13 September 2011

Frasers Part 17: Buckle Down

The family histories I have been working on have revealed my own particular bent. Apparently I am more interested in pushing back than plunging forward. Thus, a few of the descending branches from Scotland and Latvia peter out with no further information known. The investigation of those branches is ongoing, despite a lot of negativity from the usual sources, just at a reduced priority level.

Not to suggest that I don’t welcome the discovery of new cousins and branch twigs. Please keep the new information and connections coming! For one thing, unlike other lines in my ancestry, the Frasers leave me bereft of family photographs.

I’m more obsessed with where they trod—the ancestors who gave me and my siblings and my children some share of their DNA. I love to investigate the locations. For the most part I’ve had success with both North American and overseas origins. But the difficult Frasers continue to bedevil me. It’s a good time to stop the research, temporarily, and buckle down to writing. Putting it in writing is always the best way to find coherence, defining the problem areas.

Besides not knowing exactly when or how each emigrant arrived in Lower Canada, never mind the miseries of common-forename proliferation, some of the main research weaknesses and gaps among my Argenteuil ancestors are:

Inverness-shire John Fraser:
● his parish of origin in Inverness-shire is unknown;
● most Inverness-shire parish registers are far from comprehensive for the 17th-18th century population (cannot confirm his Scottish-born children, his first marriage, his own baptism);
● his date of death and place of burial are unknown;
● next to nothing is known about his first wife (Fraser) and second wife (McIntyre);
● children who left St. Andrews East also left no discernible tracks.  

Perthshire John Fraser:
● the blacksmith disappeared from St Andrews East between 1839 and 1842;
● three of his four children disappear from the radar after one census (when they were teenagers);
● his widow’s later life has no clues to his fate;
● his Robertson mother in Scotland is still a cipher;
● the Killin burial ground (Scotland) is in bad shape, not helping with probable earlier generations. 

Eons ago I began the Fraser family history in a folksy way, thinking it would be less confusing for uninitiated family members, because of the serial Frasers. Now, I’m revising to treat it in more acceptable genealogical form. As I go, one problem at a time can be addressed. Maybe the above lists will shrink!

There’s an incomplete feeling without more locations and dates to hang my hat on, figuratively speaking ... a bit of existential angst in my genetic code. Nevertheless, I am descended from a multitude of Frasers. I am as Fraser as they come.


CallieK said...

I have eerily similar problems with both the McVicar's and the McCluskey's in my line and I'm still convinced that Argenteuil is some kind of genealogical black hole.

BDM said...

Black hole .. LOL .. we agree on that! I am watching for your names when I'm (intermittently) browsing the few sources available.