William Union

Born . 1873 at Greenock Certificate
Full Name William Union Changed his name to Kerr some time after 1908
Father William Union Mother Ellen Union (ms Kerr)
Married . 1897 to Ellen Skilling (ms Quigg) at Greenock Certificate
Married . 1903 to Margaret Noble at Greenock Certificate
Children 1908 Helen Kerr Illegitemate child of Margaret McMahon. b. Jan 1908; d. 23.4.08
.. ? John Kerr Reported William's death in 1950.
Died 12.11. 1950 at 30 Whittington St., Coatbridge, Lanark Cerebral haemorrhage Certificate

William was born in 1873 to William Union and his wife Ellen (formerly Kerr). In 1881 he was living with his parents at 3 Crescent Street, Greenock [1]. By 1891 his father was reported dead, his mother had remarried, and William was living with her and her new family at 35 Cathcart Street [2]. I have not found him in the 1901 census.

In 1897, William was married to Helen Skilling (formerly Quigg). She died of bronchitis in May 1903, her age given as 42. On 8th June 1903, William was described as a Widower when he married Margaret Noble. Margaret appeared in the 1901 census as housekeeper to members of the Union family, and was said to have been "crippled from childhood" [3]. In January 1908, William's daughter Helen Kerr Union was born to Margaret McMahon, a domestic servant of Coatbridge. The fact that the child was given William's name suggests that he and his wife may have intended to adopt the child as their own. Sadly, little Helen died three weeks later of acute bronchitis and broncho-pneumonia [4]. William's wife Margaret died in Springburn, Glasgow, in 1925 aged about 50 [4].

William was responsible for at least one other child, a son John. In 1950, the death is recorded of William Kerr (formerly Union), age 78, in Coatbridge, Lanark. He is described as single, no details are given of his parents, and the death was reported by his son John Kerr [4].

Why William chose to break his links with the Union name and revert to his mother's (and grandmother's) maiden name we can only guess at. Was William trying to hide from something in his past, or in that of his family? There was certainly something odd about his father's reported death and subsequent apparent reappearance; was there a skeleton in the family's cupboard?

Sources: Census [1]1881; [2]1891; [3]1901; GRO [4]death records

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Page last updated 13 February 2004