, who was mentioned in DN.II: no. 527, but according to Ahnlund there are other candidates as well. Who this Peter Nikulasson was son of is also not proven.. I also see Björn Espell claiming that Peder Nilsson was married to Kristina Hallvardsdotter, daughter of Hallvard Karlsson (mentioned in DN.XXI: no. 21), and Peder couldnt possibly be the same as was married to Elin Ranesdatter in DN.II: no. 527..

Quote from David Widerberg Howden link:

Well the Project has so far tested 7 with supposed paternal lineage back to Skanke. So far: Mjälle-ätten (I-Z58) and Ope-ätten (I-S4795) has haplogroup I1. Five descendants of Karl Pedersson is R1b, the descendant of Joan of Sanne is R1a.

I assume that this Karl Pedersson, the earliest "verified Skancke", is meant.

Male descendants of Halstein Torleifsson on Geni, gathered by HistoryLink descendant graph, includes:

Erik, Olof and Peder are descended through Karl Pedersen Skanke. The 3 others branch off earlier.

As of December 2016, all listed male descendants to the 15th generation are descended through one of these 6 forefathers. None of them have Y-markers placed by the Geni DNA-match upload system.

Popular sources

These are non-authoritative; the interesting part is where they claim to have information from.

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