Robert Cross was born on 24 January 1834. The Old Parish Register for Kilmaronock records
" Alex Crofs Quarrier at Blairmyle and Elizabeth Glen his spouse had a lawful son born named ROBERT McKENZIE "
The middle name "McKENZIE" seems to be from a landowning
family in the area, a Robert McKenzie of Caldervan has a memorial plaque inside Kilmaronock Church.
Robert is included with his parents and siblings in the 1841 Census for Blairoaks Cottage, Caldervan his father is listed
as a Freestone Quarrier.
He attended the local village school at Kilmaronock.
The Heritors Records for Kilmaronock ( in the National Archives of Scotland ( HR 578 )) record the details of schoolmasters
26 February 1846 : A meeting was caused by the death of Mr James McGregor, Mr Joseph Dobbie, Roslin was elected.
6 April 1848 : Mr Dobbie appointed to another situation...
The schoolmaster from 1848-1853 was Thomas McLelland, who married Robert's sister Elizabeth Cross ( 1836-1916). Robert
left school at 14 and went into service. In the 1851 Census for Kilmaronock he is shown as a "farm servant" in
the employ of Miss Anne McGoune of Mains, Kilmaronock.