Archibald Fairbairn1

(say 1760 - between 1800 and 1841)
FatherArchibald? Fairbairn2 (say 1735 - )
Relationship4th great-grandfather of Lorna Henderson

BMDB data

     Archibald Fairbairn was estimated to have been born say 1760 probably in the ?Par. of Swinton & Simprim, BEW, SCT.1
     Archibald Fairbairn and Alison Crosser, daughter of Male ?James Croser, are estimated to have married say 1782 prob. in ?ROX or ?BEW, SCT, (this date being assumed from the age of eldest child believed to belong to this family.)1
     Archibald Fairbairn died bet. 1800 - 1841 prob. in Cavers?, Par. of Eckford, ROX, SCT; (unsurprisingly, he was shown as deceased (an agricultural labourer) when his son Walter died, and isn't immediately obvious in the 1841 census.)1,3
     John Fairbairn (m. Bessie fflint) is likely to be the family patriarch for the families of Archibald? Fairbairn, Robert Fairbairn, Archibald Fairbairn, Archibald Fairbairn, William Fairbairn (m. WANLESS), John Fairbairn and William Fairbairn.
The Archibald with the ? after his name has to have existed, as the Fairbairn Surname DNA project provided a DNA match between a descendant of Archibald Fairbairn and Alison Crosser, likely first son Archibald born Whitsome, Berwickshire, and a descendant of Archibald and Mary Grierson/Giessen's, son George, baptised Bowden, Roxburghshire. These two families are contemporaries in time and fairly close by place.
The name Archibald? is assigned as father of the Archibald who married Alison Crosser from my assumption that the 1783 baptism of an Archibald to an Archibald, hynd of Whitsome Vaults, is their likely eldest child.
Prompted by this unexpected success I researched the other Archibald and have now convinced myself that his father was Robert, and grandfather John (marr. Bessie fflint), this all being from both naming patterns of the children, and the baptisms being in the right area and timeframe as there are no convenient wills left around for us to find. The extended family also end up in all the right places (Smailholm and Kelso). There's even an Archibald as a witness to one of the baptisms, and a Thomas Anderson.

My calcs are that a grandfather to the two known to exist Archibalds would cover 8 generations in total, between the matching y_DNA candidates. This agrees with the 90% probability calculations from FamilyTree DNA's y_DNA calculations (95% that it was no more than 10).
This seemed good enough reason to join the families up in this way, it may however be a generation, or two, further back - until we also factor in the growing number of autosomal dna matches bewteen the two lines. (although subsequent BigY testing shows all tested candidate lines "meet" at a branch of the yDNA tree of mankind with an estimated formation of around 1725 - very conveniently about when John and Bessie married.)

You can read about this research journey on my personal Fairbairns page.4,2,5,6
The Fairbairn surname dna project has come up trumps - again.
I began to suspect that the family of FAIRBAIRNs I was tracing around in Ontario and Alberta just might belong to the family of an Archibald who married Jane Blakey in Tynemouth in 1841. Much later, I realised that I'd never actually checked this marriage cert. When this was remedied I was very interested to see that this Archibald's father was another Archibald.
Given that the one married to Jane was given as born about 1813 in Scotland in most available records, and the only Archibald son of Archibald I had in my database of Fairbairns was the one baptised in St Boswells in 1813 to Archibald F. and Janet Scott, it was looking even more likely that I'd found out what had happened to this latter Archibald, albeit that the father was shown with an occupation (gardener) that I hadn't associated with him. (Up till now I had assumed he had died prior to the 1841 census).
Thanks to a McKee researcher connected to the Ontario branch of these Fairbairns (who only knew their ancestry back to the Robert who married Martha Almira Huston), a descendant was convinced to represent his line in the Fairbairn dna project.
The preliminary results (Apr 2009) showed a 12/12 match, and by May they showed a 64/67 match, with the known descendant of Archibald and Janet (Scott) Fairbairn. QED, especially as two of those markers are unique in the project to this line, and marker cdya of 36 is shared with Martin the known descendant of Archibald and Janet (Scott) F, and none of the others in the project.
And when in Apr 2011 Ed turned up a military record for John, son of a Walter of Roxburghshire, which clearly showed his mother as Agnes ROBINSON, we finally had a proven representative of Archibald and Alison (Crosser) Fairbairn to compare the other representatives with. A good match.7,8

