The Fairgrieves of Scotland
The name Fairgrieve is of Lowland Scots origin,
and began in the River Tweed region in the 17th
century. It is not a very common name. Most of the Fairgrieve
families in the 19th century are found in the areas
around Edinburgh, including Edinburghshire (now Midlothian)
and Peeblesshire. "The Surnames of Scotland", an 800 page book
on the origin of Scottish names doesn't provide much insight:
"Fairgrieve - Thomas Fairgrieve appears in Bentmylne, 1658,
and Gideon Fairgrieve in Melrose, 1685 (RRM, I, pl. 175,
III, p. 106.). Feirgreive 1659. See Forgrave." The
reference is the selections from the papers of the Earl of
Haddington. The cross-reference to the name Forgrave only
states: "Variant of Fairgrieve." George Fairgrieve
gives this possible explanation: "As far as a can find out
there is no definitive derivation for the name, however in
Scotland, 'Grieve' is the name given to the foreman or
overseer of the farm hands. A bit like the farmers right
hand man. Therefore it could be that one of our forebearers
was a 'reasonable grieve'. However, fair may also refer to
the complexion or hair as many of the Fairgrieves, myself
included had blue eyes and fair hair. This may be through a
Viking descendancy. I doubt we will ever know the truth. The
first derivation, I think, is the most likely as the
original surnames for the common people were given by the
land owner of the land on which they lived."
Fairgrieve was the daughter of James Fairgrieve, a
farmer, and Margaret Murdison or Morrison. The LDS Glasgow
Branch records (FHS# 104152) show that Margaret was born 14
April 1818 in Fallhills, Peebles
parish, Edinburgh County. A search of the Peebles parish
register shows no christening record for Margaret, or her
brother Andrew, and sisters, Christina (Ann), and Maria
(Marion). Fallhills is actually a townland in the parish of Penicuik, a parish just to the
north of Peebles. No Fairgrieve christening records are found
in the Penicuik parish register. Temple record books kept by
Margaret’s daughter, Catherine (FHS# 218887), and son James
(FHS# 673267 and 673268) show Margaret’s father as James
Fairgrieve, with no mother’s name listed. James A. Cameron’s
temple record book gives the following information about
James Fairgrave of Edinburgh, Edin. Scot
Mrs. James Fairgrave of Edinburgh, Edin, Scot
Margaret Fairgrave Edinburgh, Edin. Scotd. died 1852
Andrew of Carder Bank, Lanark, Scot
Ann of Edinburgh, Edin, Scot
Edin, Edin Scot
Andrew Gardiner of Carder Bank, Lanark, Scot
Will Angus Patterson of Passaic Co. N.J.
Marian Fairgrave of Edinburgh, Edin, Scot
Fairgrieve's parentage has been established by information in
James A. Cameron's temple record book, Catherine Cameron
Southam's temple record book, letters to Margaret in the
possession of her descendants, Christian Fairgrieve's marriage
record, and death certificates for Andrew Fairgrieve and
Christina Fairgrieve Gardner. The death certificates for both
Andrew and Christina list their parents as James Fairgrieve,
farmer and Margaret Fairgrieve, maiden name Morrison.
Fairgrieve's death certificate
Christina Fairgrieve Gardner's death certificate
The St. Cuthbert parish register shows a marriage for Christina Fairgrieve and Andrew Armstrong Gardener, 13 July 1837 in St. Cuthberts, Endinburgh. The banns were also read for Christian Fairgrieve and Andrew Armstrong Gardner 8 July 1837 in Canongate, Edinburgh. The marriage record for Christina is as follows:
July 13 1837
Andrew Armstrong Gardener of the Edinburgh Gas Light Company, residing in No. 17 St. Patrick Square in this parish, and Christina Fairgrieve, residing in No. 19 St. John's Street of the parish of Canongate, daughter of the late James Fairgrieve, sometime Farmer at Fallhills in the parish of Penicuik, have been three several times duly and regularly proclaimed in order to marriage, in the parish church of St. Cuthberts, and no objections offered.
Married on the Thirteenth day of July current by the Reverend Alexander Crawford one of the Ministers of the Synod of Ulster at Randalstown Ireland.
(Source: FHL# 1066765)
Banns were also read
in Canongate for Andrew Gardner and Christian Fairgrieve.
