Spoiler Alert: Please be advised that as with all of my Outlander articles, this article contains information from all of the books!
I was going to wait with this case but a number of people have recently brought up the question and the puzzle of Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser’s history and ancestry, so I have decided to provide some sort of answer. I am not going to delve into any of her recent history, her character analysis or anything like that. That information is all readily available if one reads all of the Outlander books and or watches the Outlander series! What I will try to do is piece together various bits of information provided by Diana Gabaldon in her Outlandish Companion 1 book. I will use that information to go a bit further back in tracing Claire’s known ancestry. Hopefully by the time we are finished, we might have a better understanding…or not…of her history. What we will probably end up with is even more questions!
When I read through the Outlandish Companion, I found it fascinating how Diana wove her characters so deftly into real family lineages and ancestries, finding some small window of opportunity to fit them seamlessly into the fabric of each line. For more information on her detailed research on this aspect, I highly suggest that you read her Companion book! This first edition contains information on the books up through Drums of Autumn.
I am so happy to share too that she is working on a Companion II which is rumored to be available some time next spring.
Now, back to Claire’s history and what I found so interesting about it? Without reading Outlandish Companion, most of us would assume that Claire’s ancestry or lineage is unknown but that is really not the case. Claire is most likely unaware of it because she was raised by her mysterious uncle Lamb, who died before he could share her ancestry with her. As I read through her short family lineage, I was struck by two things in particular. first of course, was the fact that she had a detailed family history at all and that it was more English than French? I assumed that there would be more of an obvious French connection or tie in because of the surname and because of events in the books that seem to tie her in some way to a French history. That may indeed come at some point in the future, but for now, I must work with the information available to me. The second thing that sparked my personal interest was a reference in the Companion’s history of her to Richard III, King of England.
For those of you who do not know anything about Richard III, You can find basic information on him here
He is probably most famous for the way in which he managed to become King after his brother Edward’s death, and of course his involvement in the disappearance of the Princes in the tower. Much of the earlier portions of my ongoing story revolve around this mystery and those involved in it. I used it as a taking off point for part of my time travels with the early Royals.
There is a great little book about the mystery and the suspects, which you can read a preview of here:
It is one of the most famous or infamous unsolved mysteries still waiting for some answer! I was so intrigued by it that I could not resist weaving it and all of the suspects into my story line. Now, in my story Richard made a secret pact with the Vampyre faction, who knew of a way to spirit the boys away but not kill them outright. In this way, Richard was able to honestly say that he had no hand in killing the boys and had no idea what happened to them. You can read some of my story about the Tower mystery starting here:
Now, you might see why I was so intrigued by the mention of Richard III and the boys in the tower in Claire’s family history!
As I mentioned previously, we assume that Claire’s past family history is unremarkable, mundane and not all that interesting or worthy of comment… We also assume that Claire is just plain Claire Beauchamp with no ties or connections to nobility or rank. Whereas Jamie can trace his family ancestry far back, holds a title of Laird in his own right, Claire is just Claire, an average everyday commoner from the 20th century. She has no idea and probably doesn’t really care about what her Uncle Quentin Lambert Beauchamp was working on at the time of his death. Now, from what little we know about Uncle Lamb, I find it a bit odd that he would care about this ancestry and title either? For some reason though, he was interested in seeing it restored, maybe it was his way of giving Claire her family identity and rightful title. Perhaps he thought that with her marriage to Frank Randall, this history and title would have some meaning, value and importance in her future or the future of her offspring.
Quentin Lambert Beauchamp was a noted archaeologist and historian who spent much of his time traveling the world at various ancient locations. His interests were more of ancient ruins and history than in more recent things such as British Peerage and lost titles? He raised Claire after her parents’ deaths in a car accident and did not share any important family history or information with Claire while she was growing up. Maybe he thought, as many of us do, that there was plenty of time ahead for that.
