John Fairbairn1,2

(circa Aug 1799 - 15 Dec 1848)
Father-AssmdRobert Fairbairn (say 1765 - Mar 1832); first son of John and Jane named Robert; bap. of John son of Robert and Elizabeth in 1799 Smailholm mostly fits age of John marr. Jane Waddell; 1841 census shows John as born Scotland, but not Berwickshire, so could be Roxburghshire; atDNA matches between a descendant of John's dtr Christian and 1) a descendant of John's son John (marr. Helen Ross); 2) a double descendant of Robert and Elizabeth's son Andrew;3
Mother-AssmdElizabeth Crosbie3 (circa 1766 - Mar 1849)


     John Fairbairn was born circa Aug 1799 ROX?, SCT, The 1841 census, if accurate, tells us that John was not born in Berwickshire, and theoretically between 1796 and 1801. The burial record assumed to be John in Coldstream, gives us abt 1795, and the now assumed to be correct baptism is Aug 1799, Smailholm.2,1,4 He was baptized on 25 Aug 1799 Smailholm, ROX, SCT.5 He married Jane Waddell on 23 Nov 1817 Smailholm, ROX.1,2
     John Fairbairn died on 15 Dec 1848 Coldstream, BEW, SCT.2,6,4 He was buried on 16 Dec 1848 at Coldstream, Berwickshire, Although his headstone, erected "By Christina Fairbairn, Coldstream" for "her father John Fairbairn Dec 1849, 51 years. Her mother Jane Waddel" shows 1849, it is likely that the headstone was erected later as a burial in Coldstream showing "John Fairbairn 53" as dying 15th, buried 16th Dec, cost 1/-, seems too much of a coincidence.4,6,7
With an eldest known son Robert, it had been suggested that John marr. to Jane WADDELL, may be the 1799 John son of Robert & Elizabeth (Crosbie) Fairbairn, although this identification puts John slightly on the young side to have married in 1817, and is rather later than the 1795-ish date we now (Apr 2014) have.
Against this identification was the death/burial of a John FAIRBAIRN of East Third in 1832, two entries after assumed father Robert's.

Another suggestion has been the John baptised Smailholm to Robert and Agnes (WRIGHT) Fairbairn.
However, that John was baptised in 1782, which is a bit far the other way from the age given in the 1841 census (assuming a correct identification, and accurate age of course!)

Although we have not (yet?) found yDNA evidence to (dis)prove the id, we do have some, admittedly circumtantial, autosomal DNA matches to aid the identification, sufficiently for Robert and Elizabeth's family to be revised and John marr. to Jane WADDELL included.

Wonder who the John buried in 1832 was?

The DNA connections:
John and Jane had a dtr Christian Nisbet Fairbairn who marries James Fairbairn (not yet found to be related).
A descendant has a predicted 3rd cousin match with a descendant of Isabella (marr. to George Walker), dtr of Robert and Elizabeth (Crosbie) Fairbairn's son James.
But the DNA matches would be 5th cousins, and share too much DNA for that to be likely.

========== (below to be reviewed for relevance)
Coldstream features in the families below.

The John married to Jane WADDELL had sons Robert (1818, Eckford), John (1824, Linton) and Andrew (1828, Smailholm) about whom nothing further was postively known.
Andrew is now fully believed to have married Eliza CLARKE (Plumstead 1853), which id has been further confirmed after finding a better 1851 census for him showing his birth place as Smailholm, rather than the Woolwich barracks Andrew who was recorded as born Church Hill, Berwickshire.

In addition a potential candidate has now (Nov 2011) been found for son John, also in the military. He is assumed to have married Helen ROSS (Coldstream 1842).
Circumstantial evidence for the prosecution includes the 1841 census which has likely candidates for both Andrew and John in Eccles, Andrew at Stable Birgham and John, as FREEBAIRN, with future wife Ellen/Helen at Cloverhall.

By 1851 Andrew is with brother George in the Royal Artillery Barracks in Leeds, but John yet to be found.
There is also a likely "cousin" marriage between descendants of John & Helen's sons John and James.

With daughter Christian Nisbet FAIRBAIRN also marrying a FAIRBAIRN (James, son of Ralph FAIRBAIRN & Helen CROW), perhaps there is a connection to that family?

