Walter Fairbairn1,2

(circa 1784 - 19 January 1859)
FatherArchibald Fairbairn3 (say 1760 - bet. 1800 - 1841)
MotherAlison Crosser3 (say 1760 - bet. 1800 - 1841)
Relationship3rd great-grandfather of Lorna Henderson

BMDB data

     Walter Fairbairn was born cir. 1784 Swinton, BEW, SCT, 1851 census implies 1784/5,which agrees with the age on the h/stone, and provides place (which disagrees with that from the 1841 census.)4,3,5 Some sources believe Walter Fairbairn was born cir. 1787 as dth cert says 72 in 1859, which is contradicted by both the 1851 census and the h/stone.3 Other sources indicate Walter Fairbairn was born cir. 1791 ENG but as ages were rounded to the nearest 5 years, the actual age could be 46 thru 54 in 1841, giving 1787 thru 1795 as a possible range. Given that the 1851 census and dth cert both agree, c 1784 is the more likely date.6
     Walter Fairbairn married Agnes Robinson, daughter of John Robinson and Ann UnknownSurname, on 22 Nov 1806 Morebattle, ROX, SCT, OPR entry reads: "Walter Fairbairn and Agnes Robinson, date of irregular marriage 22 Nov 1806, date of confirmation 3 Jan 1808.7'
     Walter Fairbairn died on 19 Jan 1859 Morebattle, ROX, SCT; Dist (Morebatttle) cert #2 reads: Walter Fairbairn, pauper formerly ag lab, married, died 10:30am at Morebattle, aged 72 (sic MIs, and h/stone, say 75), s/o Archibald Fairbairn ag lab, dec, ad Alison m.s. Crosser, dec; of natural causes, body seen by Henry ?Best? surgeon Kelso as certified by ??, bur. Morebattle Churchyard; Inf. Mary Fairbairn, dtr, present.8 He was buried with Agnes Robison in the Churchyard, Morebattle, ROX, SCT, Described in the MI booklet as "Ivy covered stone leaning against enclosure wall" entry reads: "IMO Walter Fairbairn who died at Morebattle 19.1.1959 (sic, should be 1859!!) aged 75 yrs and Agnes Robison his wife died 1.4.1863 aged 77 yrs also Peter Holiday died Oct 1883 aged 62 yrs also Mary Fairbairn wife of Peter Holiday died 28.11.1902 aged 76 yrs and of Ann Fairbairn their dtr who died 8.11.???? (now known to be 1891) aged 81 yrs". I managed to visit this cemetery, and find the stone with the help of the kindly couple who lived on the corner of Teapot Lane (or similar name). They also opened the church and showed me the interior, which post dated my Fairbairn ancestors' stay in Morebattle. The cemetery has a lovely outlook over rolling fields.8,5
     From the naming pattern of existing children I expected a daughter called Alison and a son John to eventually surface to complete the Scottish naming pattern and fill in the gap in the known children of Walter and Agnes. Jan 2008 saw Alison surface! All as a side effect of being found by a descendant of an unexpected dtr of Peter Sinton. I went looking for other Mabon researchers, picked one who happened to live in NZ, and instead of finding a related set of Sinton/Mabon Jedburgh families, I found a descendant of the missing Alison Fairbairn. All I need now is confirmation that the John in New York of an age to be the expected John in the family, is actually related.
May 2009 update: a descendant of the New York John has been found for the dna project, with preliminary 12 marker dna results in. With a 12/12 match with descendants of the Archibald I believe to be Walter's brother, considerable weight has been added to both these theoretical linkages.
I have to add however, that there is another candidate for Walter, yet another Walter born c 1787 Swinton (marr. Agnes Renton), who just has to be related too. On balance though, my Walter of Morebattle is the better candidate in that we have evidence that he at least lived in Roxburghshire.
Apr 2011 update: all things coming to those who wait, and have access to local research. Thank you Ed, it only took us 12+ years to prove we really were "cousins". The DNA results mentioned above had been further strengthened by both the 12/12 match becoming 36/37, and a documented descendant of Walter's brother David also matching (65/67) with our New York representative. Now, finally, we have written proof, in the form of son John's military discharge.9,10

