Archibald Frazer and
The Archibald line is mine while the James Frazer line is also known as James Frazer of Cleragh or the cadet (younger) line. The Archibald line also belongs to the bulk of the current Roscommon area Frazer researchers including Michael Fraser-Allen and Doug Vaugh in England, Ros Faichney in Australia, Lilian Malfara in Canada, and Jane Fraser in Colorado. Joanna Fitzgerald Spencer of England has done much research on the James line. I am trying to incorporate all of their research plus mine in these web pages. The James line is interesting as some in this line were more prominent in some ways. Mia Farrow and her mother and actress Maureen O'Sullivan were both from this line. Due to the prominence of the James line, the early paper trail makes tracing the line more easy than the Archibald line. It seems that we have now placed most, if not all of the Frazers in the Roscommon and adjoining Sligo County areaas. There are other Frazers further away that have not been linked or that may not be related.
See below the Elphin Census of 1749 as transcribed on the LEITRIM-ROSCOMMON Elphin Census Search Page. These are the Frazers in County Roscommon enumerated in the Parish of Ardcarn at that time. The two web pages for Archibald and James Frazer that are linked from this page are based on this earliest of records concerning the Frazer family in Roscommon. Mary Frazer was likely the mother of Archibald and James - or less likely a sister in law, aunt or other relative.
All of the above are in the Townland of Ahrefinican (alternate Townland Spelling: Aghrafinigan).
More recently, I have become aware of a publication of the Elphin Census, published in 2004 by the Irish Manuscripts Commission and edited by Marie-Lousie Legg. This publication gives Parish background and other interesting information of the area. First, it should be noted that the Townlands listed in the Elphin Census do not match up with later censuses. Later censuses have more townlands, so it appears that Aghrafinigan likely covered a larger area than it does today. I have noticed in the Parish records also that Agrafinigan may be used as a general area as opposed to the more specific townland at times.
The transciber of the 2004 publication notes that Archibald was a Frazier while James and Mary were Frazers. I'm not sure why. Other records do not appear to agree with this spelling. Further the "widdow" Mary Frazer is listed as "cotier" under Proffession. According to oxfordictionaries.com, "Cottier: historical An Irish peasant holding land by cottier tenure." This is not so much a profession as it is a tenant who rented on a year to year basis. Merrian-Webster.com says, " a tenant in Ireland formerly renting a small farm under the rack-rent system, the land being let to the highest bidder." thefreedictionary.com has yet another definition, " (Historical Terms) (in Ireland) a peasant farming a smallholding under cottier tenure (the holding of not more than half an acre at a rent of not more than five pounds a year)"
There were 22 households listed in Aghrafinigan in the census. Most of these were "papists". There were 7 cotiers, 6 farmers, 6 laborers, a taylor, a mason and a weaver. Apparently the area was known for its architectural quarries. In all of Ardcarn Parish there were only 28 farmers, so there must have been a reason 21% of the Parish's faremers were from this Townland. My impression is that Aghrafinigan was relatively more significant in 1749 than it appears to be in more recent times.
Much research and Frazer history and tradition has been gathered by Douglas Vaugh and presented on his web page. Much of his information has been substantiated with other research of late, including that of Michael Fraser-Allen, Ros Faichney, Jane Fraser, myself and others. Due to the proliferation of information on the internet as well as the collaboration of research available on the internet and through correspondence, we have been able to link all these lines together.
According to the Vaugh web page , "In all records available in Ireland about settlements and properties, all Frasers, Frizells and Frazers mentioned came, and appear to have come from Ayrshire." Research done by a relative of Doug traces the Frazers back to Simon Frazer in Scotland (1160-1190). Others in the line were said to be in Stirling, Inverness down to Knock Castle. One of the Lairds, John of Knock married Margaret Stewart, daughter of Sir John Stewart. From Knock in Ayrshire the Frazers moved to Ireland following disputes over religion and loyalty to the Stewart crown. This research appears to be the source of information used to issue another Frazer descendant a grant of arms in 1952. (See the Vaugh page above.) It seems clear to the current researchers in this line that the former research is difficult to sustain with the information that is available today. This does not have an effect on the traditions of my own Frazer family as I understand them, but other branches have understood their branches to be descended from more famous Frazers.
According to Eileen Frazer of Ballindoon (who is my 2nd cousin 2 times removed), the family tradition is that there were four Frazer brothers who came to the Rockingham Estate in Boyle to work. 3 of the brothers emigrated to the United States and Canada. So the question remains on who the original ancestors were. Were they farmers or soldiers? The 1950's research put stake in the soldiers. However, that theory had the Frazers being granted land in Leitrim as there did not seem to be land granted to soldiers in Roscommon. As the Frazers were in County Roscommon and did not appear to own their land but lease it, this theory appears to be incorrect. I prefer Eileen Frazer's more down to earth tradition. However, it is possible that the Frazers were both farmers and soldiers. At any rate, we may safely say that the Frazers were originally from Scotland and likely the area to the Southwest of Glasgow.
Here is an interesting paper by Michael Fraser-Allen that takes a look at the Royal lineage tradition.
The map to the right was made likely prior to the arrivals of the Frazers in the area. The Frazers that I am researching were in Derrycashel, Clerragh, and Aghrafinigan. These Townlands are in the Ardcarn Parish. However, they border on the Kilbryan Parish. At the time of Griffith's Valuation, many Frazers in this area leased land from Viscount (or Lord) Lorton. These records are located in Ireland's National Library in Dublin.
Lough Key is in the Northern part of County Roscommon. Aghrafinigan is to the North of the Lough. Boyle is to the Southwest. Rockingham Estates is directly to the South and Ardcarne is to the Southwest of Lough Key.
In the revised Archibald and James Frazer pages, we hope to separate some of the previous traditions that may not be accurate with more accurate family history.