Has anyone seen "Socially" used on census names before?

+4 votes

I have an ancestor, Jane McClurkin Lackey, who seems to appear on the 1870 census under the name "Smith, Socially Jane". I think it's her because I can't find her anywhere else, because this is her daughter's household, and because the birth place, first name, and year line up with what I know about Jane. But I'm confused about the changed name. I understand "Socially" could mean that was the name she used even if it wasn't her legal name, but does anyone know why she might be using a different name? I supose she could have married a Smith after her husband's death, but in that case why the word "Soccialy" if it was her legal name? I haven't see this before and would be interested in other presepectives.


WikiTree profile: Jane Lackey
in Genealogy Help by Janelle Weir G2G6 Mach 4 (45.3k points)
It looks like it says "Sookey" or "Sockey"  to me, not Socially.  Maybe the census taker misunderstood "Lackey."  I think the word is part of her name.
Sookey / Sukey was often a pet name for Susan (as Beth, Bess, Bessie, Liz, Lisa, Liza, Eliza, etc for Elizabeth/Elisabeth), but pet names frequently became normalised.  It is possible her name was Sookey Jane Smith and the person writing it had no idea how to spell it.
The census taker handwriting is completely non-consistent. You will notice even when he spelled "Little" on the next two lines that the "L" is completely different.  You can also notice that the "o's" and "a's" in the middle of the names throughout the pages are completely different with some a's trailing at the bottom and some trailing in the top. On the 2nd page after the page her name is on you can see the surname of "Linn" with a completely different "L" written. In fact, her Lackey name in the 1860 census is referenced as "Sackey" on Ancestry.com.

Since the writer is not consistent with his writing I suggest that the intended name spelled here MAY(?) be "Lackey".  There are many cases where I have searched my Lackey surname and found the "L" looking like an "S".  And seeing his  "a's" and "o's" and what looks to be an "o" in that name could actually be an "a" is probative.

If it does not spell "Lackey" then I would agree with others that it is more likely to be "Sockey" instead of "Socially".

Someone with more handwriting comparison skills may be able to adequately answer this.

Coincidentally, I have several families in the Randolph Co. ILL area, including Sparta.  My names there are Gray, Pillers, Bilderback, Steele, Vickers and others.

I have an old book my gg-grandfather bought from RG Shannon in Sparta, ILL in 1833. (This is penciled in the cover pages of the book by him). RG Shannon owned and operated the first trading post in the area after George Rogers Clark and his men took possession. My gggg-grandfather, James Francis Pillers was one of Clark's 200 original men.

I believe one of my family members also married into the Edgar family.  Would have to search my data base to find which one.


3 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer
I found that specific individual and census image in question on Ancestry.

The data does reflect what familysearch states, but when I zoom in to the actual image, I can see why the OCR used for it had made this mistake.

When it comes to older documents, that were handwritten (especially in cursive), these mistakes can be made.

After examining the image, it looks like the actual name written was...

First: Jane

Middle: Smith

Last: Lackey

I hope I had explained this okay via text... :-)

~Brian Kerr
by Brian Kerr G2G6 Pilot (262k points)
selected by Mackenzie Kerr
Thanks for looking into this! I also zoomed in on the original, but I'm not sure where you are getting the name order. For all the other names on the page the last name is listed first. then the first name then the middle initial. If Smith is the middle name why is it first? and if Jane is the first name why is it last?
I had grabbed the image and had cleaned it up a bit to help clarify/sharpen the handwriting better.

I've seen (or you can say deciphered) enough handwritten documents (ie. census) that I'm confident with my findings.

I can never state this as 100% and, as a personal rule of thumb, that "when in real doubt, rule it out". LOL!

~Brian Kerr
+3 votes
Hi Janelle.  In the linked record, the name is indexed as "Socley Jane Smith," not "Socially," and given the handwriting, the indexing might be a crap shoot.  (I think you could also read the name as "Soucey" and the age as 36 rather than 56.)  It might be a bit of a stretch, but I could see someone saying "Lackey" to the census enumerator and him garbling that to "Socley" on the form.  Just one wild theory, see what others think.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (388k points)
Comparing the handwrites numbers it is "56", not "36".  It is easy to see the "3's" are written completely different.

+3 votes
The entry on the census form looks like "Smith Soc???ey Jane" (question marks indicate questionable letters). From the spacing between names, I think that "Smith Soc???ey" is her last name.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Why would someone downvote this helpful answer?  If your guess is different, just say so

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