I've run across a curious designation in the "Relation to Head of Family" column of the 1851 Census that I'd like some help figuring out. Following the entries for the parents and their children who all share the same last name, there is an entry for a 24-year-old woman with a different last name and a "Relation to Head of Family" that looks like it could be "Depen" (possibly for Dependent?). The Census says this young woman is employed as a "Cotton Slubber" and she is certainly of age at 24, so I'm not quite sure what to make of this.
Has anyone else seen a similar designation? Am I reading the entry correctly? Any thoughts about what it might mean?
Judith, thanks for your thoughts on this. Here's one other wrinkle that I overlooked. Hannah Yates is also enumerated with this family in the 1841 Census, but in that census (which doesn't include a column for relation to head of household), she's listed as "F.S.," presumably "Female Servant."
Since the head of household is listed as a Laborer, it seems a bit odd to think that Hannah Yates was employed as a female servant within the household. Maybe this is just the way the census enumerator accounted for the presence of an unrelated, non-working teenage girl in household, or maybe she was working as a domestic outside the household?
In any case, the unofficial adoption line is definitely one worth following up. I'll try to locate a birth record for Hannah to see if that helps me figure anything out.