Surname Saturday – Fraher

This entry was posted by Jim Sanders on Saturday, 4 August, 2012 at

According to www.irishgathering.ie , the Fraher surname is of Irish origin. The surname is pretty rare even in the 1911 Ireland Census. The name is also very rare In the United States. The states with the mosts Fraher Families in the 1920 United States Census includes Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois. See Fraher Family History at ancestry.com for more details.

My connection to the Fraher surname is through my Great Great Grandfather Patrick Fraher. Patrick Fraher was born in Ireland in about 1833. He was married to Sarah Hale. Patrick and Sarah Fraher had two children in Ireland in the 1850s. They moved to England in the mid to late 1850s where they had two more children. They emmigrated to the United States in about 1860. Patrick apprantly volunteered for the civil war. I have a copy of a photo of him in a civil war uniform. I do not have any confirmed civil war records for my Patrick Fraher. There is one Patrick Fraher who served a brief time for the US Regular Army which might be him. The enlistement was in northern New York State not far from where he and his family is listed in the 1865 New York State Census. If this record is his, then he origins would be from County Waterford, Ireland. The family had three children including my great grandmother Mary Agnes Fraher while in Essex County, New York.

The family then moved to New Britain, Connecticut where two more children appear on the 1870 United States Census. Patrick Fraher disappears from the New Britain City Directories in the late 1870s. His wife remains in the city directories. He then reappears in the city directories and shows up in the 1880 United States Census. Shortly thereafter he again disappears from the New Britain City Directories, but his wife remains listed. She’s listed for a few years without the word “widow”, then shows up in a directory as a widow. I’ve been unsuccessful in trying to find any information about Patrick’s death or final resting place. Anyone who might have any ideas I would love to hear from you.

The Fraher Surname is often mispelled. In the US Census my Fraher family have been listed as Fraher, Fryher and Friher. In city directories those same names can be found in addition to Fryer, Frier, Friar and Frihar. Spelling didn’t matter very much back then. Due to so many mispellings of Fraher, you need to be open-minded when doing genealogy research in the Fraher line. Hopefully you have many children in the family and perhaps and unusual first name. Luckily my Fraher family had nine known children. When I find any surname close to a spelling of Fraher and they had the same children at the right ages it was a sure bet I found my Fraher family regardless of how it was mispelled.

I also have a 19th century photo album which was given to Patrick’s daughter Mary in 1886. This album was given to Mary by my great grandfather Joseph Charles Sanders about a year and a half before they were married. You can find many of the photos from this album in various past blog posts which I have made. The categories to browse would be unidentified photos and photo genealogy. Some of the people in the photos have been identified but many have not been.


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