Results … not for my missing-in-action John Fraser the blacksmith of St Andrews East, but maybe for two of his other kids. Per the Presbyterian church register (which gives dates of birth) John had two daughters, my great-grandmother Catherine (1833-1914) and Eliza (4 Feb 1839), two sons John (25 Jan 1835) and Duncan (10 Nov 1837). Those last three kids have also been missing in action. Quebec censuses and the Drouin Collection have not yielded anything hopeful. The hunch was—of course—that they left la belle province. Why not start with Ontario? Their sister Catherine went to Renfrew in the late 1850s.
First up was Ontario marriages on Ancestry.ca. The name Duncan is way easier to search for than Eliza/Elizabeth/Elisabeth/etc but nothing rang any bells there. One, only ONE, marriage presented itself for an Elizabeth Fraser whose parents were John and Ann. While her mother was commonly known as Nancy, it's a nickname for Ann, her baptismal name. Parents' names and the location look promising although Elizabeth's age was close, but not exact, for an 1839 year of birth. The Ancestry entry is a transcription only, not a digital image, so the original (microfilmed) register must be consulted—more details like place of marriage and religious affiliation may be forthcoming.
Next, the Ontario Cemeteries Finding Aid and the exceptional Canadian Gravemarker Gallery. The latter with its on-site photographs is a wonderful and probably under-used resource. Yes; in Calvin United Church and First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Pembroke, Elizabeth is buried along with her husband and three children. The gravestone does not add to her information, but thank you Murray Pletsch and all your amazing volunteers!
Another search brought forth hundreds of cemeteries where the name Fraser occurs, in their Eastern Ontario section alone—I was looking for Duncan. Maybe I found him:
|"In Memory of DUNCAN FRASER Departed this life May [7?] 18[6?]1 AE. 24 YRS."
The stone is in St Fillan's Cemetery, Beckwith Township, Lanark County. The location is not far south of Pakenham. If the year is 1861 (what do you think??), his age is spot on with my Duncan. The 1861 census shows him as a farmer with a wife Ann, no children, in a household headed by an elderly McGinnis couple. I will have to look on the microfilm for a following page (not all have survived) that would clarify the household composition. Duncan is also shown as born in Scotland (ditto marks from lines above) so I can't get too hopeful. Newspapers of nearby Carleton Place or perhaps Arnprior or Renfrew might be available for potential reference to a young man's premature death. So where is his darn marriage?!
Elizabeth Fraser Gordon's alleged age at the time of her death leads appropriately to a February birth, but still a couple of years (1842) off. Pembroke newspapers are calling me for that one. Call me fanciful, but I like to think Elizabeth Gordon named her fourth daughter Kate after her sister Catherine who was always known as Kate in the family.
Baby steps on eggshells. Dare I hope this is progress? Pembroke cousins, where are you? I'm working my way through the gravemarker lists and photos, not optimistically, for their father John who could have died any time from 1838 on.