My mother always said that my great-grandmother’s name was Lula Mae Captolia “hyphen” Lucinda Ladow. It’s said that the hyphen was added because Great-Grandma was adopted at age three and kept both of her names. But years later, I discovered that it wasn’t a hyphen in her name; it was a different name entirely – Halpin.
I learned this fact by looking at my great-grandmother’s marriage license, which included her name as Lucinda Halpin as well as the names of her parents, Harriet Bird and William Halpin. But on her death certificate, Lucinda’s maiden name was listed as Ladow.
I looked for the birth certificates of her children to see which maiden name they included, but I found only one and it was filled out years after the child’s birth. The information on that delayed birth certificate was provided by the same person who had provided details for the death certificate, so the maiden name on it was Ladow, too.
I dug further for clues about either Lucinda’s parents or her adoptive parents. At the county genealogical society I found another person with the names Captolia and Halpin, who had a birthdate exactly one year after my great-grandmother, but that was all. I still didn’t have Lucinda’s family story.
Frustrated, I turned to the people at the society. Their suggestion was to try to the courthouse – there was a chance, they said, that legal documents associated with Lucinda’s adoption might have been filed. To my surprise, after looking through many court books, I found paperwork stating that Mr. Silas Ladow had been made the legal guardian of Lucinda, age one, because her father had died and Lucinda had no other living relatives.
My husband says that when I made this discovery, my eyes lit up. And while we still have no idea about what happened to Lucinda’s mother, now my great-grandmother’s unique name has a story to go with it.
—Ancestry.com member, Sharon Arnold