Tracing Turner Calvert
The aim of this research note is to document the current position in
identifying the original Turner Calvert who appears to have been born
around 1804. The name Turner is not used in the (Great Harwood)
Calvert family before this, although the given name Turner is
associated with Calverts in the USA much earlier than this.
Turner (bn: 1842) "Turner Jnr."
Working backwards in the family tree (from myself) I can get with certainty to Turner Calvert (bn. ~1842).
His name is shown on 1881 Census as Turner C Calvert but the birth
certificate for William Turner Calvert (1877) shows the father as
"Turner Calvert". Ancestry has extracted the name as "Thomas C
Calvert", but an examination of the source document shows this to be an
error in transcription.
1851, 1861 & 1891 censuses show "Turner Calvert" so, although there
was an issue with one census we can be sure his name was
1851 living in "village"
1861 living at 126 Queen St, Gt Harwood.
1871 Living with parents at 132 Queen St, Gt Harwood, wife living with her parents at 58 Church St.
1881 & 1891 Census living at 21 MaryAnn St, Accrington
His calculated DOB , however varies slightly with census data :
1851 aged 9 = DOB 1842
1861 aged 18 = DOB 1843
1871 aged 27 = DOB 1844
1881 aged 38 = DOB 1843
There is a GRO birth record for Turner Calvert Bn Q4 1842 (Blackburn 21
31) so the 1842 date seems most accurate. Checking the certificate
confirms that this Turner was the son of Turner Calvert, labourer of
Lowertown and Ann Calvert (formerly Mercer).
From Census data we can also be certain his father was also known as
Turner Calvert and his mother was Ann, he had two brothers, Robert
& Daniel and two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary.
Turner (bn: ~1804) "Turner Snr."
We then have to establish a line back from there. The problem is
identifying his father Turner Calvert (Snr). Census data shows him Bn:
Gt Harwood and once more the likely DOB is somewhat obscure.
1841 aged 35 = DOB 1806 (but note the 1841 census rounded ages of adults to 5 years)
1851 aged 45 = DOB 1806
1861 aged 56 = DOB 1805
1871 aged 61 = DOB 1810
His death on 6-May-1873 - GRO Q2 1873 Blackburn 8e 194 (age 69) would
place his DOB as 1804 but the accuracy of his age may well be tainted.
Casting around Parish records for this time (indeed for pretty well any time) we draw a blank with the name Turner Calvert.
Consulting other researches we have a statement from another researcher :
Checking the registers this last point is correct , i.e that the
children of Richard and Elizabeth (Betty) Calvert were christened as
John (died in infancy) John, Benjamin,Daniel, Thomas, Richard and Ann.
A lot of my information in the begining came from Eleanor Price who was
Born in 1901 in Rochdale workhouse, the daughter of Ada Calvert and
Gibson Price ( she was my Grandmothers sister ).
She told us a lot of things and we were never sure what was true and
what was not until after she had died, not that we did not believe her
but as you know you have to be sure of the facts when you are doing
this sort of thing, it was her who said that the first Turner was known
as Turner because there were too many Thomas Calverts in Great Harwood
and the nickname stuck and was passed on down the family I did not know
if this was true but in 1881 Turner 2 was down as Thomas (not a
The reason that I started doing this was because Eleanor or auntie
nellie as I knew her told us that we were related to John Mercer and
told a tale about going to a solicitors in Blackburn with all the other
branches of the family and her Father being given a bag of money from
Maria Mercer estate, ....
The way that I got Turner name as Thomas was by finding the other
siblings and then searching the Great Harwood parish register for
children with the same parents and Thomas came up.
The Eleanor Price mentioned above was the Granddaughter of Turner Calvert (Jnr).
Examining the naming pattern of Thomas's siblings we discover the following. The relationship is shown to his Father, Richard.
Name found at
Richard's brother bn 1773 and G/Father bn 1703
Richard's Father bn 1743
Richard's G/G/Father bn 1674
Thomas (or Turner)
No Match for Turner. Thomas matches Richards uncle(bn 1731)
Richard's Mother and Sister bn 1788
Examining the naming pattern of Turner Snr.'s children we find the
following. I have used the designation "Thomas" to mean the person who
we suspect of having the nickname "Turner", having been christened as
||Thomas' father's brother
||Thomas' mother - Elizabeth / Betty Sourbutts
||Wife of Daniel (i.e. Thomas' sister-in-law)
||Brother of Thomas
of these are rather tenuous, with "traditional" naming patterns we
might expect one of the sons to be named "Richard" after Thomas' father.
Another possibly relevant matter here is a reference to a Turner
Sourbutts in 1823 . He was the son of Richard and Betty Sourbutts. "my"
Turner/Thomas is supposed to be the son of Richard Calvert and Betty
SOURBUTTS, perhaps the nickname Turner came from the Sourbutts (i.e.
