John Fairbairn1,2

(1792 - 1847)
FatherWilliam Fairbairn3,1 (cir. 1760 - 1809)
Mother-AssmdAylsie Elliott1,3 (1767 - 1827)
Relationship2nd cousin 5 times removed of Lorna Henderson


     After the Fairbairn DNA project came up with an excellent match between a descendant of William (marr. Jean Wanless) and a descendant of the John who married Sarah Daughterty then Charity Smithson, I thought I'd proven that John born c 1834, Grenville, belonged to David and Jane (Williamson), despite what his marriage and death certificates variously said.
I've subsequently (Dec 2009) found what just has to be that John's baptism and it re-itereates that his father was a John (ie not David) Fairbairn.
First thoughts after finding this baptism were that given the dna results, that there had to be a John, married to an Agnes Williamson, brother to both the David married to Jane Williamson and to William married to Jean Wanless.
Then along came another little snippet of information from Duncan4.
However inaccurate the other jottings are (at least three separate families are presented as one, see commentary with links), it does say:
"John came to Canada in 1815, lived in Grenville Quebec, the Hawkesbury Mills, Ontario. He was a mercer. He was killed when he was thrown from a horse"
"Born 1792 died 1847, married Jane Williamson. Children were born at Hawkesbury, Ontario" and lists children as Archibald; David (1822-1894 marr. Charity Walker 1845); James; William; Agnes; John;
Although the birth date is a little earlier than we have for David, the death date fits his absence from the 1851 census when Jane appears with assumed sons James and John, John being of an age to be the one later marrying Sarah Daughterty.
If William and David had a brother John, this John with Jane might be a nephew of course, but my ever flexible theory is now that David (marr. to Charity Walker)'s father isn't a David, but a John, who married Jane Williamson, and these are the parents of both David marr. Charity Walker, and of John marr. Sarah Daughterty.
As Jane Williamson's sister Agnes is spoken for, I'm also prepared to believe that the one cert. that says John's mother is an Agnes could still be wrong, and should read Jane.
(NB the Wellington County Archives document shows the John marr. to Jane Williamson as the son of John Fairbairn and Elizabeth Yule. Their son John was actually born in 1784, married Julian Boak, and died in Inverkip, Renfrew, Scotland in 1863, and the family did indeed include mercers, rather than the millers John's Fairbairns are.)1,5,6,2,7

BMDB data

     John Fairbairn was born in 1792 ?SCT A 1792 date comes from the Wellington Co ONT file, but doesn't match that of the son of John and Elizabeth YULE that the file (erroneously) gives to be John marr. Jane WILLIAMSON's parents, so must be based on some family information somewhere that is yet to be found.
It does however closely match the John born to William and Ann (BROWN) FAIRBAIRN at Doddington and baptised in Wooler Non Confirmist church. This couple also have a son William, unfortunately, not born Apr 1790.
John's brother William's son Archibald was baptised at Wooler.
The 1829 census isn't much help as it has wide age bands (30 - 60.)7,8,9,10
     John Fairbairn married Jane Williamson, daughter of David Williamson, say 1818 ?QUE, CAN, Was Jane married to John or David?
The links between Jane and John are in the Wellington Co, ONT FAIRBAIRN family file, which has a number of errors, but presumably stronger in what is getting to living memory for presumed descendant Norah Carlow.
Evidence places Jane with all of the sons, either by proximity or on the same census, except David whose only appearance is as the likely informant for her death. The only real "proof" of David's name is that Doug Brown's family records show that David that mar. Charity was David II in the history he inherited.
For now however, given Agnes is highly likely to be a dtr of Jane (living next door in 1851 and Jane living with them in 1871), the naming pattern of Alex and Agnes' family indicates Agnes' parents may be a John and Jane.11,12,13,14,7,15,5
     John Fairbairn was assumed to have died in 1847 ?Hawkesbury Mills, Prescott Co., ONT, CAN, fell from horse (this assumes John who fell from his horse, is our previous David married to Jane WILLIAMSON, and not the mercer John. The date does fit the information that Jane is a widow in 1851, but not necessarily the implied absence of John/David from the 1841 census.)7,16,17
     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.18,19,20,21 A tree Bart copied from the Wellington Cty archives shows Jane, mother of Archibald, David (mar. Charity), James, William, Agnes and John, as Jane WILLIAMSON and marrying 1816 to John FAIRBAIRN, s/o John F and Elizabeth YULE. This John actually married Julian BOAK and stayed in Scotland.22
I (Ross) have verified that fact that my ancestor David built a Mill at Farrelton is in Dodd's book but have not found any further information on it. We have found more where David's son Archibald settled and is buried. (Nancy adds that Farrelton is the next town up the Gaineau River from Wakefield, so the two brothers had the monopoly on mills in the area)
Subsequent info from Reby's book also names John as having built a mill at Farrelton, with the same Archibald and William sons and William's wife assigned to Archibald.23,24,25