As always, we would love to solve such puzzles if at all possible by calling on DNA evidence.
The best option is to find a willing direct male line FAIRBAIRN to to join the Fairbairn Surname DNA Project and undertake at least a Y-DNA37 test (but preferably Y-DNA67 for consistency with other project members).
The other option, less direct, but all helping piece together families more accurately, would be for autosomal dna testing of any descendants, this being the FamilyFinder test which can also be ordered via the project.8,9,2,10


     John Fairbairn appeared on the census of 1841 Old Quarry Houses, Coldstream, BEW, SCT, with Jane Fairbairn, as FAIRBAIRN: John 40 ag lab b SCT; Jane 40 b BEW; Assumed children: Wm 15, Geo 9, Jesse (male) 7 all b SCT (NB enumerators were instructed to round ages down to the nearest multiple of 5.)2

DNA Info

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


     Click here to see John's page on WikiTree, a (free) collaborative on-line tree.11


Jane Waddell (bet. 1796 - 1801 - aft. 1841)
  • Robert Fairbairn1 (Sep 1818 - )
  • Christian Nesbit Fairbairn1,12 (Feb 1819 - Jun 1885)
  • James W Fairbairn13 (circa 1821 - Jul 1870)
  • John Fairbairn+1 (Jan 1824 - bet. Jan 1866 - Mar 1866)
  • William Fairbairn1,2 (May 1826 - Mar 1900)
  • Andrew William Fairbairn+14,1,9 (Oct 1828 - bet. Jun 1891 - Sep 1891)
  • George Fairbairn+ (Aug 1832 - aft. 1891); George's brother James and his wife Mary Ann were witnesses to George's marriage to Sarah, and George with brother Andrew in 185115,9,2
  • Jesse Fairbairn2 (circa 1834 - bet. Sep 1893 - Dec 1893)
ChartsLineage 1b4b: Robert and Elizabeth (CROSBIE) Fairbairn
Wanted: John and Jane (Waddell) Fairbairn
Last Edited8 Sep 2017


  1. [S1961] Www FAIRBAIRN searches and miscellaneous correspondence by LornaHen (1) FAIRBAIRN/WADDELL, ex RootsWeb Roxburghshire Msge Board, posted Jun 2003, extracted Sep 2003.
  2. [S201] 1841 Census transcripts, Scotland, via, Coldstream, BEW Par. 733 ED 1 Pg 17 hsehold of John & Jane FAIRBAIRN, extracted Oct 2010.
  3. [S1] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Conclusions", Aug 2017.
  4. [S55] Scottish BMDB entries (to 1854),, Dth 15th Bur. 16th Dec 1848 John FAIRBAIRN, Coldstream, BEW, 733/00 0040 0390, copy d/loaded Apr 2014.
  5. [S1596] Online search: assorted surnames, International Genealogical Index (IGI), FAIRBAIRN/CROSBIE, batch C118052 1648 - 1820 1067951, 0102302 Film 6901560, extracted Sep 2003.
  6. [S2978] David RICHARDSON, "EMails re FAIRBAIRN: BEW ex David R," e-mail to Lorna Henderson, H/stone John FAIRBAIRN (d. Dec 1849) & Jane WADDELL, Coldstream, erected by dtr Christina, transcr. rcvd Apr 2014.
  7. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Apr 2014.
  8. [S2] Lorna Henderson, "FAIRBAIRN Analysis", Sep and Nov 2011.
  9. [S1599] Findmypast online at, 1851: Leeds, Yorkshire (West Riding), HO107/2320 Leeds Cavalry Barracks, F 1186 Pg 18, extracted Nov 2011.
  10. [S110] Scotlands People Index, "OPR Roxburghshire, Scotland, FAIRBAIRN Births 1538-1854", Birth/Bap.? 6 Jan 1782 John s/o Robert FAIRBAIRN & Agnes WRIGHT, Smailholm, ROX, 805/ 0010 0108, extracted from index May 2012.
  11. [S3217] WikiTree online at, Jun-13.
  12. [S56] Scottish BMDB entries (from 1855),, Dth 29 Jun 1885 Christina d/o John FAIRBAIRN & Jane WADDELL, w/o James FAIRBAIRN, Coldsream, BEW 733 #22, copy d/loaded Nov 2011.
  13. [S2153] Various, BDM Certified copy, Marr. 10 Jun 1844 James s/o John FAIRBAIRN & Mary Ann d/o Thomas BAINES, Sheffield, YKS, copy rcvd Nov 2010.
  14. [S5] online at, Marr. 23 Jan 1853 Andrew s/o John FAIRBAIRN; Eliza d/o Wm CLARKE, Par. Ch, Plumstead, KEN, from London Metropolitan Archives, Saint Nicholas, Plumstead, Register of marriages, P97/NIC, Item 026, extracted Apr 2010.
  15. [S5] online at, Marr. 3 Nov 1853 George (22) s/o John FAIRBAIRN & Sarah (25) d/o Thomas BURGESS, Bradford St Peters (Bradford Cathedral), from West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield, Yorkshire, England; Yorkshire Parish Records; Old Reference Number: 40D90/1/3/44; New Reference Number: BDP14, extracted Sep 2011.
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