My Grandmother’s Picture Book: Frazer, Clarke, McMaster and ?

This should be a different Blog as it will be more on the genealogical side. This is photo book that I recall from my childhood that my grandmother had. It has thick pages, a sort of velour cover with a fancy spring clasp on the right.

I got the idea for this Blog after hearing from Fred. Fred is third cousin on my Clarke Line. My grandmother’s mother was a Clarke. We have the same 2nd great grandparents by the name of Clarke and Spratt. Fred sent me this photo recently.

This was from a small tin type photo that Fred had enlarged and enhanced. According to Fred, “…that appears to me to be a picture of Catherine Clark McMaster, Violet McMaster, George McMaster and Margaret Clark”. This reminded me of the photo book my grandmother had. It had larger photos in the back, but the smaller tin types in the back. I believe that Violet is Fred’s grandmother. He supposed that the photo was taken about 1888. That is interesting, because that would be about four years before Margaret Clarke married my great-grandfather. Margaret probably arrived in the Boston area around 1884 from Ireland at about the age of 18. It would be interesting to find out where she lived before she got married.

The Photo Book

Although I said that this book was my grandmother’s, it has people in it that lived before she was born. The photos seem to favor the Clarke side of the family. My grandmother lost her mother in 1902 when my grandmother was about 8 years old. I’ll try to reproduce the photo book as well as I can.

Page 1

I almost missed the first photo. This photo slipped out of the page easily. Under the photo on the page were the initials Raa. I don’t know if this is random or significant. I might assume that this person was important, being on page 1 of the book. A wild guess would be William McMaster, but I would have to compare this with a known photo.

Here is a photo of William from Fred’s sister’s tree:

This photo is a 3/4 view, so it is difficult to compare. I can’t tell for sure that the two are not the same person.

[Edit: January 2020. I believe that this man is William McMaster 1859-1899. He married Catherine Clarke, the sister of my great-grandmother. This was sent to me by Fred who is a descendant.]

Probably taken around 1882. Reverse of picture indicates that they were engaged “about 1881” and married October 5, 1882.

I take by the note that this is Catherine Clarke in the photo also. This may help in identifying other photos.

Fred also sent me this photo:

This is a better version of the photo above. Fred also sent me a photo I show later in the Blog:

These are William’s children: George, Bert, Fanny and Violet.

While I am off my grandmother’s book, I should bring up this photo which perhaps was in the book:

This is a photo of James Archibald Frazer. I had previously had thought that this was taken after his wife had died and Catherine Clarke’s husband William McMaster had died. However, I now see that James looks too young for that. Also this doesn’t look like the Catherine in the photo above.

Here is a side by side look:

Maybe? Another cosideration is that Catherine married in 1882. James married in 1892. Perhaps the photo on the left is how Catherine looked 10 years later when James married?

Page 2


The pages are about 8 inches by 10 inches and the photos are smaller. I’ll try to scan a smaller area.

This is my grandmother’s mother. I am not sure if this would be before, during or after she was married.

Page 3

My guess is that the first two photos could be wedding photos.


I’m not sure if this is the same woman as the one in the photo from Fred. It looks like I caught a thread of the book in the scan. I know that there was an older Aunt Celia in the area, a sister Celia, Catherine and Margaret. I also thought that there may have been a sister Jane.

Page 5

Margaret again.

Page 6

James Archibald Frazer again. Looks like this could use sume touching up. I haven’t enhanced any of these photos.

Page 7

I’m guessing one of the Clarkes.

Page 8

Margaret Clarke Frazer

Page 9

George William Frazer and her sister ( my grandmother) Marion Margaret Frazer. I seem to remember a large colorized version of this or a similar photo. I don’t know where it ended up.

Page 10

I did enhance this a bit. Another shot of Margaret. My grandmother lost her mother at about age 8, so I’m sure these photos were important to her.

Page 11

I was able to slip this photo out and add a little constrast. My mother’s brother George William was born 1896, so that would put this photo at 1897.

Page 12

This photo was taken at the Elmer Chickering Studio at 21 West St., Boston. I think the original is a bit clearer.

Page 13

Great grandma is stylin’ in this photo.

Page 14

My guess is that these are the same two children that Fred sent me in his tintype picture. If Fred’s photo was 1888, perhaps this was 1889.

Page 15

If I had to guess, I would say another one of the Clarke sisters or Aunt Celia? I quite like the composition whoever it is. It reminds me somewhat of a colonial painting.

Page 16

Again, I am going with my standard Clarke female guess. The man to the left is perhaps a husband? He looks as if he could be a brother, but I have no record of a brother visiting or living here.

Page 17

I’m tempted to call this one the serious baby. I can only assume that this was the baby of one of the Clarke sisters.