Growing up with Uncle Lamb, Claire lived a highly unconventional life that would hardly suit her for the blue blooded life of nobility or landed gentry even of the 1940s. When she met and married Frank Randall, a well respected Historian with an interest in the more recent British history, her unconventional bohemian lifestyle would have to change. He was a part of that more upper class refined gentry and would have found Claire’s ancestry and lineage of great interest. Claire met Frank while he was working with Uncle Lamb on some ancient French Philosophy work, so apparently Uncle Lamb and Frank were colleagues and probably friends. As far as we know, Lamb did not share Claire’s family ancestry with Frank- if he did, it has never been mentioned.
Let us get back to Claire and that mysterious family ancestry… We can assume at this time that, at the time of his death Uncle Lamb was working on having the extinct title of Lord St. Amand restored and as his heir, Claire would thereby be heir presumptive to the title, making her Lady St. Amand. So, unbeknownst to Claire or anyone else at the time, she really was a Noble Lady of high rank and standing! Will this fact ever come into play at some later point, and is there any significance to it? We will have to wait and see if this has any importance at a much later time.
This is a copy of the very basic family tree for Claire Elizabeth Beauchamp.
Claire Beauchamp was born to Henry Beauchamp and Julia Moriston on 20 October 1918. Her parents died in a car accident when she was only five, and Claire was adopted by her uncle, Quentin Lambert Beauchamp, an archaeologist and historian whose work took him all over the globe. He attempted to enroll her at an English boarding school, but she stubbornly refused to attend.
- “Faced with the necessity of prying my chubby fingers off the car’s door handle and dragging me by the
heels up the steps of the school, Uncle Lamb, who hated personal conflict of any kind, had sighed in
exasperation, then finally shrugged and tossed his better judgment out the window along with my newly purchased round straw boater.” – Claire, Outlander (Chapter One)
Claire consequently spent her childhood traveling the world with her uncle while he worked, becoming accustomed to fairly primitive conditions. She later claims that her first kiss was at the age of eight, in Egypt with the dragoman’s nine-year-old son.
Claire’s Marriage to Frank
Claire met Frank Randall, a historian, when he came to consult her uncle about his work. They were soon married, and spent a brief two-day honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands, followed by only a few months together before the outbreak of World War II. Claire and Frank were separated for most of the war. Frank trained as an officer in MI-6, and Claire as a nurse. Both served their country in their respective roles for the duration of the war. Once the war was over, Claire and Frank, reunited, decided to go on a second honeymoon in Scotland to reestablish their marriage in 1946. They stayed at Mrs. Baird’s bed-and-breakfast in Inverness, a city in the Scottish Highlands situated near an ancient stone circle called Craigh na Dun.
These are the basics of Claire’s ancestry that we are aware of right now. I mentioned earlier, and Claire had thoughts on it as well, that her family lineage must go back to France in some way due to her surname? Well, yes it does… but it is extremely far back!
Her earliest documented ancestor was one Hugh De Beauchamp, who was originally from Normandy, arrived in England with William the Conqueror, was of course loyal to William and was well rewarded for it.
Amongst the most eminent Normal families in the train of the Conqueror was that of Beauchamp, and amongst those that shared most liberally in the spoils of the conquest was Hugh de Beauchamp, the companion in arms of the victorious Norman, who obtained grants to a very great extent from his triumphant chief, as he appears at the general survey to be possessed of large estates in Hertford, Buckingham, and Bedfordshires, was the founder of this illustrious house in England. This Hugh had issue, Simon, who d. s. p.; Payne, ancestor of the Beauchamps of Bedford, that barony having been conferred upon him by William Rufus; Walter, but some doubts have been thrown upon the question of his having been son of Hugh, Sir H Nicholas stating him to have been “supposed of the same family”; Milo, of Eaton, co. Bedford; Adeline, m. to Walter le Espec, Lord of Kirkham and Helmesley, co. of York.
So, in the beginnings of Outlander when Claire used her maiden name and came up with the “plausible” story that she was on her way to relatives in France…She may have had some but it would have required quite a jump through the Stones to go far enough back to find them!
