Who was Robert Calvert

Some doubt has been thrown on the parentage of the Robert Calvert who died in Fall River, USA in 1901. This Research Note documents the doubt and the evidence.


  1. Looking at the 1861 census we have Robert Calvert age 22 bn. Gt Harwood married to Catherine and living with the Baron family at 45 Queen St, Gt Harwood. This is the Robert who died in Fall River.
  2. According to Flo Montgomery the PRs show
    Parish Records p. 56 # 111, 18.3.1861
    Robert CALVERT aged 27, Bachelor, Weaver of Gt Harwood, father James Calvert, Weaver . Married Catherine BARON, aged 20, Spinster, Weaver of Gt Harwood, father William Baron, Weaver.
    This marriage is also recorded in GRO Q1 1861 Blackburn 8e 429.
  3. The 1861 census was on 07 April 1861 so they would just have been married when the census took place.
  4. There is however a disparity of 5 years in Robert's age between the wedding and census some 3 weeks later ! There are other inconsistencies in his recorded age:
    Based on age 27 at marriage would make his DoB 1834
    1861 census would make DoB 1839
    1871 census would make it 1838
    1881 census and we are back to 1834
    1893 (SS Pavonia) age shown on passenger manifest is 48 = DoB 1845
    The above can be firmly established as the Robert who was married to Catherine.
  5. Previous to the 1861 marriage, in 1841 there is a Robert Calvert the son of Turner living at Edgend aged 3. he was born in Gt Harwood
  6. In 1851 this Robert was living with Turner in Village, age 13. There is no other Robert in Gt Harwood of a similar age.
  7. Similarly in 1861 there are only two Roberts the right age bracket living in Great Harwood. The first is the one who is married to Catherine, the other was born in Blackburn and is a lodger at 10 Clayton St. The head this of household was Jane Hargreaves,a widow of 55, said to be born in Blackburn, but who actually came from Inskip. (this is the Jane Rawlinson who married Roger Hargreaves in 1829 and who appears elsewhere in th Calvert tree)
  8. It could be that Robert, son of Turner died or moved out of the area between 1851 & 1861 there is no obvious reason other than marriage for his not living with his parents at 126 Queen St (other than the overcrowding with 5 Calverts and 4 Mercers living there)
  9. Referring back to 2 above there is no Robert, son of James in Lancashire in 1851 or 1841. There was a Robert born to a James Calvert of Clayton-le-Moors in 1839(GRO 1839 Q3 Blackburn 21 52 457, however this Robert cannot be found in the 1841 or 185 Censuses and may have died in infancy.
  10. Robert & Catherine named their first son “Turner”, it was common to name a son after the father's father. All the Calverts with a given name of Turner in the Great Harwood area have been descended from this Turner (bn: ~1804) 
  11. The name Turner for Robert's father was a nickname and up to now tracing his real name has proved somewhat difficult – based on oral tradition it was thought to be Thomas, however if his real name had been James that would explain Robert quoting James as his father at his marriage but naming his son Turner.
  12. For there to have been two Roberts it would mean that Robert, son of Turner disappeared off the Gt Harwood censuses at the same time as Robert son of James made an appearance.
  13. A final point is that the 1908 Affidavit of Thomas Henry Mercer in the matter of the Estate of Robert Clayton Mercer deceased firmly places the Robert who died on 28 Jan 1901 in Fall River USA as one of the issue of Turner Calvert and Ann Mercer.
The above was the position until I received Copies of Birth and Marriage certificates for Robert.
  1. These show an error in the transcription mentioned in (2) above. This entry should read :
    Blackburn 8e 429 # 111, 18.3.1861
    Robert CALVERT aged 22, Bachelor, Weaver of Gt Harwood, father Turner Calvert, Weaver. Married Catherine BARON, aged 20, Spinster, Weaver of Gt Harwood, father William Baron, Weaver.  There are two differences (highlighted) between this and the previous transcription.
  2. Based on a DOB of 1837 the following table shows the real disparity between his declared ages and real ages :

    Declared Age Real Age
    1851 13 14
    1861 22 24
    1871 33 34
    1881 47 44
    1891 55 54
    1893 48 56
    1900 DOB 1839 (i.e.61) 63
    1901 64 64


The only evidence to suggest that Robert was not the son of Turner Calvert (Snr.) was a transcription of a Parish Record entry which shows his father's name as James. All associative evidence indicates the father was Turner.

This has now been confirmed by an examination of the birth and marriage certificates.

Robert Calvert
15 March 2007