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What is a "Union Lad" please?

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


SuffolkVera Report 9 Jun 2024 17:01

I've come across this in the 1911 census in the column for relationship to head of household. The writing is clear on the census so I don't think it has been misread. The family consists of father, mother, 29 year old unmarried daughter, 18 year old unmarried son, 2 grandsons aged 7 and 4 and a 14 year old boy, still at school, and described under relationship as "union lad". Google hasn't really helped me much.

The only idea I have had is that union might refer to the poor law union with the parish paying to board the lad with this family. Has anyone heard of this happening or have you any better ideas?

I am not too bothered about it as this is only a very distant branch of the family anyway but my curiosity has been aroused.


ArgyllGran Report 9 Jun 2024 17:32

I haven't heard of the term, but your suggestion sounds reasonable.

Even when I was a teenager in 1960's Scotland, we knew of people who had been "boarded-outs" , as they were known here.

"Union lad" sounds like an equivalent term.

Have you researched the boy's family? Was he maybe illegitimate or an orphan? Where was he in 1901?


SuffolkVera Report 9 Jun 2024 18:28

Thanks for your reply and the link. I haven't looked any further into the boy's background or family yet. I only came across it by accident but I am interested to find out what it means. I'll put it on my list to do when I've got a spare half hour (though goodness knows when that will be!).


ErikaH Report 9 Jun 2024 21:04

He is with his own family in 1901


ArgyllGran Report 9 Jun 2024 22:55

Frederick Turner, born Walthamstow, Essex.

(Mistranscribed as Fredercik on Ancestry.)

Which family are you thinking is his in 1901, ErikaH?

Those which seem most likely to me still have their Frederick with them in 1911.


ErikaH Report 10 Jun 2024 08:46

I may have jumped to an erroneous conclusion - I was very tired after travelling.

No time to check further at the moment - will try to do so later


SuffolkVera Report 10 Jun 2024 12:54

Thank you for your interest ArgyllGran and ErikaH. If you are following this up for your own pleasure, then please carry on and I'll be interested to hear about anything you find. If you are doing it to help me it is appreciated but I wouldn't want you to waste your time. This part of the family are quite distant (the father James Pickthorn Harvey is a 1st cousin 3 times removed) and I already have a fair amount of information about them.


ArgyllGran Report 10 Jun 2024 15:11

It would just be for the pleasure of the research, Vera.
Frederick is almost certainly not related to the Harvey family .