Link to where it is? If a census sheet.... the year, State or Territory of U.S., Enumeration District number, sheet number, line number?
Joel - I am embarrassed to say that I do not have answers to any of your questions. I will insert an image of the document with the mystery word in it. I don't know if the document is a census document or perhaps a ship's manifest. I found the document doing some research on my deceased mother's family. The Thomas Thomas on line 384 would be my great great grandfather - a Welsh coal miner who came to the US in the 1840s. Wish I could tell you more.
Thanks in advance for your help - John
It definitely looks like a passenger list. If you can get back to the page online, look back several images or go to the first image and look for a heading.
I hope this helps.
It's a ship manifest from the ship Bridgewater arriving New York 1863
A better image of the page can be found at FamilySearch.org.... you need to register for free to see:
It looks like that column with the word is reserved for job status or "wife". Thomas and son? Edward (from Wales) appear to have the same profession. They are travelling in steerage... the cheapest way of travelling.
Now that you have the page.... better quality.... you could go through the manifest looking for how the writer wrote out words, and get a feeling for the script. My wife thinks it's Preacher..... but I don't see that. Perhaps it's a special category of miner??
I think the word is Pudler or Puddler
Here is a discussion on an iron puddler
"An Iron Puddler worked on an Iron Furnace charging it with pig iron and turning the pig iron into wrought iron by puddling, that is charging the hearth with iron oxide powder and stirring it into the molten pig iron with a rabble, or fork at the furnace end until the iron slowly became purer."
Followng Joel's excellent suggestion to compare the writing in the document, look at entry # 384 & # 386 - both have this same occupation - compare the "d" in a word you are sure of like 'widow' in entry # 400 or "d" in 'United' in entry # 369 - a great tip for reading "old" penmanship
Hope that helps
Thank You P.McG - I can tell all my friends now that I am descended from pudlers - John