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Articles by Marie Fraser of Canada
Lydia Falconer Fraser, Wife of Hugh Miller


It never ceases to surprise us that so many people are interested in Scottish history in general, and Fraser genealogy in particular.

Mrs Margaret Fraser and Dr Scott McLean Mrs Margaret Fraser, a regular participant at University of Guelph events, is pictured here with Dr Scott McLean on Sept 28th 2002 at the Scottish Studies Fall Colloquium.

"Thanks for the picture. Scott was my T.A. for several courses. The book I bought from him was Lydia, Wife of Hugh Miller by Elizabeth Sutherland (Tuckwell Press Ltd., East Lothian, Scotland, 2002.) Lydia’s mother was Elizabeth Fraser (d 1865), née Macleod, m 1809 William Fraser (d 1828) of whom nothing is known for certain."

Margaret’s husband Bill is descended from William Fraser & Ann Mackenzie (mar 19 Jan 1797 Urquhart Logie Wester) through their son John (1799-1868) & his wife Elizabeth Calder (1800-1870) who emigrated to Canada in 1832 and settled at Galt.

Her note reminded me of an email exchange with a young lady in Marseille in August 2001.

j’ai un william fraser né vers 1783 et marié a elisabeth macleod le 25 mars 1809 dont 2 enfants lydia née en 1812 et thomas né en 1822 - ce william est dcd ? mais sur sa pierre tombale au dires de sa fille lydia y est inscrit de batchan et inverness in memory -- marcelle ruiz marseille france

William Fraser, Merchant on East (Church) Street, Inverness, married Elizabeth MacLeod 25 March 1809 and had two children baptized at Inverness: Lydia Falconer Fraser & Thomas Mackenzie Fraser. Are you related to this family?

-- Marie Fraser

je vous remercie infiniment pour vos renseignements, la famille paternelle de ma mère ayant des origines normandes j’ai été a meme de consulter des archives et de m’interesser a perre villemer normand d’origine qui d’après mes découvertes a enseigné a inverness les langues étrangères et le a enseignées a lydia falconer fraser ce qui m’a amenée a m’interesser a ce william fraser qui est son père - voila c’est tout - merci beaucoup

-- marcelle ruiz

I have not yet been able to identify William Fraser, but he must have come from a good family. I can tell you that the witnesses at the baptism of his daughter Lydia Falconer Fraser were Alex Falconer Esq., and Angus Mackintosh Esq., of Holme, who was in possession of the property of Holme. Angus Mackintosh of Holme in 1815 also inherited the property of his maternal uncle Phineas Mackintosh of Drummond, including Kyllachy.

Lydia Fraser, a beautiful and sympathetic literary figure, married Hugh Miller from Cromarty, where Eliza Logan & Harriet were born, before they moved to Edinburgh, where the others were born: William, Elizabeth & Hugh. Lydia wrote a very sad poem about the death of their first-born child. Hugh Miller was a writer and geologist who shot himself on Christmas Eve 1856 because of a dream he had. The cottage where he was born is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is a popular tourist attraction.

-- Marie Fraser

I sent Marcelle a copy of a street map of the town of Inverness, dated 1821, showing the names of various property owners, and an NTS article about Hugh Miller’s cottage. According to FASTI, Lydia Fraser’s maternal ancestry can be traced as follows:

Murdoch Mackenzie was born about 1700; educated at Univ of Edinburgh; M.A. (30th May 1729); licen by Presb of Dingwall 2nd March 1731; ord to Contin 20th Sept 1732 [vii, p. 31]; trans to Dingwall 30th July 1741 [vii, p. 34, notes that his settlement was so strongly opposed by his co-presbyters that it was proposed in the Commission of Assembly to have them rebuked at the bar at their next meeting]; trans to Third Charge (or St Mary’s), Inverness, 13th July 1742 [vi, p. 465]; trans to Second Charge, Inverness, 5th Feb 1751 [vi, p. 463]; pres by George III 31st Dec 1762; trans and adm 2nd May 1763 [vi, pp. 457-8]; died 7th April 1774. He married 2nd Oct 1742, Katherine, d/o John Hossack, Provost of Inverness, and had issue - Murdoch, born 4th Sept 1743; John, born 18th Sept 1744; Roderick, born 26th Jan 1747; Margaret, born 29th Oct 1748, died 14th Feb 1749; Barbara, born 16th June 1751 (married Norman MacLeod, Jamaica); Thomas, born 20th July 1752; Margaret, born 29th Jan 1754, died 19th Sept 1757; Phineas, born 20th March 1756; Katherine, born 26th March 1758; Elizabeth, born 9th March 1760.

The Rev Murdoch Mackenzie is buried in the Inverness Chapel Yard Cemetery, where a table is inscribed as follows:

In memory of The Revd Murchoch McKenzie, 32 years Minister of the High Church of Inverness, who died 7th April 1774, aged – years; his daughter, Mrs Barbara McLeod, relict of Norman McLeod Esqr of Jamaica; and of her son in law William Fraser, merchant in Inverness, who died 10th June 1828, aged 39 years; also Elizabeth McLeod, spouse of the above William Fraser, who died at Drummond House on the 18th August 1865, aged 77 years. "Everlasting joy shall be upon their head" Isa. II, v II. (both ends) Revd M McK : 1774.

The Inverness OPR notes that Normand Macleod from Jamaica & Barbra McKinzie were married in Dec 1785 (date not legible). Their daughter Katherine was baptized at Inverness 16 Jan 1787 by Mr George Watson McLeod; Provost Phineas McIntosh & Kath : Willm Munro, witnesses. Elizabeth was baptized 16 May 1788.

Additional research is needed to confirm the ancestry of William Fraser, so I would be obliged to anyone who can produce evidence to support or refute the following brief pedigree chart.

pedigree chart

This article was previously published in Canadian Explorer


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