Jamie Fraser (played by Sam Heughan) has had a colourful life thus far in Outlander with the Highlander having to assume many different names and identities over the years which corresponded to various eras in his life.
For instance, Jamie introduced himself to Claire (Caitríona Balfe) as Jamie MacTavish when he believed she could be an English spy and later revealed he was actually called Jamie Fraser. He was also known as Sawny to his older brother Willie, in Ardsmuir he was Mac Dubh, at Helwater he was simply Alexander MacKenzie or Mac the groom and when he became a printer in Edinburgh he was Alexander Malcolm.
Is Jamie Fraser a MacKenzie?
The character’s full name is James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser and it’s clear Outlander writer Diana Gabaldon places a lot of importance in names and family history within the story.
Jamie is the son of Brian Fraser (Andrew Whipp) and his late wife Ellen MacKenzie, who sadly perished in childbirth.
Brian and Ellen had a forbidden romance, with the noblewoman coming from Clan MacKenzie, which her brothers Dougal (Graham McTavish) and Colum (Gary Lewis) tried to break up.
But Ellen and Brian’s romance was too strong and the pair holed up together until she was heavily pregnant and they’d be forced to marry for the sake of her honour.
The couple had a total of four children Jamie, Willie, Robert and daughter Jenny Murray (Laura Donnelly) but only two made it to adulthood.
While Jamie and the rest of his siblings do have MacKenzie blood through their mother Ellen, who belongs to the clan, they all became part of the Fraser clan.
Indeed, Jamie even lived for a while at the MacKenzies’ ancestral seat of Castle Leoch with his uncle Dougal, who was left-handed like him and taught him to sword fight with both hands.
Although Jamie is a Fraser, he had strong ties to the MacKenzie side of his family through his uncles and his love for his mother Ellen.
Moreover, the Frasers’ estate of Lallybroch sits on the border with MacKenzie land, showing the links between the clans.
When Claire returns to the future, she visits Culloden and finds a stone for Clan Fraser which leaves her emotional and reminds her of Jamie, believing her true love died on the battlefield.
Again, this suggests Jamie’s affinity with Clan Fraser over MacKenzie with Claire taking his surname.
When Jamie married second wife Laoghaire MacKenzie (Nell Hudson), she too became a Fraser and would be protected by her new husband under his name.
Ironically, Jamie’s daughter Brianna (Sophie Skelton) goes from being essentially a Fraser to a MacKenzie when she marries Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin).
Gabaldon has previously explained her reasoning for naming Jamie a Fraser rather than anything else and was inspired by a real-life historical figure.
The author explained how she was carrying out some research and read The Prince in the Heather by Eric Linklater, which covered the Battle of Culloden and its aftermath.
During the course of her research, Gabaldon learned 19 Jacobite soldiers were captured and kept by the side of a farmhouse in a field.
They were left wounded and untreated for two days and during this time, the Jacobites were led out one by one and shot by the English.
However, one man from Fraser of the Master of Lovet’s regiment was spared with Gabaldon settling on this name.
She told National Geographic in 2014: “And I was thinking that if I expect Jamie to survive Culloden then his last name better be Fraser.”
So, this is also why Jamie is a Fraser rather than a MacKenzie with his godfather and real-life figure Simon ‘Old Fox’ Fraser (Clive Russell) was featured in Outlander.