According to the marriage record, Theodocia was of age at the time of her marriage to T. J. in 1897, which means she was probably born before the 1880 census was taken. (Of course, it’s also possible that she was born after 1880. That would explain why she’s so hard to find.)
The only Theodocia Smith of a reasonable age who shows up in the 1880 census in Alabama (searching Ancestry) is the two-year-old daughter of John J. and Margaret Smith in Clay County. She was born about 1878 and would have been about 19 at the time of the marriage to Thomas J. Lanier. Clay County is southeast of St. Clair County with Talladega County between them, so she looked somewhat promising.
John J. and Margaret Smith were still in Clay County in 1900 with seven children in the household. Theodocia wasn’t listed but 22-year-old Lazinker T. (born March 1878, single) was. The owner of an Ancestry tree that includes this family told me that this Theodocia’s full name was Theodocia Lazinker, that she married James Andrew Beck in 1901, and that she had one child born in 1906.
The index of Alabama Marriages 1816-1957 at FamilySearch shows that James A. Beck and Theodosia Smith married on 15 Jan 1901 in Clay County. James and “Theo” were listed in the 1910 census with their 4-year-old daughter, Annie L. They had been married for 9 years, 1st marriage for both, and Theo was listed as the mother of only one child so that all seems to validate the information from the Ancestry tree. James and Theo were living near John J. Smith in 1920 and right next to him in 1930. (I had completely missed that because she was listed as Theo instead of Theodocia. Shame on me.) No other children show up in those census records for James and Theo. Theo L. Beck died on 8 Nov 1962 in Clay County.
1. Her name was Smith when she married Beck in 1901, so no indication of a previous marriage.
2. My Theodocia was definitely still with T. J. in Mississippi in September 1900 and was possibly still there until 1902. Going on the definite date of September 1900, for this to be her she would have had to get a divorce, move from Mississippi to Alabama, and remarry in less than 4 months time. That seems like a stretch.
3. She apparently did not have a child born before her marriage to Beck (unless the child had died by 1910).
So, Theodocia Lazinker Smith is not the Theodocia Smith who married T. J. It’s a good thing there is one more person of interest. Or is it?