John Davidson1

(circa 1817 - 30 November 1900)
Fathermale Davidson? (say 1790 - bef. 1900)
MotherAnn Collan2 (Jan 1793 - Nov 1863)
Relationship2nd great-grandfather of Lorna Henderson

BMDB data

     John Davidson was born cir. 1817 Chirnside, BEW, SCT, (Chirnside Kirk Sessions onlne at SctP have a gap between 1814 and 1837, as at Oct 2021. Nothing found 1812-1825 in Dunse.)3
     John Davidson married Agnes Fairbairn, daughter of Walter Fairbairn and Agnes Robinson, on 14 Nov 1839 Chirnside, BEW, OPR entry reads: "John Davidson of Chirnside and Agnes Fairbairn of Edrom Parish were married". The entry immediately preceding this was the marriage of Andrew Jeffrey and Margaret Hogg, their future son-in-law's parents.4
     John Davidson died on 30 Nov 1900 Chirnside, BEW; cert #27 reads: "John Davidson, labourer, widower of Agnes Fairbairn died 1900 Nov 30th 7:40pm Chirnside, aged 82. Mother Ann Collins, dec. cert. by S Macvie. Informant: John Davidson (signed) son. Registered Chirnside Dec 1st."5 He was buried with Agnes Fairbairn Chirnside, BEW, H/Stone Inscription:
In Affectionate Remembrance of AGNES FAIRBAIRN wife of JOHN DAVISON (sic) who died at Chirnside 22. May 1884, aged 67 years.
Also MARGARET, their daughter who died in infancy.
Also the said JOHN DAVIDSON, who died 30. November 1900, aged 82 years.
Also their daughter HELEN DAVIDSON, who died 28. September 1905, aged 64 years.6
     Given our lack of knowledge of John's ancestry, we are pinning our hopes on genetic genealogy for some hints.
However our sole Y-DNA result from a direct male line down from John has no close matches, and no obvious surname groupings amongst any of the matches.
The only DAVIDSON surnamed matches are down at the Y-DNA12 level, ie anthropolgical rather than genealogical time frames, and none of those survive to the next level of testing, or have not tested beyond Y-DNA12.
All may not be lost yet however as autosomal dna testing in the form of a FamilyFinder test from FamilyTreeDNA is beginning to throw out some interesting matches where the match appears to belong to the DAVIDSON/COLLINS side rather than the FAIRBAIRN side of the ancestry shared by Lorna and our direct male line DAVIDSON testee.
Should any descendant of John's wish to help us pinpoint where these matches might lie, they would be most welcome to join Lorna's FamilyFinder project on FamilyTreeDNA.
Most particularly welcome would be descendants down from lines other than those currently represented (Adam and Walter).

There is a tantalising hint that there may be an earlier Adam in the family of John & Agnes, apparently baptized Edrom in 1838. I have not, as yet, managed to find the image associated with this entry, at least not without a visit to a FHC.7,8