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     Cir. 1784 Archibald and Alison Fairbairn were living Swinton, BEW, SCT, assuming that son Walter accurately knew where he was born.
     Fr 1794 - 1797 Archibald and Alison Fairbairn were living Grahamslaw, Par. of Eckford, ROX, SCT, (where they were when two more children were baptised.)9,10 By Feb 1800 Archibald and Alison Fairbairn were living Cavers, Par. of Eckford, ROX, SCT, when youngest known son David was baptized (the entry doesn't read Caverton, or Caverton Mill, but I thought Cavers was in its own parish, not Eckford.)3

All the other info

     Archibald Fairbairn and James Fairbairn Yetholm & Morebattle, ROX, SCT, in 1778 were possibly related, as they are contemporaries by age and place, Archibald and Alison Crosser recorded as having children baptised in Morebattle, and James marrying a Mgt Croser in Yetholm, but the entry recording he was of Morebattle and sometime of this parish (Yetholm.)11 Archibald doesn't appear on the 1797/8 Farm Horse Tax Rolls for Eckford (David McDOUGAL of Cavertonmiln does with 20 actual horses, 14 of which were liable.)1213,14,15,16
     Archibald Fairbairn and Walter Fairbairn Swinton, BEW, SCT, cir. 1785 were possibly related as both Archibald and Walter had sons named Walter born Swinton, within 3 years of each other. Perhaps they are brothers?17

External links

     Click here to see Archibald's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.18
     Archibald Fairbairn belongs to a DNA tested line. There may be more information available on DNASurnames under the DNA project for his/her surname/line.


Alison Crosser (say 1760 - bet. 1800 - 1841)
  • Archibald Fairbairn+ (say Mar 1783 - May 1842); no records exist (that I've yet found) to conclusively link this Archibald father/son. Another candidate for his parents would be Archibald Fairbairn and Mary Grierson, but they married a bit later, and were firmly based around Bowden, St Boswells, Southdean and would be hard pushed to fit a son of his 1841 census age in between the other known children. DNA results also support that he is related to Archibald and Mary, but not as closely as others, being a 36/37 match with a known descendant of Archibald and Mary, so I've taken that as further circumstantial evidence that I've placed him in the right family, which the naming pattern of his children supports19
  • Walter Fairbairn+1 (cir. May 1785 - Jan 1859)
  • George Fairburn20 (cir. Mar 1787 - )
  • Robert Fairbairn+ (say 1789 - aft. 1851); originally a potential relationship based on, possible, naming pattern, and Napanee connections, now reinforced by atDNA matches between descendants of both Robert and of his assumed siblings James, David and Walter21
  • James Fairbairn+22 (cir. Dec 1794 - bet. 1851 - 1854)
  • John Fairbairn23,9 (cir. May 1797 - )
  • David Fairbairn+ (cir. Feb 1800 - Apr 1872); the connection between the David baptised to Archibald and Alison and the one married to Jane HERD and in Canada and America being made by naming pattern of children, that David and Jane's dtr Janet was baptised Swinton & Simprim, where my Walter was also from, and the family knowledge that he had a brother James (descendants inter-married) also with the correct naming pattern for his children24,25,26,3
My pedigree chart
Paternal ancestors of Lorna
Paternal timeline

