Early Fair ancestors in Coldingham parish, Berwickshire

Through the Hall side of the family I reach Fair ancestors who lived in Coldingham, Berwickshire. The most recent direct ancestor living in Coldingham parish was George Fair (1785-1860) excise officer, son of farmer William Fair and his wife Mary Greenfield. The family can be traced back in the paternal line another generation, to William’s parents William Fair and Magdalen Hood (b. 1714). Beyond that it is uncertain but I have a working theory about the line.

From studying the parish registers closely it looks likely that the elder William Fair was the son of William Fair and Elizabeth Purves who married in Coldingham in 1707, and had various children seemingly baptised in Coldingham parish and Bunkle & Preston parish. Likely children for the couple were:

  • William, c. 1708 at Coldingham, possibly married Magdalen Hood -> my line
  • Jean, c. 1713 at Bunkle & Preston, daughter of “William Fair in Fosterland”, possibly married George Temple in 1744
  • George, c. 1714 at Bunkle & Preston, son of “William Fair in Fosterland”
  • Elisabeth, c. 1716 at Bunkle & Preston, possibly married David Whitehead in 1739. Cautioner at her marriage was her brother “William Fair in Forresterland”
  • unknown, c. 1719 at Bunkle & Preston, child of “Willeam Fair in Fosterland”, possibly Thomas Fair who m. Mary Davidson and was tenant in Berryhill and also lived variously at Fosterland and seems to have been likely to be a child of this family
  • Margaret, c. 1720 at Bunkle & Preston, daughter of “William Fair in Foster[land]”, possibly married Henry Whitehead in 1744

Going back another generation the father William Fair had a brother George Fair in Auchencraw who acted as witness to the children’s baptisms a lot. And other evidence in the Coldingham parish registers indicates that the father of William and George was another William Fair, portioner in Auchencraw.

Even though this Fair line is a little stuck we can reach earlier Fair ancestors through the line of Magdalen Hood (b. 1714), Mrs Fair. Legal documents of inheritance and land ownership prove that her paternal grandmother was Janet Fortune, daughter of Anna Fair, and that Anna was one of the daughters and heiresses of Robert Fair portioner of West Reston. This probably takes the known Fair connections in Coldingham parish back to the very early 1600s, nearly a century before the surviving parish registers start.

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About vivdunstan

Academic historian, genealogist, former computer scientist, and Doctor Who fan.
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