Page 18


Here is an unusual photo. I might guess that she would have been a maid or nanny for my great grandfather James Frazer. I note that the photo was taken at a different studio. This woman has what appears to be a wedding ring. She is holding a book and has her finger inside the pages as if to say that she is educated. I can’t make out the name of the book except for the word, “power”.

Page 19

I am a bit past halfway in the book.

My guess for this person is Richard Frazer born 1875. According to my web page, ” He married Elizabeth Lenore Rice, daughter of Ivory Fogg Rice and Mary McCartee, on 12 May 1902 at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.” Note that the photo was taken in Portsmout, NH. This could have possibly been a wedding photo.

Page 20 and 21

Page 20 is the same as page 3. Page 21 is the same as page 2. These are the two photos that I supposed to be wedding photos.

Page 22

Can’t have too many photos of one’s great grandfather.

Page 23

Here I’m leaning toward business associate. Here are a few guesses from James’ Naturalization papers dated 18 October 1905:

Page 24

This person is a bit of a mystery. The best clue is that he had the photo taken in Franklin, MA. He also appears a bit older than some of the men in the other photos.

Page 25

Page 25 is the same as page 6.

Page 26

No idea. This person bears no resemblance to some of the others. He appears to be wearing a military uniform.

Page 27

Here there is a clue. The photo was not taken in Boston, but Gorham, NH. All we have to do is search in Gorham, NH for a relative. A search for Gorham shows it to be just North of Mount Washington.

Page 28

I’m hoping that someone will come accross this Blog and tell me who some of these people are. This is the studio where the black woman had her photo taken.

Page 29

I am associating the curley hair with the Clarkes.

Page 30

I think this is a boy? The light hair could go with the guy in the military suit, but there was some light hair in the Frazer family also. I can see a cross on this little person. I also have a photo of George McMaster (brother of Violet) that looks a little similar to this person. I believe that Violet’s granddaughter sent this to me.

I suppose that it might even be possible to look at where each of these studios were to see if that made a difference compared to where some of these people may have lived.

[Edit: January 2020] I see in my McMaster File, I have this photo labeled: George, Herbert, Violet McMaster. I also have the following photo in my McMaster file:]

This photo is named George, Bert, Fanny, Violet. These were all children of William McMaster and Catherine Clarke.

That was the last of the larger photos. Following this are six pages with four smaller photos each in them.

Page 31A

Do I have relatives in Taylorville, Il?

Page 31B

This photo appears to be trimmed down. I can’t tell where the photo was taken.

Page 31C

This is the first tintype. These tintypes give an older look to the photos.

Page 31D

At first, I thought these two were my great grandfather James Archibald Frazer, but now I’m not so sure. I’ll say it is him with his hair part inversed by the tintype

Page 32A

This photo appeared to have been trimmed down from something else. Also a tintype.

Page 32B

Apparently these tintypes are a reverse image. Here is the flip side:

So apparently a Toronto relative. Could this be a Frazer relative?

Page 32C

Another trimmed-down tintype of 2 cute girls – assumed sisters.

Page 32D

Here is a non-tinype among the tintypes. A distinguished self-assured looking couple in Belfast. I’m not aware of any Belfast connection in my ancestry which makes me wonder who these two are.

Page 33

Here is what a typical tintype page looks like in the book:


Page 33A

I just need a program with facial recognition.

Page 33B

Page 33C

The guy bottom left looks like the same person that was on P 23. My guess is the best man at the wedding. I would need to find Parish records to find out that type of information.The other two appear to be Margaret Clarke and my great-grandfather, James Frazer.

Page 33D

This appears to be my great-grandmother on the left wearing a Wonder Woman belt. I had thought the woman on the right looked familiar, but now I’m not sure.

Page 34A

These look to me to be two sisters.

Page 34C

34B is missing.

Does she look like the woman on the left above?

Page 34D

Page 35A

Page 35B

Photos like this and the Belfast and Toronto photos raise quite a few questions. In a record I saw recently, my great-grandfather was a tea dealer. Could this photo have something to do with that? This was another non-tintype photo.

Page 35C

Looks to me like Margaret Clarke.

Page 35D

The same as 31C

Page 36A

Is this the same woman as 34A? Perhaps with her husband?

Page 36B

Somebody’s pride and joy.

Page 36C

Same as 33D

Page 36D

Summary and Conclusions

  • A major reason for me putting these photos out there is that I hope that some people will recognize who these are
  • These photos can spur research or direct research. For example, what are my Illinois, Belfast and Edinburgh connections?
  • Taking the photos out and looking at where they were taken was helpful
  • My guess is that most of the photos were from around the time when my great-grandmother Margaret Clarke was in the US. This would have been between about 1884 and 1902 when she died.
  • I have definitely increased the number of photos of people that I know and that I do not know.
  • The photos help to give a picture of the people that my great grandparents knew, even if I don’t know who they are.
  • A next step may be to sort the unknown people by those that look most like each other.
  • I also want to look into facial recognition software.

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