You can follow the descendant branches of Hugh De Beauchamp on the above link if you are interested in tracing the genealogy further- as with all family trees it gets highly confusing at times!
For our purposes, we are going to jump ahead in the genealogy to Richard Beauchamp/St. Amand 1453-1508. He went by St. Amand as that title was bestowed upon his Father, William Beauchamp when he married Elizabeth de Braybrook St. Amand.
Richard St. Amand
William Beauchamp St. Amand
Elizabeth de Braybrook St. Amand
Richard St. Amand had only one child, and illegitimate son, Anthony St. Amand.
Richard, 6th Baron Beauchamp De Saint-Amand of Wilts, England was 3 1/2 when his father William died and 38 when his mother died. He was convicted by the “Act of 1484”, but soon pardoned. He was made a Knight of King Henry VII about 1485, perhaps during the coronation. He received a grant of property forfeited by his stepfather, Roger in March of 1485. Richard was appointed Keeper of Blackmore Forest, Wilts, as “Sir Richard Beauchamp” in 1486. In 1488, he was commissioner of Musters in Wilts and in 1501 he was an officer supervising the official welcome of Katherine of Aragon. In 1504 “Richard Beauchamp, Knight, Lord St-Amand” served as Steward of Malborough, Wilts. he had no children by Dame Anne but did have a “natural son”, Anthony, by his lover, Mary Wroughton about 1470. He made his last will and testament on June 14, 1508 and died in July 1508. Some probate papers spell his name “Lord Seynatamand”. He was interred in the Black Friers’ Church near Ludgate, within the City of London.
With Richard’s death the Amand title would be extinct as he had no legal heirs to it? His son, Anthony St. Amand was illegitimate so would not be in line to inherit the title or the lands that went with it.
Uncle Lamb however was able to prove however that an heir or heiress did exist but was covered up by the family in their attempts to avoid much unwanted scandal at the time. He found some long hidden evidence of Anthony having married a relative of the family.
What is interesting to note here is Anthony’s biography? It states that eventually after his death, the family left for France… So, in reality or retrospect, Claire did have more recent family connections in France but she would not necessarily have found them by searching for Beauchamps, but rather St. Amands!
Are you thoroughly bewildered and confused yet? Yes, researching one’s genealogy does have a way doing that! This small portion Claire’s genealogy does not even touch on what possible other connections she has to say, far more ancient times in France, or how the Beauchamp name might link her to others in the story? Then, of course there is the mysterious link or genetically inherited connection she has to other time travelers through out the story.
One of those is the strange Master Raymond, whom she meets when she and Jamie are living in France. A more in depth investigation of Master Raymond and his mysteries will be coming in the future!
Another one is the “Witch” Geillis Duncan, who mistakenly believes she is a witch because of her ability to travel through the Stones.
For an in depth look at Geillis Duncan, you can read the following articles
Besides these two key time travelers, there are a number of others who are interconnected in some way by their inherited abilities which is directly dependent on their genealogy. Some of those of course are Claire’s daughter, Bree and Bree’s husband Roger. Roger is a descendent of Geillis Duncan so we would assume that is where he inherited the genetic trait from? But, as many of us are well aware of… Never assume anything with Diana Gabaldon. Diana creates so many twists and turns that all we can really do is make a half educated guess as to the direction she might go!
Two remaining people of interest in all of this web of genealogy and connections are the Comte St. Germain and one other suspicious and rather obscure person of interest. We have previously touched on St. Germain’s connections in our investigation of Geillis Duncan, and he will most likely come up again in our future investigation of Master Raymond.
It might interest you to know that as with so many of Diana’s characters, the Comte St. Germain was a real person with interests in the Occult?
