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About the study
The Fairfax Society was formed in 1993 by Jack Fairfax and Norman Fairfax (now both deceased.) Jack Fairfax researched the name for over 20 years and created many family branch charts which included the names of many deceased Fairfaxes.
There are several variants of the name: Fairefax; Fairfaxe; Fayerfax; Fayrfax, probably due to the inconsistency of spelling names by sound in earlier centuries.
Some antiquarians, genealogists and other writers relate how Danes invaded England and made their settlement in Towcester. Later one moved to Skirpenbeck, near York, married an Anglo-Saxon woman and had a son named John. He was said to have fair hair and was known as John Faegar Fax. His son named Henry of Skirpenbeck. Documentary evidence names a subsequent son John who about 1205 was required to pay a palfrey to King John.
History of the name
Sir THOMAS FAIRFAX, parliamentarian and solder whose military importance lies in his role as the general who created the New Model Army for the parliamentarians in the Civil War and inflicted defeat on Charles I at Naseby on 14th June 1645. He recoiled at the execution of the King and retired in 1650 but emerged again in 1660 to play a brief role in the restoration of Charles II. John Milton wrote a poem on General Fairfax at the siege of Colchester.
ROBERT FAYRFAX b.1464 in Deeping Gate became a court musician and composer. He wa sa gentleman of the Chapel Royal in 1497 and appears in a list of singing men at the coronation of Henry VIII in 1509 and at the Field at the Cloth of Gold in 1520. He may also have been informator chori at St Alban's Abbey as he received a doctorate from Oxford in 1511. He died in 1521 but his music is still available on CDs.
MARY SOMERVILLE FAIRFAX 1780-1872 was the daughter of Vice Admiral Sir William George Fairfax. During her lifetime she wrote books on molecular and microscopic science, and physical geography. Oxford University named Somerville College after her. Her picture is to grace the new Scottish £5 banknote
EVE FAIRFAX (Evelyn Constance Fairfax) (1872-1978) led a memorable life as her 'Scrapbook diary' records. She had been a Gaiety Girl and danced the 'Can-Can' in Paris. She was descended from the Fairfaxes of Newton Kyme. One of her ancestors was Admiral Robert Fairfax who took an important role in the taking of Gibralter in 1704. Eve was associated with many of the crowned heads of Europe and was at one time the mistress of Rodin. He was struck by her beauty and created several famous sculptures of her.
THOMAS FAIRFAX 6th Baron Fairfax (c1690-1781) settled in Virginia USA in 1746. He befriended the young 18 year old George Washington and gave him his first job surveying part of his enormous estate of five million acres, later becoming lifelong friends. Fairfax County was named after him. He retired there in 1746 and was well respected and during the revolutionary war was never seen as an enemy.
Fairfax County is part of Virginia USA. There are many roads and streets in the UK named 'Fairfax'.
Distribution of the name
There are a considerable number of Fairfaxes in the UK .The Fairfax Society had 42 members living in the UK and other members in various parts of the USA, Canada and Australia. The Society has now closed and it's research has been deposited in York City Archives. (For further details please contact Cynthia Bunch(firstname.lastname@example.org.)
The Fairfax Society has a research archive containing over 50 Family branch charts and 40 Journals written between 1996 and 2015. The Journals will be digitised and up-loaded to the website for the information of researchers. Also the Family charts which it is hoped can be up-loaded eventually too.
A member of the Society in the USA has instigated a DNA study which seeks to find a connection between the USA members and the UK members in order to try and identify the UK origins of the USA members. Any male person with a direct Fairfax ancestry could contact Cynthia Bunch (email@example.com) for more information.
The Fairfax Society website has information about the Society and it's Journals have many interesting short articles about various Fairfaxes who have contributed to their countries in may different ways.