View Full Version : Has anyone ever come across a case.....

07-04-14, 13:30
where, when the father has died, the oldest (adult but unmarried son), rather than his mother, is named as head of the household.? My friend apparently has one of these.

07-04-14, 14:02
is this in a census? if that's the case, maybe the mother moved in with the son, or he inherited the home.

07-04-14, 14:40
Yes, I can recall two from memory and there may be more if I looked.

07-04-14, 14:50
Perhaps he was named as the head because he was paying the rent and other household expenses.


susan h
07-04-14, 15:53
I don't think it's very unusual. The reason could be as Margaret suggested, also some families back then did entitle the eldest son -where father had died- as head of family.

I've come across the example in my own ancestry.

07-04-14, 17:05
I have a case (1881) where both parents are alive and relatively young,and the head of the household is the single eldest son.

Olde Crone Holden
07-04-14, 17:42
Yes, I have a few of these and I don't consider it unusual.


Anne in Carlisle
07-04-14, 19:41
Yes, I too have some of these. I wasn't really very surprised.

07-04-14, 21:05
Oh, thanks....haven't come across it yet

07-04-14, 22:29
I have one where the mother was listed as a boarder or lodger with son as head of household

08-04-14, 10:16
Could HE be the owner of the house and his mother and siblings moved in with him ?....if this happened to me and my dad had died and mum couldn`t cope financially- I would certainly have taken my mother and siblings in to my home ...so as OC says ...I wouldn`t think it unusual ....I presume there must be several reasons for a son to be Head of household ...maybe they were all just visiting him on the day of the census ?

Olde Crone Holden
08-04-14, 10:23
I think it mostly had to do with victorian attitudes, when women were seen as ineffectual and ALWAYS deferred to men. My own mother never did a thing without my father's permission and was almost proud of the fact that she had never written a cheque, did not know how to pay a bill etc - "Oh, my husband takes care of all that". She would have been incapable (or terrified) of handling any decisions and would have happily handed over the reins to my brother. She would never have considered herself "head of household" while there was a man around.


08-04-14, 22:43
I have a case (1881) where both parents are alive and relatively young,and the head of the household is the single eldest son.

I have one in 1911 with my great grandparents in early middle age. Head of household is their only son. Both of his parents were illiterate and unable to fill in the census. My great uncle filled in the form and signed it.