You can find additional information concerning him and his connection in the Novella, The Space Between. The other person of some suspicion is a man by the name of Percy Beauchamp. He comes into the forefront in My Own Heart’s Blood with his own secretive agenda, of which we are still not quite certain of other than his search for Fergus. His story and connections are not exactly clear. He was a step brother to Lord John Grey, as well as having a more personal relationship with him. Beauchamp is the surname of his wife’s family in France? He is in search of Fergus because he believes that Fergus is a missing heir to that family… So, that would put Fergus with some sort of hypothetical connection to Claire? At this point we have always considered Fergus as an orphaned waif that Jamie rescued, raised and treated as a son. There is as yet no connection or mention of Fergus knowing anything about the secrets of Claire’s identity or her abilities. As far as we know, Fergus displays none of his own abilities in such a way but then again, as far as we’re aware, he’s most likely never been near to any Stone Circles or ancient places that might trigger his ability? One clue about his genealogy or his genetics and their connection to any of these travelers comes with the birth of his younger son. His younger son, Henri-Christian is a dwarf. Now, while this may not appear on the surface as anything significant, we need to look at some evidence or facts surrounding dwarfism. In many cases, it is an inherited gene.
Not all forms of dwarfism are caused by genetic disorders. Dwarfism can result from insufficient growth-hormone production, a low-functioning pituitary gland or other deficiencies in the endocrine system. One of the most common forms of dwarfism is achondroplasia: This is an inheritable disorder that affects the formation of cartilage in the long bones of the body. About 70 percent of dwarfism is achondroplastic. A person with achondroplastic dwarfism has a normal-sized head and trunk but disproportionately sized limbs.
There are 46 chromosomes in the human genome. Chromosomes are arranged in 23 pairs; each pair contains duplicate genes or alleles that code for a specific trait, like eye color or hair texture. The first 22 pairs of chromosomes are called autosomes. The last pair contains the sex chromosomes—X or Y—and determines the sex of the individual. Achondroplastic dwarfism is inherited in an autosomal-dominant pattern; in this case, “dominance” is just a term that describes a pattern of inheritance in which one gene can suppress the expression of the other in the allelic pair. This means that one achondroplastic dwarfism gene is enough to cause the disorder
There is much mention of Master Raymond being a dwarf, and if you read the Space Between, there is much discussion there of Dwarf families or sects in Paris during the times when Master Raymond and Comte St. Germain were living there. Once you put these bits and pieces together, it seems quite plausible or possible that although Fergus himself did show any sign of dwarfism, he may have carried the gene for it, passing it down to his son. If you follow along those lines, it also gives you cause to hypothesize or guess that there is some possible genetic link between Fergus and Master Raymond or his many descendents. Those thoughts and speculations, however will be followed up at some later point in our investigation of Master Raymond.
For now, we are only concerning ourselves with Claire’s ancestry and genealogy as we know of it. With that being said, I think we have covered as much of it as we can at this time!
So, in conclusion to our study of Claire’s ancestry and lineage, I would like to now introduce her with the title which her Uncle Lamb was working so hard to restore for her?
The Title that he was working on having restored was the Baron of St. Amand. After his death, Claire would become Baroness or Lady St. Amand. You may feel free to address her as either, but please do remember that she is indeed a Lady in her own right, rank and blood!
Ohhhhh, one last small detail or question…. In my search of all things Beauchamp, I ran across this Grimoire, labeled the Beauchamp Grimoire? Just a random musing on which of her ancestors might have owned such a thing?
A grimoire /ɡrɪmˈwɑr/ is a textbook of magic. Such books typically include instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination and also how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, and demons. In many cases, the books themselves are also believed to be imbued with magical powers, though in many cultures, other sacred texts that are not grimoires, such as the Bible, have also been believed to have supernatural properties intrinsically; in this manner while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should.
While the term grimoire is originally European and many Europeans throughout history, particularly ceremonial magicians and cunning folk, have made use of grimoires, the historian Owen Davies noted that similar books can be found all across the world, ranging from Jamaica to Sumatra, and he also noted that the first grimoires could be found not only in Europe but in the Ancient Near East.
Ohhhhh My Goodness, I forgot to include another piece of Claire’s Ancestry!