Fairn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The annals of Scottish history reveal that Fairn was first used as a name by descendants of the Pictish tribe of ancient Scotland. The Fairn family lived on the land of Fearn in Ross where "the Gaelic name of this parish, Fearnn, signifies 'the alder-tree,' and was applied in consequence of the great number of alders growing at Mid-Fearn, in the parish of Edderton, in the neighbourhood. An abbey was founded there in the reign of Alexander II., by Farquhar, first Earl of Ross." [1]

Early Origins of the Fairn family

The surname Fairn was first found in Ross-shire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Rois) a former county, now part of the Council Areas of Highland and Western Isles in Northern Scotland, which emerged from the Gaelic lordship of the Earl of Ross.

"Sir Andrew Ferae was one of the chaplains of the cathedral church of Dornoch in 1512, Sir Robert Fern or Ferne was curate of Golspie in 1546, and curate of Kylmalie in the same year." [2]

Early History of the Fairn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Fairn research. Another 247 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1267, 1517, 1543, 1546, 1685, 1432, 1436, 1458, 1567, 1488, 1488, 1500, 1578, 1560, 1609, 1604, 1609, 1602, 1662, 1602 and 1610 are included under the topic Early Fairn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Fairn Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, there was no basic set of rules and scribes wrote according to sound. The correct spelling of Scottish names were further compromised after many haphazard translations from Gaelic to English and back. Spelling variations of the name Fairn include Ferns, Fearn, Fearns, Fearne, Fern, Ferne and others.

Early Notables of the Fairn family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Sir John Ferne (ca. 1560-1609), an English writer on heraldry and an eminent lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Boroughbridge from 1604 to 1609. He was "the son of William Ferne of Temple Belwood in the isle of Axholme, Lincolnshire, who came originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire." [3] Henry Ferne (1602-1662), was an English bishop, Chaplain Extraordinary to Charles I...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Fairn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Fairn family

Scots left their country by the thousands to travel to Australia and North America. Desperate for freedom and an opportunity to fend for themselves, many paid huge fees and suffered under terrible conditions on long voyages. Still, for those who made the trip, freedom and opportunity awaited. In North America, many fought their old English oppressors in the American War of Independence. In recent years, Scottish heritage has been an increasingly important topic, as Clan societies and other organizations have renewed people's interest in their history. An examination of passenger and immigration lists shows many early settlers bearing the name of Fairn: Elizabeth Fearn settled in New England in 1767; Felix Fearn settled in Philadelphia in 1877; Henry Ferne settled in Virginia in 1623; Paul Ferne settled in Virginia in 1635.



  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  3. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print


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