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     Walter Fairbairn was a labourer when son Archibald born in Mar 1808 Morebattle, ROX, SCT.11
     Walter appeared on the census of 7 Jun 1841 Morebattle, ROX, with Agnes Fairbairn, as FAIRBAIRN: Walter, 50, b ENG; Agnes, 50, born ENG, no occupation stated; Mary 14, b. county (NB instructions to the enumerators for this census were to round ages to the nearest multiple of 5, children tended to have their ages accurately recorded - or at least as accurate as such things can be. These instructions were not always followed.)6
     Walter and Agnes Fairbairn appeared on the census of 30 Mar 1851 Morebattle, ROX, as FAIRBAIRN: Walter, 66 b Swinton, BEW, pauper, street cleaner; Agnes, 65 b ENG, pauper's wife; dtr Mary, 23 b Morebattle, emp. in house.4 Walter Fairbairn was described as a pauper, formerly an ag. labourer on his dth cert in Jan 1859 Morebattle, ROX.3 He was shown as a general labourer on his son's 1867 dth cert, but farmer on son John's 1864 military discharge - the effect of distance on "memory" in Nov 1867.12,10 He was shown as a labourer (dec) on dtr Agnes' dth cert in May 1884.2

External links

     Click here to see Walter's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.13
     Walter Fairbairn belongs to a DNA tested line. There may be more information available on DNASurnames under the DNA project for his/her surname/line.


Agnes Robinson (cir. 1786 - Apr 1863)
My pedigree chart
Ancestors & siblings of Les Henderson
Paternal ancestors of Lorna
Paternal timeline

Adam DAVIDSON's ancestors

Last Edited7 Sep 2014


  1. Edward STEWART (18124), "EM FAIRBAIRN, John ex Ed S," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Dth cert 1896 John FAIRBAIRN, rcvd Jan 1999.
  2. Agnes DAVIDSON nee FAIRBAIRN, DC DAVIDSON, Agnes Chirnside 1884, p/copy taken 1994/5 held.
  3. Walter FAIRBAIRN (11277), DC FAIRBAIRN, Walter 1859, p/copy held.
  4. 1851 census, Borders, ROX, Maxton, Melrose, Jedburgh, Southdean, Morebattle, ROX, Dist 811, Enum Dist ??, entry #11.
  5. Borders FHS, MIs: ROX Morebattle, Entry #125, extracted 1994.
  6. 1841 Census, Borders, SCT, LDS Film, Dist #1 page 8.
  7. OPR Baptisms Marriages: Morebattle, ROX, SCT, Mar. 1806/8 FAIRBAIRN/ROBINSON, trans. L McIntosh Sep/Oct 1994.
  8. Walter FAIRBAIRN (11277), DC FAIRBAIRN, Walter 1859, p/copy held, scannded Dec 2011.
  9. "Lorna's Family History Musings", Jan 2008, updated May 2009, and Apr 2011.
  10. Edward STEWART (18124), "EM FAIRBAIRN, John ex Ed S," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Enlistment 4 Jan 1864 (Kingston) Discharge 29 Apr 1864 (Elmira) John FAIRBAIRN, (of Hardenburgh, born Scotland) , from Record of Soldiers & Officers In the Military Service, enlisted since July 1863 and credited to other places, image ex Town Clerk, rcvd Apr 2011.
  11. OPR Baptisms Marriages: Morebattle, ROX, SCT, Baptism 1808 Archibald FAIRBAIRN, trans. L McIntosh Sep/Oct 1994.
  12. Archibald FAIRBAIRN (13611), DC FAIRBAIRN, Archibald 1867, p/copy held.
  13. WikiTree online at, Added Oct 2011.
  14. Amanda MABON, "EM FAIRBAIRN/STEWART ex Amanda M," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Dth 1891 Alison STEWART nee FAIRBAIRN, rcvd (phone conversation) Jan 2008.
  15. Edward STEWART (18124), "EM FAIRBAIRN, John ex Ed S," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Dth 1896 John s/o Walter FAIRBAIRN, rcvd Jan 1999.
  16. Edward STEWART (18124), "EM FAIRBAIRN, John ex Ed S," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Birth 9 Jun 1812 John (of Hardenburgh) s/o Walter (farmer) FAIRBAIRN & Agnes ROBINSON, Scotland, from Record of Soldiers & Officers In the Military Service, enlisted since July 1863 and credited to other places, image ex Town Clerk, rcvd Apr 2011.
  17. GRO, SCT, BDM searches at GRO SCT: Dth 1903 Walter FAIRBAIRN, transcr. Stuart H, ?pre 2000?

E. & O. E. Some/most parish records are rather hard to read and names, places hard to interpret, particularly if you are unfamiliar with an area.