William & Mary Calder

1875 Blantyre Works Mills

Eileen Cusack Ansell messaged Blantyre Project saying, “I cannot find the deaths for William Calder and Mary Johnston, my ancestors. I know they were in the 1851 census, but they were both deceased by the time their daughter Sarah married on December 31, 1860, which narrows down a death time between March 30/31, 1851 (when census was taken) and December 31, 1860. Any thoughts?”

I was able to reply with…..Hi Eileen – this is a difficult time to research. With Church of Scotland registers changing in 1855, just the exact decade causing you problems.

If William and Mary both died between 1851 and 1861 in Blantyre, they would likely have been buried in Blantyre Works Cemetery (as High Blantyre Cemetery didn’t open until 1875). Blantyre Works Cemetery is no longer there.

Looking at deaths in Old Parish Registers, the only Mary Calder i could find that fits her birth in 1808, was a person age 45 who died in Montrose 5/11/1853. That’s certainly worth exploring more. She may have died away from Blantyre? I cannot find any Mary Cawther in death certificates.

For William, born in 1805, I could not find anybody of that name in the old Parish Registers prior to 1855. So I switched to Statutory registers between 1855 and 1860 and again could not find anybody thats fits. I tried Calder and Cather (older spelling).

Having Irish heritage, i could not find them in Roman Catholic death registers either. 

Now, Stonefield Farm changed hands in 1855, which may have meant the family having to leave there that year. I wonder if they emigrated or moved away in their retirement? Always something to consider.

Worth considering too is that the Blantyre Mills burned down on 13th September 1859, putting many hundreds of people out of work overnight. They may have HAD to move away?

I don’t see them in Valuation rolls either, as tenants or owners in 1855 or 1860 for Blantyre but there is a William Calder renting a shop in Hamilton in 1855, which may be connected?

Frustrating, I know, but I do hope you have some leads in the above to continue your research. I never want to assume anything, but think it very likely that they moved away from Scotland, and both died that decade, wherever they ended up.

Pictured is Blantyre works, where many of the Calder family worked.


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  1. I will let you know what I find, if anything. Again… much appreciated. Eileen

  2. Thank you so much for your help…..I will explore some of the ideas. Eileen

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