Census/Where lived/Occupations

     In Nov 1839 John Davidson was living Chirnside, BEW, SCT.9 He was described as a labourer on dtr Agnes' baptism Chirnside, BEW, in Mar 1840.10
     John Davidson appeared on the census of 1841 Little Billie, Par. of Bunkle & Preston, BEW, SCT, with Agnes Davidson, as DAVIDSON: John 24 ag lab b BEW; Agnes 25 b SCT (sic); Agnes 1 b SCT; Margaret HUNTER 15 ag lab b BEW (NB enumerators were instructed to round ages down to the nearest multiple of 5.)11 By Mar 1842 John Davidson was a hind Little Billie, Par. of Bunkle & Preston, BEW.12,11 In May 1844 John Davidson was a labourer Chirnside, BEW.13 He was described as a hind when dtr Mary born Mungos Walls, Par. of Edrom, BEW, SCT, in 1846 also when son Walter born there in 1848.14,15
     John and Agnes Davidson appeared on the census of 30 Mar 1851 Harelawside, Par. of Coldingham, BEW, SCT, as (all Davidson): John, head, farm servant, 33 b Chirnside, BEW, Agnes wife 33 b Morebattle, BEW (sic). Children: Agnes, 11, scholar b Morebattle; Allison (should be Helen!), 9, b Bunkle, BEW; John, 7, scholar, b Chirnside, BEW; Mary, 5, Walter, 2 both b Edrom, BEW; Jas (should be Adam!), 1m b Coldingham, BEW.(Image held which supports the tranascript!)16 By 1854 John was a farm servant Nether Mains, Par. of Chirnside, BEW, SCT, when the birth of his eldest dtr, actually born in 1840, was registered in the Morebattle Parish records.17
     The census of 7 Apr 1861 showed John with his wife Agnes, their sons James, John, Walter, Adam and George, their dtrs Hellen and Mary Chirnside, BEW, household enumerated as DAVIDSON: John, head, ag lab, 44 b Chirnside; Agnes wife, 43, b Morebattle; Children: Hellen (sic) 19, paper mill worker, b Buncle; John, 16, paper mill worker b Chirnside; Mary 14 paper mill worker b Edrom; Walter, 12, paper mill worker b Edrom; Adam, 10, scholar b Coldingham; George, 6 scholar, James, 3 both b Dunse.18 John Davidson was shown as a labourer on son John's mar. cert in Aug 1866.19
     John Davidson appeared on the census of 1871 Chirnside, BEW, with Agnes Davidson, enumerated as DAVIDSON: John 54 Paper Maker (labr) b. Chirnside; wife Agnes 53 b. Morebattle; Children: Helen 29 b. Bunke, BEW; Adam 20Paper Worker (wood Boiler Man) b. Coldingham, BEW; George 16 Ag Lab, James 13 scholar both b. Dunse, BEW.20 John Davidson was a paper mill labourer fr 1871 - 1884 Chirnside, BEW.21,3
     John and Agnes Davidson appeared on the census of 3 Apr 1881 Doughty House, Chirnside, BEW, SCT, as DAVIDSON: John, head, paper mill labourer, 64, b Chirnside, Agnes, wife, 64, b Morebattle, ROX. Dtr Hellen (sic) 39, unm, paper mill worker, b Bunkle, BEW.3
     John Davidson appeared on the census of 1891 in the High St, Chirnside, BEW, SCT, enumerated as John Davidson, head, widowed, 73, b Chirnside, "Ellen" dtr, 52, unm, farm servant, employed b Bunkle. (Next door to "Crofts(?) House") The description for Enum. District 1 is described as "the whole length of the Village, nearly a mile long due east and west, commencing at the Toll-bar east end and ending at ?Ninewalls? School west end, containing about 182 families and 137 houses."22

All the other info

     John Davidson and George Davidson both in Doughty House, Chirnside, BEW, SCT, in 1881 were possibly related, but my only evidence is that they were near neighbours in this census.3

External links

     Click here to see John's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.23
     John Davidson belongs to a DNA tested line. There may be more information available on DNASurnames under the DNA project for his/her surname/line.


Agnes Fairbairn (cir. 1818 - May 1884)
  • Agnes Robertson Davidson24 (Mar 1840 - bet. Jun 1906 - Sep 1906)
  • Helen Davidson25,12,26 (Feb 1842 - Sep 1905)
  • John Davidson19,13 (May 1844 - Jun 1915)
  • Mary Davidson15 (Jul 1846 - Dec 1909)
  • Walter Davidson+14,27 (Nov 1848 - Oct 1881)
  • Adam Davidson1,28 (Mar 1851 - Sep 1920)
  • Margaret Davidson6 (say 1853 - )
  • George Davidson29,30 (Feb 1855 - Jun 1915)
  • James Davidson29,30 (Jan 1858 - Dec 1932)
My pedigree chart
Paternal ancestors of Lorna
Paternal timeline