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     John Fairbairn appeared on the census of 1829 Grenville, QUE, CAN, with Jane Fairbairn, enumerated as John FAIRBURN, non proprietor, close to David WILLIAMSON (prob. his father-in-law) - hsehold:
male under 5 ......... 1 (Robert?)
male 5 to 14 ......... 2 (?Archibald and David?)
female under 14 ....... 2 (Ella and Agnes?)
married male 30 to 60 .. 1 (John)
married female over 14....1 (Jane)
number in household ..... 7.10 John Fairbairn was a farmer in 1845 Masham, QUE, CAN.17


     John Fairbairn was also known as David Fairbairn Name initially provided for the husband of Jane WILLIAMSON, now believed to be John instead.13,12,3,1

All the other info

     John Fairbairn was considered as a potential relative of William Fairbairn (Schoolmaster, Bowden; m. Margaret SCOTT), but this has been discounted; Gordon Roy's 1996 chart showed this David, wife unknown, father of Archibald (mar. GRAHAM) and William (mar FARREL) as a sibling of William F (mar. Jean WANLESS) and both as children of William FAIRBAIRN and Elsie ELLIOT, with this William being the son of John FAIRBAIRN and Helen ANDERSON but the latters' son William is the schoolteacher who married Margaret SCOTT (and a descendant is a completely different haplogroup than descendants of William and Jean (WANLESS) FAIRBAIRN.3,26,27 John Fairbairn was considered as a potential duplicate of David Fairbairn, but this has been discounted; one the son of Archibald & Alison (Crosser) FAIRBAIRN, the other the brother of the William who married Jean Wanless (which David is sometimes shown as John, sometimes as David)
Both David and James, sons of Archibald and Alison (Crosser) FAIRBAIRN have now been found, it is clear that these two Davids are separate people, reinforced by dna evidence showing that although the families are among the more closely related Lineage 1a FAIRBAIRNs, they each belong to separate sub branches.28
     John Fairbairn is a potential duplicate of John Fairbairn; one John, s/o Arch & Alison chr 1797, in SCT, the other John, father of the John who married Sarah Daughterty, Prescott Co, ONT in 1862.
This theory has swung in and out several times over the years, and last came back in when the documented confusion of Jane Williamson's husband was a David or a John was found.
However I am now convinced that the John father of John married to Sarah Daughterty is actually the son of John and Jane (Williamson), this John being the brother of the William married to Jane Wanless.
Further documented evidence is however lacking, but would be good to find.
DNA evidence shows that although descendants of Archibald and Alison (Crosser) are closely related to the descendants of William and Jane (Wanless) all 4 tested so far share cdya=37 rather than 36 that all of Archibald and Alison's part of lineage 1a have.
It would still be good however to have a descendant from one of John and Jane (Williamson) Fairbairn's other sons to join the dna project to confirm the dna signature for that line, and see what that tells us.29,7,30,3132,33,34,35

External links

     Click here to see John's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.36
     John Fairbairn belongs to a DNA tested line. There may be more information available on DNASurnames under the DNA project for his/her surname/line.


Jane Williamson (1794 - Dec 1876)
  • Essa Fairbairn (cir. 1819 - )
  • A? J? Fairbairn37,15 (cir. 1819 - aft. 1852)
  • Archibald Fairbairn3,13,38 (cir. 1821 - aft. 1881)
  • David Fairbairn+ (Mar 1822 - Aug 1894); appears in Doug's Aunt Betty's notes as David FAIRBAIRN II, which implies his father was David I, but now looks to be John instead12,15
  • William George Fairbairn3,39,38 (cir. Oct 1823 - May 1894)
  • Robert Fairbairn39,40 (cir. 1827 - aft. 1842)
  • Agnes Fairbairn7 (cir. 1828 - Dec 1876)
  • James Fairbairn13 (Apr 1830 - Nov 1905)
  • John Fairbairn+41,2,6,5 (Apr 1833 - Mar 1909)
ChartsJohn & Bessie (FFLINT) FAIRBAIRN
Last Edited18 Jan 2022


