Hello Anne Marie,
I have researched this family pretty thoroughly along with family member David Clack.
The 1841 census shows Michael as born in Yorkshire. This may be significant. There is a possibility that Michael was born illegitimately in Yorkshire, but the family raised Michael with the belief that he was born in USA to cloud the nature of his birth and disguise his real birth mother.
Such means to avoid the stigma of a birth out of wedlock were not at all unusual for this period of time. This family were quite well to do and would have been likely to go these ends. All credit to them, that they raised the child well.
My suggestion is to look for a young woman of perhaps a lower social status who was born locally such as a servant to Robert's parents.
Do you hold any record independent of censes to show Robert or Michael were ever in USA? I cannot find a shred of evidence in the emigration records. I would be delighted to hear of any to refute this mooted concept
Moorhouse family historian,
Mark E. Moorhouse
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