17 February 2012

Frasers Part 19 (Inverness-shire)

From a work in progress: regarding John Fraser, “from Inverness-shire,” who emigrated about 1805 to settle on the River Rouge Road, St. Andrews East, Argenteuil County, Quebec.

John’s second wife Margery McIntyre is my direct ancestor but her background is as obscure as that of his first wife, Ann Fraser. Margery was born about 1785 and died at St Andrews, Quebec, (“Marjory McIntyre, widow of Jn. Fraser”) 16 May 1869 at age 84.[1] Her age at death is consistent with her age at their marriage date.[2] She was also recorded as Mary, Margaret or Marion in different sources. Page by page searches of the 1861 census for the parish fail to show where and with whom she was living; the Ancestry database is equally unrewarding. Although the Presbyterian church register gives us her date of death, as with husband John there is no surviving gravestone. The few McIntyre burials in St. Andrews Cemetery are not enlightening.

Perhaps a Catherine McIntyre, age 75 in the 1851 census at St. Andrews and married to John Cameron age 88, is her sister or close relative.[3] That census—the only record where Catherine has been found to date—places her birth year ca.1777. The Cameron couple were in the River Rouge cluster two households away from Margery’s stepson James Fraser. Angus Cameron age 34 (born in Canada) is living with them; he is married to Harriett Dochsteter and they have two very young children. Angus appears to be the son of John and Catherine, born in the last years of Catherine’s fertility. The incumbent of the Grenville & Chatham Presbyterian Church performed the Cameron-Dochstetter marriage on 25 September 1844 at River Rouge; Ewen Cameron and Peter Taylor were witnesses.[4] Parents of the bride and groom were customarily not recorded by the clergy. The same register contains a whole slew of Cameron marriages—I expect some of them were children of John and Catherine.

Inverlochy Castle, Fort William; TripAdvisor photo
According to local history compiler Thomas, a John Cameron came to Côte du Midi in Argenteuil “about 1802.”[5] If this man, known as Preacher Cameron, is the same as the 88-year-old in 1851, then his storied origin in Fort William, Scotland, could be significant for McIntyre research. An Internet correspondent confirmed that the “Preacher” was indeed Catherine McIntyre’s husband, but he/she has not replied with a source for the information.[6] Unfortunately, I have not found a marriage for John and Catherine (parameters 1793-1806) in the parish registers database of ScotlandsPeople, nor in early Presbyterian registers of Quebec. It’s possible they were married by a dissenting minister whose records are unavailable. Baptisms of Catherine and Margery (various spellings) born to a McIntyre couple in the relevant time span are also not forthcoming.

The Internet provides several avenues for essential background information. Preacher clearly implies that John Cameron had the gift of oratory (no doubt based on intensive bible studies) to spread the gospel. In pioneer times, such a man was a great comfort to the faithful in the absence of an ordained minister. Just in case, I did look at Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae (potted biographies of Scottish clergy) but did not find the volume for Inverness-shire; Argyll presented no likely John Camerons.[7]

An important step is to acquaint myself with the location. Fort William in Scotland, purported origin of John Cameron, refers to both a fort and a town, strategically located at the north end of Loch Linnhe. The site is said to be in the parishes of Kilmallie and Kilmonivaig.[8] Accordingly, Kilmallie straddles the Great Glen, and its northwestern portion is the only Argyll component; Kilmonivaig shares the intersection in Fort William and then falls south of its sister parish.

While the FamilySearch Wiki places Kilmallie completely in Argyll,[9] other sources say the town is in Kilmallie, Inverness-shire.[10] The former source states basically there are no marriage records from September 1790 to February 1811; kirk sessions records exist only from 1836. The town had name changes over the centuries ... Gordonsburgh, Maryburgh, Duncansburgh, and finally the burgh of Fort William.[11]
North Argyll parishes from Lochaber and North Argyll Family History Group

I can see the headache coming ... fluid parish boundaries and jurisdictions will make for interestingly complex research (assuming there are some sources to investigate)! I’m also aware that an emigrant who said he was “from” a certain place may have named it only as the nearest, presumably better-known, point of reference.