Adam DAVIDSON's ancestors

Last Edited29 Dec 2018


  1. Walter FAIRBAIRN (11277), DC FAIRBAIRN, Walter 1859, p/copy held.
  2. FamilyTree DNA, "FamilyTree DNA", FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project, 36/37 marker match between descendants of two contemporary (time and place) Archibald FAIRBAIRNs, Dec 2007.
  3. Morebattle, ROX: Gateshaw Associate Session & Free Church Records: Item 4 (Gateshaw 1775-1907) & 8 (Free Church 1847-52), Bap. (at Morebattle) 23 Feb 1800 David s/o Archd FAIRBAIRN & Allison CROSSER, of Cavers, Par. of Eckford, ROX, extracted Jul 2008.
  4. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2007, updated Jan 2015.
  5. FamilyTree DNA, "FamilyTree DNA", FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project, 37/37 marker match between descendants of Archibald FAIRBAIRN & Mary GRIERSON, and of William FAIRBAIRN & Jean WANLESS, Mar 2008.
  6. FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project online at, 67 marker results for the three matching participants, rcvd Apr 2008.
  7. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2007, updated Feb 2009, and again Apr and May 2009.
  8. FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project online at, 12/12 match between descendants of Archibald and Janet (SCOTT) FAIRBAIRN and of Robert and Martha Almira (HUSTON) FAIRBAIRN, rcvd Apr 2009.
  9. Morebattle, ROX: Gateshaw Associate Session & Free Church Records: Item 4 (Gateshaw 1775-1907) & 8 (Free Church 1847-52), Bap. (at Morebattle) 14 May 1797 John s/o Archibald FAIRBAIRN & Alison CROSER, of Grahamslaw, Par. of Eckford, extracted Jul 2008.
  10. Morebattle, ROX: Gateshaw Associate Session & Free Church Records: Item 4 (Gateshaw 1775-1907) & 8 (Free Church 1847-52), Bap. (at Haughhead) 10 Dec 1794 James s/o Archibald FAIRBAIRN & Alison CROSER, of Grahamslaw, Par. of Eckford, ROX, extracted Jul 2008.
  11. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Jun 2008.
  12. 1797 Farm Horse Tax Rolls - Scotland online at, Par. of Eckford, extracted Dec 2009.
  13. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Apr 2008.
  14. Sanna F Ross (Gaffney), "EM FAIRBAIRN: Borders ex Sanna G," e-mail to Lorna & GenForum FAIRBAIRN, Marr. William FAIRBAIRN & Aylsie ELLIOTT, from Reby Dodds, "Who's Which?", rcvd c 2000?
  15. G Roy & Pat FAIRBAIRN, "Corres. FAIRBAIRN/WANLESS, Quebec ex G Roy & Pat F.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, 1983 visit Roy had had with Reby, taken from email to Sanna G from Roy, Jan 2003, copy rcvd Jan 2003, extracted Apr 2008, "I also visited Reby on 13 May 1983 at the retirement home in Perth, Ontario.Evidently she and her mother researched the book and brought it to publication."
  16. GenForum online at, Thomas & Elspeth (Redpath) FAIRBAIRN, Rideau Canal, posted Aug 2001 by Karen GRANT, extracted Jan 2003.
  17. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2007.
  18. WikiTree online at, Oct 2011.
  19. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Feb 2003, Dec 2007 & Mar 2008.
  20. FamilySearch, England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975: Bap. 18 Mar 1787 George s/o Archibald FAIRBURN & Alison CROSIER, Norham, NBL,, extracted Dec 2018.
  21. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Jul 2008, updated Jan 2015.
  22. Ann COSSAR, "EM FAIRBAIRN/CROS(I)ER ex Ann C," e-mail to L McIntosh (1), Bap. 10 Dec 1794 James s/o Archibald FAIRBAIRN and Alison CROSSER, Gateshaw Assoc Session, Morebattle, ROX, ex OPR index, rcvd Mar 1996.
  23. Ann COSSAR, "EM FAIRBAIRN/CROS(I)ER ex Ann C," e-mail to L McIntosh (1), Bap. 14 May 1797 John FAIRBAIRN, ex OPR index, rcvd Mar 1996.
  24. Ann COSSAR, "EM FAIRBAIRN/CROS(I)ER ex Ann C," e-mail to L McIntosh (1), Mar 1996 ex OPR index.
  25. Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854),, Birth 7 Bap 22 Apr 1832 Janet d/o David FAIRBAIRN & Janet HERD, Swinton & Simprim, BEW Dist 755, copy d/loaded Jun 2008.
  26. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Jul 2008.

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.