Adam DAVIDSON's ancestors

Last Edited23 Jan 2023


  1. DC DAVIDSON, Adam 1920, Folio 3809/70, Inspection p/copy dated Aug 1993 held.
  2. John DAVIDSON, DC DAVIDSON, John, 1900 Chirnside, certified p/copy held, dated/rcvd 29 Aug 1995 (no father's name given).
  3. 1881 Census transcripts, UK, via Family Search/LDS CDs, FHL Film 0224029 GRO Ref Volume 730 EnumDist 1 Page 25, extracted pre 2000.
  4. Marriages Baptisms: Chirnside, BEW, Marr. 14 Nov 1839 John DAVIDSON to Agnes FAIRBAIRN, Chirnside, BEW (p/copy held, taken 1994/5).
  5. John DAVIDSON, DC DAVIDSON, John, 1900 Chirnside, certified p/copy held, dated/rcvd Aug 1995 (no father's name given).
  6. Find A Grave online at, H/stone: Agnes FAIRBAIRN, John DAVIDSON, Margaret and Helen, Chirnside, BEW, memorial #184196261, photo uploaded by Thomas Hunter Brown
    , extracted Jan 2022.
  7. "Lorna's Family History Musings", May 2014.
  8. Scotland: OPR index, "Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950", Bap. 1838 Adam DAVIDSON tto John DAVIDSON & Agnes FAIRBAIRN, Edrom, BEW,, extracted Jan 2022.
  9. Marriages Baptisms: Chirnside, BEW, Mar. 1839 John DAVIDSON to Agnes FAIRBAIRN (p/copy held, taken 1994/5).
  10. Marriages Baptisms: Chirnside, BEW, Birth 1840 Agnes Robertson DAVIDSON (don't seem to have a p/copy of this, only the registration in the Morebattle OPR in 1854, but given that I've clearly extracted John's occupation as labourer in Mar 1840, it must have come from the Chirnside OPR as stated, given he is shown as a farm servant in 1854).
  11. 1841 Census transcripts, Scotland, via, Little Billie, Par. of Bunkle, BEW Par. 728 ED 2 Pg 10, hsehold of John & Agnes DAVIDSON, extracted Oct 2009.
  12. Baptism 1842 Helen DAVIDSON: Bunkle & Preston, BEW, extracted Sep/Oct 1994/5 (20 Mar 1842).
  13. Marriages Baptisms: Chirnside, BEW, Bap 1844 John DAVIDSON, extracted Sep/Oct 1994/5.
  14. Baptism: Edrom, BEW, Birth 1848 Walter DAVIDSON, p145, 1st entry on page FORD/HASTIE 1827 (p/copy 1994/5 misplaced, electronic copy rcvd from Shirley H, Jan 2004).
  15. Baptism: Edrom, BEW, Birth 1846 Mary DAVIDSON, p145, 1st entry on page FORD/HASTIE 1827 (p/copy 1994/5 misplaced, electronic copy rcvd from Shirley H, Jan 2004).
  16. Census 1851 Coldingham, BEW 732 dist 4, Dist 7 householder's schedule 65, hsehold of John & Agnes DAVIDSON, p/copy held, taken 1994/5.
  17. OPR Baptisms Marriages: Morebattle, ROX, SCT, 1854 registration of birth of Agnes (p/copy held).
  18. CENSUS 1861: Borders ROX/BEW, Chirnside Dist 2 Schedule 11, hsehold of John & Agnes DAVIDSON, extracted ?Sep/Oct 1994/5?
  19. GRO, SCT, BDM searches at GRO SCT: Marriage 1866 John DAVIDSON/Isabella FORD trans. Robert McC Dec 2002.
  20. 1871 Census transcripts, Scotland, via, Chirnside, BEW, Reg. 730 ED 1 Page: 19; Sched. 117; hsehold of John & Agnes DAVIDSON, rechecked Jan 2023.
  21. Agnes DAVIDSON nee FAIRBAIRN, DC DAVIDSON, Agnes Chirnside 1884, p/copy taken 1994/5 held.
  22. 1891 Census, Borders, Chirnside Enum Dist 1; page 22, p/copy held ?taken 1994/5?
  23. WikiTree online at, Oct-11.
  24. Marriages Baptisms: Chirnside, BEW, Bap 1840 Agnes Robertson DAVIDSON, frame 585, transr L McIntosh Sep/Oct 1994/5.
  25. Births deaths marriages index (pre 1855): Scotland, Chr 1842 Helen DAVIDSON, frame 248, extracted Sep/Oct 1994/5 , Microfiche and
  26. Scottish BMDB entries (from 1855),, Dth 28 Sep 1905 Helen d/o John DAVIDSON & Agnes FAIRBAIRN, Heriotmill, Par. of Heriot, MLN, 688/00 #3, copy d/loaded Jun 2013.
  27. Shirley Heaton (36523), "EM DAVIDSON/McINTYRE ex Shirley H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Marr. 1873 Walter DAVIDSON and Jessie McINTYRE, extract rcvd Dec 2003.
  28. Baptisms: Coldingham, BEW, Bap. 1851 Adam DAVIDSON, extracted Sep/Oct 1994/5.
  29. CENSUS 1861: Borders ROX/BEW, Chirnside Dist 2 Schedule 11, hsehold of John & Agnes DAVIDSON, exttracted ?Sep/Oct 1994/5?
  30. DAVIDSON, International Genealogical Index (IGI), DAVIDSON/FAIRBAIRN births, batch C117351, extracted c 1993.

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.