The first Statistical Account of Scotland tells me more about the parish and its people.[12] Rev. Mr. Alexander Fraser compiled the Kilmallie report. At this time in the 1790s, the town was referred to as Maryburgh (population 1,200 with 194 at the fort garrison). In brief, the inhabitants (apart from the town) raised cattle and crops of oats, barley, and potatoes; their diet consisted largely of the latter. Their noted prejudice against smallpox inoculation seems indicative of a general Highland distrust of intrusive authority. It was customary for many to migrate seasonally to “the Low Countries” at harvest time for employment. Cameron of Lochiel and the Duke of Gordon were two of the main estate owners.

Here’s the bad news (but totally expected) straight from Mr. Fraser:
“For several reasons, it is almost impossible to keep an exact register of baptisms and marriages, in so extensive a parish as this. Unless the clergyman, at the time of these ordinances, write down, in a memorandum book, and transmit them afterward to the session clerk, they will never be registered; for the parties themselves either neglect, or disregard to do it. Besides, it is believed, that the Papists and Episcopalians keep a separate register of their own births and marriages. And, of deaths, no register has ever yet been attempted to be kept in the parish.” 

I am a long way from connecting any dots to the unproven McIntyre sisters!

[This produced a marathon of citations, not all to my satisfaction, but a great way to practice and improve!]
1. St. Andrews (St. Andrews East, Quebec) Presbyterian register, Vol. III, p. 60; correspondence Rev. W. Harold Reid to Brenda Merriman, 23 September 1970.
2. St. Gabriel Street (Montreal, Quebec) Presbyterian [first] register of baptisms, marriage, and burials, p. 47, Fraser-McIntyre marriage, 1808; Archives of Ontario (AO) microfilm MS 351 reel 1. Also, “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967,” digital image, Ancestry.ca (www.ancestry.ca/ : accessed 19 April 2008) where he is indexed as John Francer.
3 John Cameron household, 1851 Census Canada East, District 33, Deux Montagnes, E.D. 11, parish of St. Andrews, sheet 21, stamped p. 41; LAC microfilm C-1147.
4 “Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection) 1621-1967,” digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 25 September 2011), Cameron-Doxstader marriage, 1844; citing Chatham-Grenville Presbyterian register, p. 45.

5. Cyrus Thomas, Histories of the Counties Argenteuil, Quebec and Prescott, Ontario (1896; reprint Bellevville, ON: Mika Publishing, 1981), 144.
6. Anders153, “Still looking for McLean connections in River Rouge, Cote du Midi, St. Andrews E,” Rootsweb’s Argenteuil message board (http://boards.ancestry.com/localities.northam.canada.quebec.laurentides.argenteuil), 3 September 2011.
7. Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Google books; accessed 14 February 2012.
8. ScotlandsPlaces (http://www.scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/ : accessed 14 February 2012).
9. “Kilmallie, Argyl[sic], Scotland,” FamilySearch Wiki (https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Kilmallie,_Argyl,_Scotland : accessed 15 February 2012).
10. Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, vol. 6, p. 498, digital image, Electric Scotland (http://www.electricscotland.com/history/gazetteer/vol6page498.htm : accessed 15 February 2012). “Maps of north and south Argyll Parishes – 19th Century,” Lochaber and North Argyll Family History Group (http://www.lochaberandnorthargyllfamilyhistorygroup.org.ukid70.html : accessed 15 February 2012).
11. Gazetteer for Scotland (http://www.scottish-places.info/towns/ : accessed 14 February 2012).
12. Sir John Sinclair, Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-1799, vol. 8 [includes Inverness-shire], p. 410; University of Edinburgh, Edina Data Centre (http://stat-acc-scot.edina.ac.uk/sas/sas.asp?action=public&passback= : accessed 14 February 2012).


CallieK said...

I see I still have much to learn, particularly when it comes to footnoting my sources!

BDM said...

There are some inexpensive laminated "QuickSheets" by Elizabeth Shown Mills published by Genealogical Publishing Company that help with formatting all kinds of online and offline sources. Um, er, I should consult them more often.

Brian Anderson said...

Brenda, I left a response regarding "Preacher" Cameron on the Argenteuil message board. It will not give you the 100% proof you are looking for... but would love to discuss it with you more.
Brian Anderson

BDM said...

Brian, Good to hear from you. I'll be in touch shortly.