François Frederic Roget - lecturer, historian, ski mountaineer and Huguenot
The pension records of the East India Company and India Office can sometimes lead to the discovery of fascinating individuals whom pensioners or their children had married.
One such individual is Professor François Frederic Roget, a university lecturer, historian, High Alps ski mountaineer and Huguenot.
Born in Geneva in 1859, he was the son of Philippe Roget and grandson of François Roget a writer and Professor of Classical History at Geneva. Roget was educated in Geneva and Heidelberg before coming to England (where his mother originated) to work first as a schoolmaster. He eventually settled in Edinburgh, working first at Fettes College and later at the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews.
In 1896 Roget returned to Geneva where he took up a post at the University of Geneva lecturing on French and English Literature, and he would remained connected with the University for the next 40 years.
As well as his academic work, Professor Roget was also a Genevan historian and many of his papers and publications promoted the Huguenot virtues and values to which he ascribed. He became a Fellow of the Huguenot Society in 1887 and an Honorary Fellow in 1924, writing many papers and giving many speeches including one for the monument erected in Geneva to commemorate the Calvinistic Reformation. He was also a prolific author, with over 70 published works to his name covering his professional and personal interests.
His love of Geneva extended to the mountains and he had a reputation both as a very experienced Alpinist and as a pioneer of High Alpine mountaineering on ski. In January 1909 he succeeded, along with Arnold Lund, to complete a high level traverse of the Bernese Oberland from end to end. The two men went from Kandersteg to Meieringen, and achieved the first ever winter ascent of the Finstaraarhorn.
Professor Roget was married 3 times and had a son and two daughters from his marriages. He died in Geneva on 16 August 1938.
It is his marriage to his second wife, Mrs Mary Jane Hutchinson, which brought him into the Madras Medical Fund Contingent Pension Records. Mrs Hutchinson was the widow of Alfred Hutchison Esq., a Canton merchant and the daughter of Dr Kenneth McKenzie Adams, a former Madras Assistant Surgeon. Roget had become acquainted with her during his time in Edinburgh, and the couple married on 2 October 1896. They had one daughter Frances Ismay, born in Geneva in 1898.
Mrs Hutchinson’s father had been a contingent pension subscriber to the Madras Medical Fund, and this meant that following his death in 1859, Mary Jane had been entitled to a pension for any periods of time that she was either unmarried or widowed. As her marriage to Professor Roget ended one such pension period, the details of the marriage were recorded in the fund registers.
Curator, India Office Records
Ac.2073 Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, Vol. 16 1938-1941, p. 204
IOR/L/AG/23/9/5 Madras Medical Fund List of Contingent Pensioners, 1867-1948