John Fairbairn1,2

(1792 - 1847)
Father-AssmdWilliam Fairbairn3,1 (circa 1760 - 1809)
Mother-AssmdAylsie Elliott1,3 (1767 - 1827)


     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


     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
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.18

     John Fairbairn 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.

An additional line joined this extended Fairbairn family with an unexpected match between these Archibalds and a descendant of William Fairbairn and Jean Wanless, who had emigrated to Quebec. This 67/67 match between a descendant of the Archibald who married Mary Grierson, and a descendant of William Fairbairn and Jean Wanless. and the 64/67 match between the Crosser line and these two lines has led me to join up the families as per the linked charts.
You can read about this research journey on my personal Fairbairns page.19,20,21,22 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


     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

DNA Info

     John belongs to a tested line in the FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project. Follow this link for supplementary DNA information.


     Click here to see John's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.26
     Follow this link for Lorna's family information on John Fairbairn.


Jane Williamson (1794 - Dec 1876)
  • Essa Fairbairn (circa 1819 - )
  • A? J? Fairbairn27,15 (circa 1819 - aft. 1852)
  • Archibald Fairbairn3,13,28 (circa 1821 - aft. 1881)
  • David Fairbairn12,15 (Mar 1822 - Aug 1894)
  • William George Fairbairn3,29,28 (circa Oct 1823 - May 1894)
  • Robert Fairbairn29,30 (circa 1827 - aft. 1842)
  • Agnes Fairbairn7 (circa 1828 - Dec 1876)
  • James Fairbairn13 (Apr 1830 - Nov 1905)
  • John Fairbairn31,2,6,5 (Apr 1833 - Mar 1909)
ChartsLineage 1e: John & Bessie (fflint) FAIRBAIRN
Last Edited5 Feb 2015


  1. [S1] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Conclusions", Dec 2009.
  2. [S5] 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. [S1038] G Roy & Pat FAIRBAIRN, "Corres. FAIRBAIRN/WANLESS, Quebec ex G Roy & Pat F.," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Feb 1996.
  4. [S2884] 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. [S2759] 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. [S5] 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. [S2884] 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. [S1597] 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. [S1597] 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. [S1704] 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. [S1741] Gordon SUDDABY, "FT (and Emails) FAIRBAIRN/WALKER ex GSuddaby Rootsweb," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Sep 2002 Family tree.
  12. [S1744] Douglas BROWN (29659), "EM FAIRBAIRN, David ex Douglas B," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Aug 2002.
  13. [S1704] Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Jan 2003.
  14. [S5] 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. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2009.
  16. [S1704] Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From 1851 Quebec Census Jan 2003.
  17. [S1704] 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. [S2175] 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.
  19. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Dec 2007, updated Jan 2015.
  20. [S2656] FamilyTree DNA, "FamilyTree DNA", FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project, 36/37 marker match between descendants of two contemporary (time and place) Archibald FAIRBAIRNs, Dec 2007.
  21. [S2656] 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.
  22. [S14] FAIRBAIRN Surname DNA Project online at, 67 marker results for the three matching participants, rcvd Apr 2008.
  23. [S1704] Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Rcvd Feb 2006.
  24. [S2713] Nancy TAYLOR, "EM FAIRBAIRN/WANLESS ex Nancy T," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, Rcvd Oct 2007.
  25. [S1704] 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. [S3217] WikiTree online at, Oct 2011.
  27. [S809] 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.
  28. [S1960] 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.
  29. [S1704] 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.
  30. [S1704] Ross HOTCHKISS (32667), "EM FAIRBAIRN: QUE/ONT ex Ross H," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, From Census records 1851-1871 received Jan 2003.
  31. [S2656] 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.
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