Letters to Margaret Fairgrieve, from her sister Christina of
17 St. Patrick Square, prove that Ann and Christina or
Christian are the same person. They also show that Margaret
and Christina's father was James Fairgrieve, a farmer of
Fallhills, Penicuik, and that he was deceased by July of 1837.
Other letters link
Maria Angus, the wife of Will Angus of Patterson, New Jersey,
to Margaret. Researcher Dorothy Hein has also found Maria,
wife of Will Patterson, in the 1860 Eastward Patterson,
Passaic, New Jersey census. In the census, Maria is listed at
50 years old, making a birthdate of 1810. Maria and Marion are
the same person.
The complete text of the marriage of James
Fairgrieve and Margaret Murdison is found in the Peebles parish register:
13 June 1802
12 June 1802
James Feargrives in this parish and Margaret Murderson in the parish of Peebles have published and proclaimed in order to marriage.
(Lasswade parish register FHS #1067764)
James is listed as being a farmer of Lasswade in
his marriage record. Lasswade is a parish in Midlothian
(Edinburghshire) to the northeast of Peebles. “The town stands
on the left bank of the North Esk, but includes the suburb of
Westmill in Cockpen parish, with which it is connected by a
substantial stone bridge. Lasswade parish is bounded N by
Colinton, Liberton, and Newton, W by Glencorse, S by Penicuik
and Carrington, and E by Cockpen, Newbattle, Dalkeith. A
projecting wing at the NW extremity is occupied by the E end
of the Pentland Hills, presenting partly heath and partly good
pasture; and in the S, a district of bleak and unsheltered
moorland, including some of the northern declivities of the
Moorfoot Hills, stretches for about 2 miles into the interior.
The surface on the whole declines rapidly from the border
towards the SE, and consists of rich and well-cultivated
plain, finely wooded, and of picturesquely diversified
scenery.” (Extract from Groomes Ordnance Gazetteer of
The following James Fairgrieves are christened
in the time period of 1770-1784:
27 March 1772 James, son of
William Feargrieve, farmer in Rosewell Dea, and Marion
Hunter in Lasswade. (This christening record is found in
the Lasswade parish register on the page for the year
8 December 1776 James, son of John Fairgrieve and Elizabeth Cathe in Newton.
1 November 1778 James, son of James Fairgrieve and Marion Brymer in Dalkeith.
14 January 1782 James, son of Thomas Fairgrieve and Janet Skirving in St. Cuthberts, Edinburgh.
1 June 1782 James, son of Andrew Fairgrieve, weaver in Whitebaugh, and Martha Baillie in Carrington.
18 May 1783 James, son of
James Fairgrieve and Margaret Johnston in Liberton.
The James Fairgrieve who was born in Lasswade is the most probable. Lasswade is listed as James Fairgrieve’s parish at the time of his marriage. This is the only James Fairgrieve born in that parish. He would have been 30 years old at the time of his marriage to Margaret Murdison, and could have been an established farmer of Lasswade. His mother’s name was Marion, and our James Fairgrieve named one of his older daughters Marion or Maria. This follows the Scottish naming tradition.
James Fairgrieve is listed on a horse tax list of 1797 near Andrew, James, and William Murdison:
Masters/Mistresses Names Number of Horses Duty
James Fairgrieve Soonup Mill 2 0.4.0
as Soonhope Mill on another tax list)
Horse Tax Rolls 1797-1798 on ScotlandsPlaces.gov.uk, Volume
James’ parents, William Fairgrieve and Marion
Hunter were married on 8 June 1759 in Carrington. William is listed in
the IGI as being born in about 1734, of Boatchrigg,
Carrington. Additional research gives us William's parentage,
WILLIAM FAIRGRIEVE AND
WILLIAM FAIRGRIEVE was christened 19 March 1732 in Lasswade, the son of Henry Fairgrieve and Jean McMillan. He married Marion Hunter 8 June 1759 in Carrington, Midlothian, Scotland. Marion was the daughter of James Hunter and Marion Anderson of Temple parish, Midlothian. Henry and Marion had the following children:
1. Christian, (female) christened 22 July 1760 in Lasswade; married John Draver or Drover 24 June 1792 in Lasswade, banns also read 23 June 1792 in Cockpen.
born 19 March 1772 in Lasswade; christened 27 March 1772 in
Lasswade; christening recorded on Lasswade parish register in
1797; married Margaret Murdison 13 June 1802 in Peebles.
Church Records CD; IGI; Lasswade parish registers; Peebles
parish registers; George Fairgrieve historic database.
HENRY FAIRGRIEVE AND
HENRY FAIRGRIEVE was
christened 12 January 1701 in Liberton, Midlothian, Scotland,
the son of William Fairgrieve and Margaret Smith. He is
sometimes called Harie or Hendrie in the records. He married
Jean McMillan 21 May 1725 in Lasswade, Midlothian, Scotland.
Henry and Jean had the following children:
1. James, christened 20 August 1721 in Lasswade.
2. Margaret, christened 19 December 1729 in Lasswade.
*3. William, christened 19 March 1732 in Lasswade; married Marion Hunter 8 June 1759 in Carrington, Midlothian, Scotland.
4. Andrew, christened 31 May 1732 in Cockpen, Midlothian, Scotland.
5. Jean, born 2 June 1739 in Carrington; christened 4 June 1739 in Carrington.
6. Janet, born 12 October 1741 in Carrington; christened 18 October 1741 in Carrington.
Henry's wife Jean then is either called Bessie in the next christening, or she died and Henry married Bessie McMillan. They had a daughter:
born 10 August 1743 in Carrington; christened 14 August 1743
Church Records CD; IGI; Lasswade parish registers;
Carrington parish register; James Alexander Cameron Temple
Book; George Fairgrieve historic database.
WILLIAM FAIRGRIEVE AND
WILLIAM FAIRGRIEVE married Margaret Smith 11 December 1685 in Newton, Midlothian, Scotland. William and Margaret had the following children:
1. Jenet, christened 5 May 1687 in Newton.
2. Thomas, christened 9 May 1698 in Newton.
*3. Henry, christened 12 January 1701 in Liberton, Midlothian, Scotland; married Jean McMillan 21 May 1725 in Lasswade.
christened 13 April 1703 in Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland;
married Jean McMillan 2 December 1726 in Dalkeith.
Church Records CD; IGI; George Fairgrieve historic database.
William Fairgrieve was born in about 1660. No
christening record has been found yet for him, but the search
continues. The following list sorts Fairgrieve families in
Scotland from the 1680s back, by date and location.
Information was taken from the Scottish Church Records (SCR),
IGI, parish registers for Lasswade, Peebles, and Carrington
(on microfilm), the Fairgrieve Historic database compiled by
George Fairgrieve (GF), and research performed for James A.
James Fairgrieve and Eupham Smith
Alexander, born 1653 in Newbattle
Jenot, born 1654 in Newbattle
Bessie, born 1656 in Newbattle
Hillin, born 1657 in Newbattle
Margaret, born 1658 in Newbattle
Patrick Fairgrieve and Bessie McConnel
Marion Issobell, born 1662 in Newbattle
Elspett, born 1664 in Newbattle
James, born 1669 in Newbattle
Suzanna, born 1671 in Newbattle
Anna, born 1673 in Newbattle
John Fairgrieve and Jenet Burne
Married 1659 in Newbattle
Anna, born 1660 in Newbattle
Jenot, born 1664 in Newbattle
Thomas, born 1666 in Newbattle
Agnas, born 1666 in Newbattle
Margaret, born 1668 in Newbattle
Bethea, born 1674 in Newbattle
Robert Fairgrieve and Christian Berrie
Married 1668 in Newbattle
(Source - GF)
William Fairgrieve and Marjori Panton
Married 1660 in New battle
(Source - GF)
and Jannet Anderson
Maryon, born 1667 in Dalkeith
John, born 1679 in Dalkeith
and Elspith Warrander
Married 9 August 1656 in Haddington
Beatrix, born 1657 in Haddington; married John Simpson 1681 in Haddington
James Fairgrieve and Isabel Davidson
Elizabethe, born 1643 in Tranent
George, born 1644 in Tranent
James Fairgrieve and Janet Sawers
Married 1680 in Tranent
(Source - GF)
and Jonnet Buyde
Married 1642 in Tranent
(Source - GF)
James Fairgrieve and Margaret Miller married in 1597 in Edinburgh
William Fairgrieve and Elspeth Wood
Married 1669 in Edinburgh
(Source - GF)
and Marione Heislope
Married 1650 in Stow
(Source - GF)
James Fairgrieve and Margaret Steill
David Fairgrieve and Marion Buchanan
In the process of
research, a good deal of information has been gathered about
the Fairgrieves in Scotland from 1574-1750. If you are
interested in these family groups, click
here to view information on
early Fairgrieve families.