Richard Calvert's wife's
A marriage cert for Turner (Snr.) and Ann Mercer would have been useful
but they married two years before the start of Civil Registration !
I have not yet found hard evidence to support the theory that Turner
Snr. was the son of Richard Calvert & Elizabeth (Betty) Sourbutts.
There is a verbal statement from his Great Granddaughter, this seems
rather removed in time to be classed as "direct knowledge", but could
support the Sourbutts connection. We are really reduced to two
main points :
- If Turner was not Thomas then who was he - was he
unrelated to the Great Harwood Calverts, christened Turner and moved to
the area from elsewhere.
- Turner was a nickname for Thomas as claimed by Eleanor Price.
The above was the position on 10 March - I have retained it in this
note to show the early research and to explain why some documents may
still show links to Richard and Betty.. In June 2007 some more information came to hand which caused me to
re-think the above. The information was a transcription of Turner
Snr.'s burial record which includes the information “son of John”,
the question then is which John ?
Examining the PRs there are four
families with Children around 1800 where the father is named John :
John and Alice, John and Ann, John and
Esther, and John and Peggy
John and Alice
Looking at marriages this is likely to be :p 272 John CALVERT Weaver (Widower) & Alice HINDLE married 20
John's first wife was probably the Jane, wife of John
Calvert, age 42 years, buried 3 Nov 1794, - there is a marriage of John
Calvert to Jane Smalley 1 Jan 1771. which shows him as "of Harwood". By Jane there was issue
daughters Jane bn 1782 and Ann bn 1785.
Alice could be the Alice, wife of John Calvert, RISHTON, buried 4
1812 although this would mean he moved to Rishton as their children
Sarah and Thomas were born at Micklehey (which is in Rishton) and
Alice (the daughter) was born in Rishton.
By Alice there was issue Sarah, bn 28 Oct 1809 and Thomas bn
Apr 1810, they were baptised together on Sept 16 1810; and Alice, bn
March 20 1811 and baptised Dec 6 1812, "the daughter of Jno. and the
late Alice Calvert of Rishton."
A Turner born of this marriage would almost certainly be "of Rishton".
John and Ann
The only references I can discover for John & Ann are births
of daughters Elizabeth (1798) and Ann (1800).
John and Esther
Likely to be : p 273 John CALVERT & Esther BIRTWISTLE married 30 Mar 1797
Robert , bn 9 Sep 1797
Ann, bn 28 Feb 1799
Ann, bn 31 Mar
Benjamin, bn 25 Dec 1801
Between 1799 and 1803 they had moved from Harwood to Rishton, where
Ann(2) and Benjamin were born. This couple appears a little lax in
having their children christened – Benjamin was not christened until
May 1803, along with Ann (2). If Turner were the child of this marriage
and he was christened late then any record could could be difficult to discover as two
folios are missing from the original Parish Register which cover the
period July 7 th
1806 to May 9
1807. This point though has now been resolved by checking the Bishops
Transcripts where the relevant pages still exist. Turner does
not appear during this period.Further examination of this family
shows another son, born ~1811 and named Jonathan. Although he
does not appear in the Parish Records he is with the family in the 1841
census and in 1851 he is to be found in the Village with his
sister Ann, a pauper, deaf & dumb. This again shows that
John & Esther were lax in having their sons baptised.
November 2007 my attention was drawn to the marriage in 1830 between
Benjamin Calvert & Peggy Bentley where Turner Calvert and <unclear>.
Pickles were witnesses. It was usual for siblings to act as
witnesses to marriages and Turner as the brother of Benjamin would support his identity as the "son of John" .
John and Peggy
All I can find of them is the birth of a daughter Mary Calvert in
1807 which places them in Harwood, and a burial :
Peggy Wife of Jno Calvert of Blackburn 27 years 7 Dec 1808
Have we found Turner ?
My original informant says that Turner was actually christened
Thomas and a Thomas, son of John and Alice was indeed born on 11 Apr 1810.
If, however, he was 69 when he died in 1873, which is what the GRO
index shows, that would place his birth around 1804. His DOB
calculated from his reported age does seem to vary with censuses, In
1871 his age was shown as 61 which would make his DOB 1810, however
if 61 was a mis-transcription for 67 that would agree with a DOB of
1804. Overall I am of the opinion that too much evidence points to a
birth-date around 1804 and not as late as 1810 to give any confidence
in claiming Turner to be the Thomas born to John and Alice.Most
of the evidence points to Turner being the son of John Calvert and
Esther Birtwistle and, as with Jonathan, his brother, he was not
The original conclusion, that Turner was the son of Richard
Calvert and Elizabeth Sowerbutts was clearly flawed and all the
evidence now points to his being the son of John Calvert and Esther
18 November 2007