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Archiver > FAIRMAN > 2006-07 > 1153690620

From: "Philip Sonnichsen" <>
Subject: Re: Fairman - Fairbrother sur-name
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 2006 14:37:00 -0700
In-Reply-To: <MB10z2Mb1s7nlT2NqFJ000055b4@MB10.myfamilysouth.com>

I am interested in this lost Fairman gunsmith and the fact that the
Fairman is occupational, for the servant of a man named Fair, or for a
man." However, the notion of "Fairbrother," as a sur-name, which has been
in this recent exchange of e-mail correspondence, is really very intriguing.
I don't
know if there is some correlation between "Fairman" and "Fairbrother."

In my "Family History" published by Higginson Books in 2003, I wrote:

Our Fairman Ancestry (41)
begins with the arrival of John Fairman in New England 1630. His name
appears on the passenger list of the Elizabeth sailing from Ipswich,
Suffolk, on 30 April 1634. His age is given as 46.
John Firmin was born around 1588 in Nayland, England, and was married
to his first wife (name unknown) by 1615. Three children were born of that
marriage, Elizabeth (baptized. 27 April 1615) and twins John and Judith
(both baptized 10 February 1617/18). His first wife died within a month of
the birth of the twins and was buried at Nayland, Suffolk, on 24 February
1617/18. Of the twins, John did not survive childhood. He was buried on 18
May 1625.
His second wife was Susan Warren, cited as a widow, whom John married
on 30 June 1618. This was a second marriage for both which produced six
children: Mary (baptized 30 June 1619); Josias (baptized 22 April 1621);
Benjamin (baptized 23 February 1622/23); Martha (baptized 30 May 1624); John
(baptized 14 July 1626 -- it is this John who becomes our ancestor);
Catherine (baptized 14 December 1628). All children were born in Nayland and
apparently crossed the Atlantic to Massachusetts with their parents in 1630.
Robert Charles Anderson in The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New
England. 1620-33, notes that John's brother Josias was probably a servant to
Governor John Winthrop in the 1630s and then moved to Hempstead, Long
Island, where our Hults forebears (C.L. Sonnichsen ancestry) moved from
Brookhaven, Long Island, a century later, around 1735.
We note that on 10 November 1630 "[blank] Firmin, of Watertown, had his
wigwam burnt." This momentous event must have occurred not long after the
family's arrival. On 25 July 1636, Firman was granted nine acres in the
Beaverbrook Plowlands and later nine acres in the Remote Meadows, six acres
at the Town Plot and in the list of farm grants, dated 10 May 1642, 121
acres. The value of that Watertown real estate in today's market boggles
the mind. He must have been successful as in the Watertown Inventory of
Grants, John Firman was assigned "eight parcels of land; six acre homestall;
six acres of marsh; sixteen acres of upland; nine acres plowland in the
Farther Plain [Beaverbrook Plowlands]; nine acres in Remote Meadows; sixty
acres upland in Great Dividend; six acres upland [at Town Plot] and seven
acre homestall."
John's offices included that of Watertown selectman on 30 December
1637. John Firman made one trip to England in 1633, returning to New
England the following year in 1634. His death is cited as probably by 10
May 1642, when he was not included in the grants of farms at Watertown,
Massachusetts. Another source suggests he may have died in New York in

The name Fairman is English, occupational, for the servant of a man named
Fair, or for a handsome man.

We stick with the name "Firmin/Ferman/Fairman" for seven generations until
Elvira Augusta Fairman married James B. Oliver on 14 September 1853 in

If anyone has any thoughts on "Fairbrother" as a sur-name I would be most
interested and
what is known relative to regionality in England, in terms of "Fairman" *
by whatever spelling,
and Fairbrother.

Thank you.


Philip Sonnichsen
Sacramento, California


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