Was Lackman a name or a statement?

Genealogy Lackman Question

We shouldn't read too much into the names of women who appear 'alone' in census records but I couldn't help but wonder why the records dried up for Marietta Hicks who appeared in the 1930 US Census in Ohio after her marriage to my great uncle Samuel Leroy Brown in 1924. Her last name in that record was Lackman and I was scratching my head.

Previously I posted about discovering a second wife to my great uncle Samuel Leroy Brown (read that post here).  The woman I discovered on that record was Marietta Hicks and I wrote about how I thought she might be Mary Jane that my aunts knew about.
"Samuel L Brown married Marietta Hicks on 18 Nov 1924. My mother, my aunt Shelley, and my 2nd cousin Betty insist that her name was Mary Jane. It's possible that Marietta has a middle name of Jane. It's possible that Marietta, wife of Samuel, preferred the name Mary Jane. I have yet to find a birth certificate for Marietta born on 16 Nov 1902 to Morris Hicks and Agatha Sun, according to the marriage certificate." (To read more see "Journey to the Past: The Mysterious Samuel L Brown"

I eventually sorted out that Mary Jane was Samuel's second wife and the one my relatives remembered.  Marietta was a mystery.

Marietta is the daughter of Morris and Atha Hicks, who was a grocer at the time of Marietta's marriage to Samuel in 1924. Samuel was working in his father Sherman Lewis' Garage. 1929 is the last time that Samuel is listed in a city directory. In the 1930 US Census record, Samuel is working as a fireman for the railroad and boarding at the house of Leslie and Fronia McCue. Leslie also works on the Railroad as a fireman.

Year: 1930; Census Place: Portsmouth, Scioto, Ohio; Roll: 1867; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0030; Image: 680.0; FHL microfilm: 2341601. Family 311, Morris P Hicks, head of household

Meanwhile, Marietta is living with her parents once again. She is working as a saleslady in a bakery. But the things get a little strange. First, She listed as 28, which is accurate, married, possibly accurate, but had been married for 23 years? Um... is that right? Three years would work, but that would be a second marriage. Meaning, Marietta and Samuel's marriage was over by 1927, if not earlier.

Now, I discovered a marriage record for a possible daughter named Mary Lou Lackman that would match the daughter listed in the 1930 US Census. There is a possibility that Mary Lou is still living, so I won't post that record here. That marriage record links Marietta Hicks to a William Lackman. The daughter's marriage record also answeed a question of mine. Perhaps I'm the only one who thinks this way, but I'll go for it. I had trouble finding a marriage record for Marrietta to a Mr. Lackman. So, I thought perhaps she was being bold and making a statement with her last name (Lack - Man). It turns out, there is another marriage record to find!

But, knowing that there is really a last name Lackman associated with Marietta and knowing that she now has a daughter to raise, where did she go next. In the 1940s, I have new clues why I couldn't find Mary before knowing for certain about her daughter.

Year: 1940; Census Place: Red Bank, Monmouth, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2369; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 13-146. Household 20, Mary Hicks and duaghter Mary Lou Lackman, boarders.

I find it fascinating that Mary is listed as a widow. She was living in Newark City, New Jersey in 1935 but her daughter was living in Ohio. Why were they separated? The clue could be that Marietta was working as a nurse in 1940 in Red Bank, New Jersey. Thus, she may have gone to training and once complete and ready for a full-time job, this new living situation was the transition to bring her daughter to live with her once more.

Oh, it's so nice to revisit old research and old posts and dig a little deeper having learned new skills. It's also nice to realize that few people, if any would really give a government worker a 'statement' for a last name. But, I do know a few people living who would. Maybe that's why my mind asked the question. Am I the only one?


  1. Check that 1930 Census again - the column for "23" represents "age at first marriage" not number of years married, which is what the column represents in 1900 and 1910. Could Marietta have married a Lackman in 1925? Are the ages at first marriage correct for Morris and Atha Hicks?

    1. Elizabeth... thanks for pointing out my mistake in a polite way. I am smacking my head over this one. The ages are accurate for Morris and Atha. But I'll keep digging now that I'm reading records correctly.

  2. I was recently doing research about the guide book the enumerators used. For the year I was studying, which I believe was 1910, you could receive a hefty fine and jail time for falsifying a listing! Though I still like your idea that it could have been a statement about her lacking a man! I don't think I would have thought of that. :)

    1. I know it's crazy to read a name wrong and I'm sure folks with the Lackman last name get tired of it. I am more frustrated that she is such a tough one to track down that my mind started thinking her last name was a taunt.


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