William George Underwood was born on 23 September 1841 at Gloucester Union (Gloucester Workhouse). His parents were George William Underwood and Maria Lane who got married in 1840 In Gloucestershire. His parents spent most of the 1840’s living in a workhouse where they had four children, John James Underwood and Fanny Underwood, who both died in infancy, and William George Underwood and Ann Maria Underwood who survived. His mother died in the workhouse in 1850 so it would appear that the family were in a workhouse for the whole of that decade.
His father secured work as a train driver soon afterwards, and in 1851 his father married his second wife, Matilda Curtis. At the time of the 1851 census William George Underwood is a 9 year old scholar living with his father and step-mother, together with his sister Ann Maria Underwood from his father’s first marriage.
William George Underwood married Emma Birmingham in Bristol, Gloucestershire in 1862, and they had at least three children, Joshua W Underwood born at Bedminster, Bristol in 1866, Sarah Underwood born at bedminster, Bristol in 1869 and Joseph Underwood born at Bedminster, Bristol in 1871 who are all listed with their mother on the 1881 UK Census.
William George Underwood died at Islington, London in 1925.
Birth of William George Underwood
UK Birth index 1841
Gloucester Union, Oct-Dec, volume 11, page 348
Underwood William George, Mother’s name: Lane
Gloucester Union, South Hamlet, Gloucestershire
Born 23 September 1841 South Hamlet, William George; Father: George Underwood, Labourer; Mother: Maria Underwood formerly Lane; Informant: Maria Lane, occupier, …; Registered 17 October 1841.
Marriage of William George Underwood
UK Marriage index April-June 1862
Bristol, Gloucestershire, vol 6a, page 173
William George Underwood and Emma Birmingham
Census Records for William George Underwood
1851 UK Census:
Parish of Barton St Mary, Gloucestershire
George Underwood, head, aged 32, Engine Driver, born Atworth.
Matilda Underwood, wife, aged 20, born Bath.
William George Underwood, son, aged 9, scholar, born Bridgwater, Somerset.
Ann Maria Underwood, daughter, aged 7, scholar, born Gloucester.
It looks as though the person who took the census got confused and got the places of birth wrong for the two children. It was William George Underwood who was born in Gloucester, and Ann Maria Underwood who was born in Bridgwater.
1871 UK Census
William G Underwood, 30 yrs, General Mason, born Gloucestershire
Emma Underwood, wife, 40 yrs, born Selworthy, Somerset
Joshua Underwood, son, 4 yrs, Scholar, born Bristol, Somerset
Sarah Underwood, daugh, 1 yrs, born Bristol, Somerset
George Underwood, nephew, 14 yrs, Machine Ruler, born Bristol, Somerset
It is not known for certain what happened to William George Underwood between the 1871 Census when he was 30 years old mason living with his wife, and the 1901 census when he was a 59 year old bricklayers labourer living apart from his wife.
In the 1881 census his wife is listed as the head of the family living with her children in Bedminster, Somerset. However, she is listed as as a ‘Married’ dress maker, not ‘Widowed’ or ‘Divorced’.
By the 1891 census she is still in Bedminster, but described as a Widowed Tailoress, and in the 1901 she is listed at Bristol, Gloucestershire as a 70 year old Mother in Law.
In contrast, William George Underwood simply disappears and there does not appear to be a William George Underwood of the right age who died between those years (1871 and 1901)
However, there is a William Underwood listed in the 1881 and 1911 Census as a patient at a mental health hospital (or as it was described then, an ‘asylum for imbeciles’) at Caterham, Surrey whose estimated year of birth would be 1844. It appears that he was allowed to work as a labourer in the late 1800’s early 1900’s
1881 UK Census
District Assylum For Imbeciles, Caterham, Surrey
William Underwood, patient, aged 37, lunatic
1901 Census, Wooten Street, Lambeth, London, Middlesex
William G Underwood, Lodger, 59 years, Bricklayers Labourer, born Gloucestershire.
1911 UK Census 1911
Caterham, Surrey, England
William Underwood, Inmate, aged 67, Labourer, born 1844 (estimated)
Death of William George Underwood
The death of William George Underwood is also impossible to determine with accuracy.
There is a William G Underwood who died aged 87 in 1925, but that would make his birth 1838, three years before his known birth year of 1841
UK Death index 1925
Islington, London, Apr-Jun, vol 1b, page 168
Underwood, William G. Aged 87