  1. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Conclusions", Dec 2009.
  2. online at, Birth 15 Apr 1833 Bap. 14 Sep 1834 John s/o John FAIRBAIRN of Grenville, Lower Canada, St-Philippe-d`Argenteuil (Church of Scotland) , from the Drouin Collection, extracted Dec 2009.
  3. G Roy & Pat FAIRBAIRN, "Corres. FAIRBAIRN/WANLESS, Quebec ex G Roy & Pat F.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Feb 1996.
  4. Duncan BLACHFORD, "EM FAIRBAIRN/ATCHESON ex Duncan B," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Assorted FAIRBAIRN jottings (possibly by Reby Dodds?), deposited in the Wellington County Archives, Ontario, copy rcvd Dec 2009.
  5. Index of births, marriages and deaths,, Dth 28 Mar 1909 John A FAIRBAIRN, born 7 Sep 1834, CAN, d. Stillwater, St Croix & Greeley, Washington Co MN, Cert 13830, copy rcvd Dec 2008.
  6. online at, Marr. 1 May 1862 John A FAIRBURN & S A DOUGHERTY, Prescott, ONT, FHL Film 1030064, from Ontario, Canada Marriages, 1857-1924 (index only), extracted Sep 2008.
  7. Duncan BLACHFORD, "EM FAIRBAIRN/ATCHESON ex Duncan B," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, "Fairbairn Family", from a copy of an undated, unsourced document found "several years ago" in the Wellington County, Ontario Archives Fairbairn file, (now understood to be submitted pre-1994 by a Nora CARLOW, now deceased), copy rcvd Dec 2009.
  8. FamilySearch Labs Record Search (LDS) online at, Birth 11 Jul Bap. 18 Jul 1791 John s/o William & Ann FAIRBAIRN, United Associated Tower Hill N(on) C(onformist), Wooler, NBL, from England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 batch P00455-1 film 87986, extracted Mar 2012.
  9. FamilySearch Labs Record Search (LDS) online at, Birth 4th Feb Bap. 15 Feb 1815 Archibald s/o William & Jane FAIRBAIRN, United Presb. Cheviot St, N(on) C(onformist), Wooler, NBL, from England, Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 batch P00454-1 film 87986, re-checked Mar 2012.
  10. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, 1829 Grenville QUE Census, family of John FAIRBURN, nr David WILLIAMSON, extract rcvd Dec 2009.
  11. Gordon SUDDABY, "FT (and Emails) FAIRBAIRN/WALKER ex GSuddaby Rootsweb," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Sep 2002 Family tree.
  12. Douglas BROWN (29659), "EM FAIRBAIRN, David ex Douglas B," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Aug 2002.
  13. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Jan 2003.
  14. online at, Marr. Jane d/o David WILLIAMSON & (no forename) FAIRBAIRN, from "The History of the Williamson Family and where they came from, or in other words, their "Family Tree", by Sarah WILLIAMSON, tree of dstcooke, Virginia, USA, extracted Dec 2009.
  15. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2009.
  16. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From 1851 Quebec Census Jan 2003.
  17. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, 1845 John FAIRBAIRN, farmer of Masham, extract from Who's Which, provided by Marcie to Ross, rcvd Dec 2009.
  18. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2007, updated Jan 2015.
  19. FamilyTree DNA, "FamilyTree DNA", FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project, 36/37 marker match between descendants of two contemporary (time and place) Archibald FAIRBAIRNs, Dec 2007.
  20. 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.
  21. FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project online at, 67 marker results for the three matching participants, rcvd Apr 2008.
  22. Bart & Helen (LINDSAY) FAIRBAIRN, "Corres. re FAIRBAIRN ex Bart & Helen, CAN," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, ex descendant chart found in Wellington Cty Archives, rcvd Feb 2003.
  23. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Rcvd Feb 2006.
  24. Nancy TAYLOR, "EM FAIRBAIRN/WANLESS ex Nancy T," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Rcvd Oct 2007.
  25. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Farrelton Mill FAIRBAIRN(s) ex Reby DODD's book, extract from a cousin of Ross's, rcvd Dec 2009.
  26. Letter, Janis ULSTEIN to (1), Jun 1996.
  27. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Mar 2008.
  28. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Mar 2008, updated Jun 2008.
  29. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", 1996, Jul 2008, updated Jan & Dec 2009, Feb 2012.
  30. Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) "Fairbairn Family", submitted by Nora CARLOW (now deceased), pre 1994, from correspondence with the archivist of the Wellington County, Ontario Archives, rcvd Dec 2009.
  31. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Dec 2009.
  32. Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Apr 2008.
  33. 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?
  34. 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."
  35. GenForum online at, Thomas & Elspeth (Redpath) FAIRBAIRN, Rideau Canal, posted Aug 2001 by Karen GRANT, extracted Jan 2003.
  36. WikiTree online at, Oct 2011.
  37. Census image, Canada, via, 1851 Hull, Ottawa County, Canada East (Quebec). Schedule: A. Roll: C_1131, Page 67, Line: 35, hsehold of A?J? FAIRBURN, extracted Dec 2009.
  38. Sanna F Ross (Gaffney), "EM FAIRBAIRN: Borders ex Sanna G," e-mail to Lorna & GenForum FAIRBAIRN, extracted from Reby DODDS "Who's Which", researched prior to 1970, rcvd Feb 2003.
  39. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From 2* gt grandmother Georgianna nee FAIRBAIRN, rcvd Jan 2003.
  40. Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From Census records 1851-1871 received Jan 2003.
  41. FamilyTree DNA, "FamilyTree DNA", DNA match between William (F-12), a descendant of John s/o of John & Jane (WILLIAMSON) FAIRBAIRN, and Roy (F-3) a descendant of John's brother William, rcvd Mar 2009.

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.