And sometimes the candle burned in memory of a young and reckless girl named Geneva, but he did not say that.

Geneva Dunsany was the daughter of Lord and Lady Dunsany, who reside at the Helwater estate. She blackmailed Jamie Fraser into a one-night stand, which resulted in their illegitimate child, William Ransom.

Personal History

Born the second child and eldest daughter of Lord and Lady Dunsany, Geneva was raised alongside her older brother, Gordon, and younger sister, Isobel. Gordon was killed in the Battle of Prestonpans during the Jacobite Rising of 1745; the Dunsanys took the loss very hard, and perhaps as a consequence cherished and spoiled their daughters even more than before. On her family's large estate, Geneva enjoyed handling and riding horses, possessing a good hand with them. At age seventeen, Geneva was forced to marry an elderly earl, but she had a few notions of what she would and would not accept about her lot in life.

Events of the Novels


See also: Voyager

In 1756, Geneva, the eldest living child of Lord and Lady Dunsany, is seventeen years old when Jamie Fraser arrives at Helwater to serve his parole after his release from Ardsmuir Prison.

By 1757, Geneva has become infatuated with Jamie and demands that he accompany her whenever she wishes to ride her horse. Jamie reluctantly acquiesces, communicating with her with "mumpish grunts."[2] In May, Geneva is told that she is to be married to the elderly Earl of Ellesmere, a man old enough to be her grandfather. Geneva is very unhappy about this and hatches a plan.

Two days later, she rides out to the fields where Jamie is working and tells Jamie that she wants him to bed her; she cannot bear to give her maidenhead to old Ellesmere. When Jamie refuses, she threatens to tell her father that Jamie has made improper advances to her, but Jamie calls her bluff and tells her to go ahead. Frustrated by his obstinacy, Geneva then produces a letter from Jamie's sister, Jenny, that she has somehow confiscated. The letter mentions gold being sent to the exiled Jacobite, Lochiel, in France. Geneva tells Jamie that if he doesn't do as she's asked, she will give the letter to her father; but if he will go to bed with her, then she will give the letter back to him. Fearing for his family's safety, Jamie sees no option but to agree. He tells Geneva to make sure she chooses a day soon after she finishes menstruating, to reduce the chances of becoming pregnant.

Jamie comes to Geneva's room one night, climbing up a vine to her balcony. He demands that Geneva hand over the letter first, and tells her that she may not call him 'Jamie', only 'Alex'. Geneva has heard the maids talk about sex and is scared that it might hurt, but she is determined nevertheless to go through with it. Jamie takes his time with Geneva and tells her that a man should pay tribute to her body. Geneva just lies there letting Jamie touch her. When Jamie enters her, she panics and screams at him to 'Take it out!', but Jamie covers her mouth, penetrates her fully, and finishes. Geneva asks Jamie to do it again, and they spend the entire night together. At one point, Geneva tells Jamie that she loves him, but he tells her that it is not love that she is feeling. Jamie leaves an hour before dawn.

Three days later Geneva is married. Lord Ellesmere is extremely kind to Geneva until her pregnancy starts to show. He knows the baby is not his, as he is impotent.

In January 1758, Geneva gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but a few hours later she starts hemorrhaging and dies.


Geneva was known as strong-willed and sharp-tongued, with an attitude that suggested she was accustomed to getting whatever she wanted. She was good with horses, but her difficult character made the estate's grooms dread accompanying her on her daily ride. While William was growing up, the consistent traits that his family told him about Geneva was that she was reckless and impulsive.

Physical Appearance

She is described tall and lean with shining chestnut hair, with her father's gray eyes, a small pointed chin and small pointed teeth. She is slim-hipped and small-breasted.[2] Lord John also notes that she is graceful, a marked contrast to the scrawny girl he remembers from years past.


  • Jamie Fraser – In 1757, while he is serving his parole as a Jacobite prisoner at Helwater, Jamie manages to send letters to his sister Jenny in secret until Geneva finds him out. She blackmails him into having sex with her, insisting she wants to give her virginity to a man of her choosing before her marriage to a much older, less desirable man.
  • Earl of Ellesmere – Geneva's marriage to the elderly earl is arranged as a suitable match. At first he is a kind husband, but when he discovers Geneva's pregnancy, he knows it is impossible that he is the father, and he suspects cuckoldry.


  • Geneva is possibly a shortened form of Genevieve, the English form of the French name Geneviève. These names ultimately derive from Genovefa, a Gaulish name possibly meaning "tribe woman".[3][4][5]
  • Dunsany is the name of a title in the Peerage of Ireland, as well as a castle in County Meath. It comes from the Irish Dún Samhnaí.[6]


TV Series

British-American actress Hannah James portrayed Geneva Dunsany in Season Three of the Outlander television series.


Season Three



  1. Date of birth for William Ransom, the same day as Geneva's death, is given as January 9 on the Outlander Timeline.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Voyager, chapter 14.
  3. Behind the Name: Geneva – accessed 2 December 2014
  4. Behind the Name: Geneieve – accessed 2 December 2014
  5. Behind the Name: Geneviève – accessed 2 December 2014
  6. Dunsany Castle and Demesne via Wikipedia. Accessed 10 May 2016.

Start a Discussion Discussions about Geneva Dunsany

  • All of William's names

    2 messages
    • william has many names; his family names, Christian names, titles, sur names, regiment titles. Why doesn't he ever use Dunsany? He u...
    • William's legal putative father, the 8th Earl of Ellesmere, was named Ludovic Ransom. So Ransom is the family surname. Another example...
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