James Fairbairn

(circa 1795 - 19 Jun 1846)


     James Fairbairn was born circa 1795 Morebattle?, ROX, SCT, date derived from h/stone (51 in 1846), which fits with the 1841 census age of 45 given the rounding in that census. NB the bap. on the IGI of 10 Dec 1794 at Morebattle is the baptism of James s/o Archibald and Alison, not this James. It is included in an ancestral file submission which cannot be changed.1,2,3,4,5
     James Fairbairn married Mary Bell Thomson, daughter of George Thomson and Jean Wallace, on 12 Dec 1822 Eckford, ROX, SCT, entry in Eckford reads: Decr 12 James Fairbairn in the parish of Eckford & Mary Bell Thomson in the parish of Ancrum gave up their names for proclamation in order to marriage Given to the poor 1/-". The cash book for Ancrum shows an undated Dec entry (immediately preceding one was a ditto for the 8th, but there's no ditto on this one): J Fairbairn in Eckford & Mary Bell Thompson this Do Do (Parish of - but doesn't look like Ancrum) 7d.6,7
     James Fairbairn died on 19 Jun 1846 prob. at Morebattle, ROX, SCT; aged 51.2 He was buried with Mabel Thomson Morebattle, ROX, SCT, #104: "IMO James Fairbairn who died 19.6.1846 aged 51 years and of Mabel Thomson his wife who died 25.3.1867 aged 71 years."2
It seems highly likely that there is a connection somewhere between the families of James married to Mary Bell/Mabel Thomson and the Archibald Fairbairn who married Alison Crosser.
Both have children's baptisms recorded in the Gateshaw Secession Church at Morebattle, Roxburghshire.

Some trees (Ancestral file and subsequently copied) show James (married Mary Bell/Mabel) as the son of Archibald and Alison, but their James married Joan Forsythe and is (now, Feb 2009, see below) accounted for.
It has not yet been ruled out that James may belong to the Archibald who married Mary Grierson, although there isn't a handy baptism, just a gap in the right timeframes - but why was their only known son called Robert, not Archibald if that's the case? More children to be found?

Research (Feb 2009) on this family has suddenly come to life again from contact with an American descendant of James Fairbairn and Joan Forsythe. Known family relationships link this family to a brother David for James. Both David and James have first sons Archibald, and 2nd daughter's Alison/Alice/Elsea, so I've bitten the bullet and decided that the mystery has been solved. Now all we have to do is find descendants of James and Mary Bell (Thomson) and link them in somewhere too!

Any descendants of James & Mabel out there willing to participate in the Fairbairn surname DNA project to help figure out where this family "fits"?
yDNA tests on descendants of both Archibalds have indicated a close relationship between them.8,4,9


     James Fairbairn appeared on the census of 1841 Morebattle, ROX, SCT, with Mabel Fairbairn, enumerated as FAIRBAIRN: James, labourer, 45, Mabel 45, Robert 15. All b. county.1

DNA Info

     James's line needs a/another participant in the FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project. Check out the Wanted! page for further information.


     Click here to see James's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.10
     Follow this link for Lorna's family information on James Fairbairn.


Mary Bell Thomson (circa 1791 - Mar 1867)
  • Robert Fairbairn11 (Jul 1824 - Sep 1907)
ChartsWanted: James & Mary Bell/Mabel (THOMSON) FAIRBAIRN
Last Edited14 Mar 2018


  1. [S1406] 1841 Census, Borders, SCT, LDS Film, Morebattle, ROX, SCT1841/801 ED 1 F 1 Pg 9, hsehold of James & Mabel FAIRBAIRN, rechecked Mar 2008.
  2. [S1350] Borders FHS, MIs: ROX Morebattle, #104 James FAIRBAIRN & Mabel THOMSON, rechecked Mar 2008.
  3. [S1596] Online search: assorted surnames, International Genealogical Index (IGI), Bap. 10 Dec 1794 James (AFN: 243D-1CQ) s/o Archibald FAIRBAIRN & Alison CROSSER, Morebattle, ROX, Ancestral File Submission: submitter Mrs NEES, Olympia, WA after 1978.
  4. [S2753] Mrs Shari Nees (55491), "FAIRBAIRN/THOMSON/BUNYAN ex Shari NEES," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Bap. 10 Dec 1794 James FAIRBAIRN, Morebattle, ROX, rcvd Jun 2008.
  5. [S1] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Conclusions", Jun 2008.
  6. [S888] FAIRBAIRN, International Genealogical Index (IGI), Marr. Dec 1822 James FAIRBAIRN & Mary Bell THOMSON, 8th Ancrum (batch M117805), 12th Eckford (batch M117874), ROX, extracted 1998.
  7. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/index.php, Marr. 12 Dec 1822 James FAIRBAIRN (Par. of Eckford) & Mary Bell THOMSON (Par. of Ancrum), Par. of Eckford, ROX Par. 787/A00 0020 0104, copy d/loaded Jun 2008.
  8. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Mar 2008, updated Jun 2008, and Feb 2009.
  9. [S2757] Morebattle, ROX: Gateshaw Associate Session & Free Church Records: Item 4 (Gateshaw 1775-1907) & 8 (Free Church 1847-52), Bap. (at Caverton Mill) 4 Oct 1824 Robert s/o James FAIRBAIRN & Mable (sic) THOMSON, extracted Jul 2008.
  10. [S3217] WikiTree online at http://WikiTree.com/, https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Fairbairn-1185, added Mar 2018.
  11. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854), http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/index.php, Birth 21 Jul / Bap. 21 Sep 1824 Robert s/o James FAIRBAIRN & Mabel THOMSON, Eckford, Dist 787, copy d/loaded Mar 2008.
  • Whenever I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.

    Abraham Lincoln
  • My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can.

    Cary Grant
  • Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

    E. B. White
  • I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart.

    e. e. cummings
  • What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.

    — Saint Augustine
  • Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Mark Twain
  • If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.

    Henry David Thoreau
  • If two things look the same, look for differences. If they look different, look for similarities.

    John Cardinal
  • In theory, there is no difference. In practice, there is.

    — Anonymous
  • Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

    John Adams
  • People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.

    Abraham Lincoln
  • History - what never happened described by someone who wasn't there

    — ?Santayana?
  • What's a "trice"? It's like a jiffy but with three wheels

    — Last of the Summer Wine
  • Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened

    — Terry Pratchett
  • I'll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there's evidence of any thinking going on inside it.

    — Terry Pratchett
  • .. we were trained to meet any new situation by reorganising; and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illuson of progress

    — Petronius (210 BC)
  • The time we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions that we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it; and habit fills up what remains

    — Proust
  • You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

    William J. H. Boetcker
  • Only a genealogist thinks taking a step backwards is progress

    — Lorna 1992
  • No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.

    — George Bernard Shaw
  • A TV remote is female: It easily gives a man pleasure, he'd be lost without it, and while he doesn't always know which buttons to push, he just keeps trying.

    — Anon
  • Hammers are male: Because in the last 5000 years they've hardly changed at all, and are occasionally handy to have around.

    — Anon
  • The right thing to do is to do nothing, the place to do it is in a place of concealment and the time to do it is as often as possible.

    — Tony Cook "The Biology of Terrestrial Molluscs"