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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

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42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby steve345uk » February 5th, 2018, 11:21 am

Hi, Having exhausted Ancestry and Findmypast, I'd be interested if knows where I could get a list of casualties for the 42nd Foot during the Egypt Campaign in 1801? Also, is there anywhere that holds birth and death records for the 42nd Foot from about 1790 to 1801?

I'm trying to piece together the family history of Paymaster Sergeant Alexander Fraser (b Urquhart, Ross-shire in about 1769), who served with the 42nd from about 1787, promoted to Sgt in 1794 and he appears to have died of wounds in Egypt on 3 April 1801 (the edited Menorca 1799 Muster strongly hints at this, but is missing a vital page for the command company).

I know that his wife Isabel also gave birth to a daughter Isabella, in 1794 during the Flanders Campaign. Isabella is consistently listed as from Holland (British) and her father Alexander is listed as "Paymaster Sgt 42nd Foot" on her and other siblings death records. I'm guessing her birth might have been at Ochten near Tiel, where the 42nd spent much of their time. They probably had their other children with them including Kenneth Fraser (b Urquhart Ross about 1792) , who went on to serve with 42nd Foot as Private in the Peninsula Wars and at Waterloo. Kenneth signed up underage in 1807 and died in Edinburgh in 1852.

Any help or pointers much appreciated,

Thanks, Steve
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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby Owen » February 5th, 2018, 6:09 pm

I am not aware of a source, other than musters, that might provide the 1801 casualty information you are look8ng for. However, this book might offer something...

http://www.naval-military-press.com/royal-highland-regiment.the-black-watch-formerly-42nd-and-73rd-foot.-medal-roll.1801-1911.html

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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby jf42 » February 5th, 2018, 6:34 pm

The Muster Rolls for June 1801 would record the names of all the men who had died since December 1800, although the 42nd's rolls tended not to record cause of death at that time. Unfortunately, Muster Rolls can only be consulted in the National Archives at Kew.

As you probably know, the 42nd went into cantonment at Ochten on the banks of the Waal in early November 1794, after the fall of Nijmegen, and remained there till they marched to join Dundas' force preparing to march to drive the French back across the river on December 29th. After that they were on the march for most of the next three months. That doesn't mean young Isabella couldn't have been born between June and October on the march from Ostend to Nijemegen.

The regiment would not record the births of children on the strength. Whatever records might have been kept regarding soldiers' wives and companions who qualified for rations are likely to have been lost with other regimental papers when the British depot at Helvoetsluys fell into French hands after the allies abandoned Holland and retreated into Germany.
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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby steve345uk » February 6th, 2018, 1:30 pm

Thanks for the useful replies, much appreciated.

The medal book looks useful, I've already spotted a couple of entries for Kenneth Fraser using Amazon's handy "look inside/search" feature ;) I'm not sure I'd find anything on Alexander Fraser, I assumed they didn't award medal posthumous awards.

I suspected that this might require a trip to Kew to resolve this, although I might try the Black Watch Museum in Perth, to see if they have any information. I guess I'd be looking at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2465320? Has anyone ever ordered a copy of a muster or would this be too expensive?

It seems astonishing that someone would take they're young family on campaign, but they probably didn't have much choice at the time. My other half still can't get her head around the fact that her 3x great grandmother was born during this campaign and survived the march in early 1795, which by all accounts was fairly horrific.

Thanks
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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby jf42 » February 6th, 2018, 1:50 pm

Steve, hellow again,

As far as as I am aware the Black Watch Museum doesn't hold personnel records of that kind, all WO series being held at the NA Kew- but it doesnt hurt to ask. They don't have research staff. Volunteers are busily occupied managing the physical objects.

As for the Muster Rolls at Kew, these are heavy, large-format tomes, far too big for any conventional scanner, which is why they are unlikely to be digitised any time soon. They are also quite faded in places. The only option is for those consulting them to take their own photographs for reference- or paying someone else to.

Only a limited number of men were permitted to bring their women on campaign in order to perform domestic duties, while being granted half rations. The retreat from Holland was indeed grim, and the men with families suffered particularly on the retreat from the Rhine to the IJssel, and beyond with many dying from exposure and exhaustion. The months of constant rain and cold on the Waal were no picnic either. The men of the Black Watch are recorded having fared remarkably well in terms of health. Whether that is true of the women and children as well, history has not recorded but Isabella was certainly lucky to survive.
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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby steve345uk » February 6th, 2018, 3:50 pm

JF, Thanks again with the useful information. We'd definitely take a look at the records at Kew, if we ever get a chance. Sounds like a copy would be impractical and expensive.

Thanks Steve
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Re: 42nd Regiment of Foot Casualty and Family Records

Postby PaulD » February 15th, 2018, 6:23 pm

steve345uk wrote:It seems astonishing that someone would take they're young family on campaign


Hi Steve - I hope this is of interest.

The embarkation return for the 42nd foot dated 19 June 1794 when they were leaving for the Continent includes 60 women and 27 children - the total for the 10 regiments in Moira's force was 602 women and 330 children (from TNA: WO 1/175 p. 793).

If you are planning to go to Kew, you will need a Reader's ticket and to be well prepared as there is such a mass of information over a large number of files - I'll help to navigate your way round the on-line catalogue if you wish.
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