Hit or myth?

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This page attempts to pull together and discuss assorted theories and published data ("published" is in the sense of both printed publications, and in the more ephemeral web based trees to be found, or have been shared with me over the years).

The trees and linkages covered are not solely those claiming connections to Sir William's tree, but any that may bear a closer scrutiny as to their claims.
Opinions expressed on this page are entirely mine unless credited otherwise.
Please accept this information in the spirit it is offered - to provide a more accurate overall picture of the FAIRBAIRN family trees.
It is all most definitely E.& O.E.
Whereas I am always building on the research of others, the final interpretation and checking for publication is mine, hence any mistakes likewise.

Anyone with anything able to clarify any of the conundrums or correct any mistakes, or simply with information to add, is most welcome to get in touch with better information (see Compiler link in each footer).

Check back occasionally, these pages are a work in progress.
Also remember to check out the One Name Study pages for the lineages published there.

My ancestor was first cousin to Sir William

Hit or Myth?
If you research FAIRBAIRNs on the Scottish Borders, chances are you have come across trees and/or reports that somebody or other was "a (first) cousin of Sir William Fairbairn".
They cannot all be true.
However, the dna project is rather showing us that many of the lines are showing a relationship of some sort to each other, to a greater or lesser degree. The majority of these matches are in Haplogroup I1 (Lineage 1).

Our representative for the line of Schoolmaster William at Bowden then Galashiels, Uncle of Sir William, had nary a match anywhere in the Family Tree DNA tested world, until Oct 2011, when an 11/12 match popped out of the woodwork in Haplogroup R1b.
At 67 markers however the match dropped off to only 60/67, but did begin the formation of a hopefully growing Lineage 2b.
Since then he has been joined by a representative from a line living in Durham from the 1740s, forebear a John born abt 1710.
Although this is an excellent match, 66/67, no papertrail connection is immediately obvious, with the closest relationship to John, father of William the schoolmaster, having to be at least cousins given they are near contemporaries by age Results just in for Haplogroup R1b1 show a match to a descendant of the Schoolmaster William.
Until now this descendant had

Genealogical Tree of Clan Fairbairn Compiled from the Year 1563

A scanned copy of the first few pages of a "Genealogical Tree of Clan Fairbairn Compiled from the Year 1563" has been shared with me by Patti, original provenance/author unknown.  This is the one with the crest on the cover included on John's page, and with an outline on the WFN Patriarchs page (page up for the comparison with the 1976 version).

Although the contents begin in 1563, showing much the same string of Johns and Roberts, with references to "stones in Ednam" (q.v.) as the 1976 one below, the main detail in the book is apparently the family of a John born 1688 and marrying 1713, places unstated, but shown with 9 children:

#1: John, born 1714 Nenthorn, married 1748 to Helen Anderson, and possibly also to ??

#2: Robert, born 1716 Nenthorn, married 1744 wife not stated, and dying 1800, shown as the forbear of the line leading to James and Helen (Goodfellow) Fairbairn

#8: Patrick, no dates, no spouse name given, but annotated as having Australian descendants, and fitting in between #7 Agnes born 1726 and married in 1747 to a Patrick Crawford, and #9 Margaret born 1729 and marrying James Hall in 1751.
NB A Patrick and Margaret (Purves) are shown in Burke's Colonial Gentry (1970) as parents of the John who married Jessie Johnston, forbears of the Australian line, however check out James and Elizabeth (Purves) Fairbairn, buried Earlston, as an alternate view.


1976 papers deposited with the Scottish Genealogy Society

Main differences between this 1976 deposited tree, and the "1563 with crest" version above are:

  1. Family of John b 1688 and marrying 1713: 
    1. John born 1714 is shown as marrying both:
      1. Lucy Eadster (1745) and
      2. Helen Anderson, (1754)
        Comments: John and Helen actually married (at Nenthorn) in May 1748.
        John and Lucy Eadster however, are believed to have married 1748 and be the parents of the John who married Elizabeth Yule (see many postings on the GenForum Fairbairn board as this is the family of the late Sanna, a frequent, helpful, poster on the forum).
    2. Patrick is given a birth date of 1728 and is shown as marrying Margaret Purvis in ? and dying in 1790.  Several trees do also have this information, but as stated above under the 1563 version, check out James and Elizabeth (Purves) Fairbairn for an alternate view.
  2. Family of John and Helen (Anderson)
    1. Son William b 1756 is shown as marrying Margaret Thomson and as forbears of John of Mayo Clinic fame.  Yes Dr John of Mayo clinic fame does have a William and Margaret (Thomson) as forebears, but I interpret the Ednam headstones as showing William's parents as Edward and Jean (Davidson) Fairbairn.
      In addition, the 1756 William, son of John and Helen (Anderson) F. was much more likely to be the schoolmaster who taught his nephew (later Sir) William book-keeping at his school in Galashiels. (See the "The life of Sir William Fairbairn, bart")
    2. Sir William and Sir Peter are shown as cousins, not brothers, both should be sons of Andrew and Margaret (Henderson).
    3. Son Peter is shown as having died 1828, Barbados (I have also seen on other trees that he died in Liberia, or Barbados). His death is actually mentioned in the Guiana Colonist & Demerary Gazette of Mon 8 Jul 1822 as having died at Pln Ross, West Coast Berbice, "yesterday sennight". 

"Stones in Ednam"

Both of the above versions of an overall FAIRBAIRN pedigree have references to an early "stone in Ednam", for both:

  • John b 1585 m 1610 d 1645, son of a 1563 John marrying in 1585, and father of a Robert b 1611 marrying 1636
  • Robert b 1662 m 1683 d 1697 (one version, no death date on the other), son of a John born 1637 marrying 1662 and father of the John b 1688 marrying 1713 (among others), reputed to be father of the John marrying Helen Anderson.

The stones in Ednam may well have been legible in years past, but those above are no longer evident.

The booklet "Roxburghshire monumental Inscriptions VI Ednam" does not contain any FAIRBAIRN stones that early.
The booklet does however contain the stones relating to the family of Ednam blacksmiths.

Should anyone come across earlier transcriptions of those referred to above please send an email to the Project Administrator with the details.

However, another interpretation has recently come to light when further details were provided from Reby Dodd's Who's Which
Reby's spin on these "stones in Ednam" is that they "lived Graveston in Ednam", which place has not yet been located.
It is hard to know which came first, and if either are mispinterpretations of the other.

Reby Dodds' "Whos Which"

See the WFN Patriarchs page for an extracted pedigree from Reby Dodds' Whos Which

Further comments are available against the individuals concerned:

"The Fairbairn Family" by Nora CARLAW from the Wellington County Ontario archives file

See the WFN Patriarchs page for a summary of an extracted pedigree from a Fairbairn family tree deposited in the Wellington County, Ontario archives by the late Nora CARLAW.

Further comments are available by following the links to the individuals concerned: