Fairefax History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Fairefax family
The surname Fairefax was first found in Northumberland where the name was derived from the Anglo Saxon words foegr and feax which collectively meant "fair-haired."  "The true ancient family of Fairfax is supposed to be of Saxon origin, and to have been seated at Torcester in Northumberland a the period of the Conquest."  Shirley continues that the Yorkshire branch is perhaps more compelling, "In 1205, Richard Fairfax, the first of the family proved by evidence, was possessed of the lands of Ascahm, not far from the City of York. His grandson purchased the Manor of Walton in the West Riding, which continued for near six hundred years." Fuller in his book "Worthies of England" adds, "in his time [c. 1600-1700], twenty generations of Fairfaxes had resided on one spot, at Walton, co. York." So while there is no doubt the family was originally from Lincolnshire, the Yorkshire branch proves to be the strongest. Another early record points to the string Yorkshire heritage. "Gilling Castle, situated in a fine park on the west of the village [of Gilling], was built by Alan, Earl of Richmond, to repel the frequent attacks of the Saxons and Danes for the recovery of their lost estates; it was afterwards the seat of the Mowbrays, and since the time of Henry VII. has belonged to the family of Fairfax. The church is an ancient edifice with a tower, and contains a vault belonging to the Fairfax family. " 
Important Dates for the Fairefax family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fairefax research. Another 149 words (11 lines of text) covering the years 1205, 1490, 1475, 1520, 1450, 1505, 1464, 1521, 1560, 1640, 1580, 1635, 1588, 1665, 1597, 1673, 1609, 1644, 1665, 1725, 1612, 1671, 1623, 1700, 1592, 1675, 1634, 1702, 1637, 1690, 1656, 1716, 1711, 1687 and 1688 are included under the topic Early Fairefax History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fairefax Spelling Variations
Although the name, Fairefax, appeared in many references, from time to time, the surname was shown with the spellings Fairfax, Fairfacks, Farefax, Fearfax, Ferfax, Furfax, Furfacks, Farefacks, Fearfacks and many more.
Early Notables of the Fairefax family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family name during their early history was Sir Thomas Fairfax (c.1450-1505) a direct ancestor of both Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge; Robert Fayrfax (1464-1521), an English Renaissance composer, six masses, two Magnificats, thirteen motets, nine part-songs and two instrumental pieces survive; Thomas Fairfax, 1st Lord Fairfax of Cameron (1560-1640), an English soldier, diplomat and politician; and his half-brother, Edward Fairfax (1580?-1635), an English translator; Henry Fairfax (1588-1665), an English priest and academic from Denton, Yorkshire; Charles Fairfax (1597-1673), an English antiquary and genealogist; Sir William Fairfax (1609-1644), an officer in the Parliamentary army...
Another 101 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fairefax Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Fairefax migration to the United States
Gradually becoming disenchanted with life in Ireland many of these uprooted families sailed aboard the armada of sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships often arrived with only 60 to 70% of their original passenger list, many dying of cholera, typhoid, dysentery or small pox. In North America, some of the first immigrants who could be considered kinsmen of the Fairefax family name Fairefax, or who bore a variation of the surname were
Fairefax Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
- William Fairefax, who landed in Virginia in 1611 
- Nicolas Fairefax, who arrived in Maryland in 1633 
- Nicholas Fairefax, who landed in Maryland in 1633 
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)