One dictionary of family names of the United Kingdon, Patronymic Britannica, defines the name Adair as a branch of the Great Anglo-Hibernian Family of FitzGeralds, settled at Adare in County Limerick. According to this source, Robert FitzGerald Adair moved to Scotland in the 14th century due to family feuds and began expressing his name in the current spelling.
Another source thinks Adair is just a different pronunciation of Edzear (z=y) or Edgar. Thomas Edzear or Odeir had a charter of lands in Galloway from Robert the Bruce, and others of the same name had grants of land in Dumfries.
Still another authority also believes the name is simply a form of Edgar, probably having started with Edgar, son of Duvenald, who was a leader at the Battle of the Standard in 1138 and grandson of Donegal of Morton Castle, a descendent of whom, Thomas Edzear, had a charter from Robert Bruce of the lands in Galloway. Various deeds prove the name Edzear and Adair to have been interchangeable with the Galloway Adairs. In a charter dated 1625, the name is spelled in both forms on the same page.
Whichever origin is actually true, the Adairs, as landholders in the Dumfries area, would naturally have allied themselves, in times of strife, with the Lords Maxwell, the principal landholders in the area and the hereditary Wardens of the West Marches.
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