14 July 2013

John Fraser: Still Missing

By far the most popular post I ever made was “John Fraser, Missing in Action.” It was Part 5 in an ongoing (apparently endless) series about my various Fraser families.

That was over four years ago.

Let me point out, my John Fraser is STILL missing in action.
You would not know from the two comments on site that the post probably has more hits than all my posts combined. The attraction mystifies me. It must be the phrase missing in action that does it. Are people searching for a contemporary family member? Do they expect it’s about a military man? Identifying a missing soldier/sailor/airman? A combatant lost in the jungles of Vietnam, the deserts of the Gulf War, the mountains of Afghanistan?  

How disappointed are those people when they find it’s about genealogy? A man born two hundred years ago. Not only that, I sure as heck didn’t know much about John Fraser the blacksmith four years ago and still don’t!  

I fear I have let a lot of folks down. On the other hand, who is to say the odd person who landed here (with other expectations) went away to Ancestry.com or FamilySearch or another vast database, to become smitten with the family history love bug?

Possibly MY John Fraser is hidden among thousands of faceless John Frasers featured there (or not) but none of them will tell me why he disappeared from wife and family in Quebec ca.1840.
~ Being a subtle reflection on the limitations of online name indexes and databases: the mere surface of a sea that runs deep and unpredictable without the proper navigation skills ~  
What I have done in the interim is satisfactorily find two of his four children (apart from his daughter Catherine, my direct ancestor), Duncan and Eliza. More on Eliza here. The third and last is a son called—wouldn’t you know it—John Fraser (born 1835). Another no-show.

Not to mention the father-in-law of the desaparecido John Fraser: being another John Fraser, farmer at Rivière Rouge, Argenteuil, Quebec. Suspicions are that a family farm burial ground became overgrown and forgotten. Suspicions are not evidence.  

At times I feel doomed to wander the centuries, crying for the spectres of John Fraser(s). 

© 2013 Brenda Dougall Merriman

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