Thursday, March 16, 2017

Who Was "Lawless Mary"?

While doing some research today, I came across an intriguing name in a 1940 census: Lawless Mary. She was an 82 year old widow living in Texas, and I had to learn more about her. What fascinating life did she live to earn her nickname?

After finding her in a 1900 census, it turns out "Lawless Mary" was not a nickname; her name was Mary Lawless. 

1940 U.S. Census, Falls County, Texas, Lott Ward, population schedule, page 7B [written], household #165, North 6 St, John Priest Household, image, ( : accessed 15 January 2016), citing National Archives microfilm T627, roll 4030.

The 1940 census enumerator had just added a line indicating her surname was the same as the name abover her: Cone. But, her name was, in fact, Mary Lawless and there is not an amazing story.

So, if you were researching Mary Lawless, how would you have found her? I think the most likely way would have been to search for her daughter, Susie, in the census.


  1. There is not an amazing story - that you know of :-)

    1. True! Who knows what I'd find if I did a little more digging. :)

  2. What a letdown! But, like Debi said, you never know...

    1. :) Sorry to trick you, but I fell for it myself! And, it's a good reminder that census records aren't always what they appear to be.


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