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The Black Knee Chronicles

Volume 1


by Hugh Frazer

That is the end of this segment. The next installment will, I think, complete the story of Simon Lovat's mysterious marriage with speculation as to her identity and other reasons supporting the possibility that our ancestor, Archibald, could be the offspring of that marriage. There may also be space for "Aunt Ruth's Chronicle", which is the only early written expression of our otherwise oral family tradition that I have yet seen.

We have lost touch with most of the branches of the family tree, and regained contact would be worthwhile, not only for the sake of family, but also in the hope of finding more about the traditions. Seeing most modern oral tradition is passed down by the women of the family, a lot of material may have been lost by having had two generations with only male issue. The exploration of the female line, rather than the traditional genealogical male line, may then prove to be particularly useful.

Joseph and Wilson called their search for the unknown ancestor "The Quest", and it became a lifelong, but ultimately unsuccessful, search. They did seem to desire to keep their findings confidential, presumably with the possibility of claiming the Lovat title and estates in mind.

I have assumed that they did all that could be done with the resources available to them, and that we would be wasting time to repeat their work. Their quest can only be advanced by finding new information. Computer genealogical data bases are one new and growing resource, but the purpose of this publication is to remove the veil of secrecy from the family traditions so that the net can be cast further.

It seems that I have a personal interest in all this. On many occasions, my father, Simon, has referred to me as Hugh "of the black knee", saying that a highland seer had prophesied that one of that name had would "restore the family fortune". I had always viewed this idea with some scepticism, thinking perhaps that this was a flight of Gaelic fantasy from my grandfather, Wilson. And so it remained a background part of my life, even though my father's expression sometimes had a "when are you going to get on with it" look, until I met, for the first time, my second cousin Peter Frazer on a recent visit to England.

While going over the cardboard boxes of Wilson's notes and reference books with Peter, I mentioned the black knee story, to which he replied, "I don't know that as Hugh of the black knee, but as 'a Frazer born with a black mark behind his left knee would restore the family fortune.'" The hairs at the back of my neck stood up, because I was born with a black mark behind my left knee, and, to the best of my knowledge Peter would have been unaware of this. On questioning about the origin of this prediction, Peter used the words, "from some old crone", being exactly the same words as my father used.

As a sceptical engineer, I find this bemusing and curious to say the least. There are other coincidences, which will be described in later Chronicles, that add up to a feeling of 'well, just maybe', leading me to putting this story together. The title of this Chronicle is a whimsical acknowledgement to the power of suggestion.


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