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[help] American social history

My dad is doing some historical/genealogical research on our family, and is stumped by an item from the 1910 U.S. Census. He’s hoping someone out here in the blogosphere can shed some light. So far his Google fu has been inadequate.

Dad says:

Two men in their 40’s living together at time of 1910 census in New York. Both employed as silk finishers in a silk mill.

One is listed as head of household and single. He apparently remained single for his whole life.

The other is listed as “partner” and married – having been married 20 years.

Anyone understand the use of the term partner in the 1910 census?

Thanks!

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