Some last names sound like first names and some first names sound like last names. WIth names in a foreign language, it can be easy for the unfamiliar ear to not know which is which. A relative Panagiotis Verikios is enumerated as Verikios Panagiotis in an early 20th century census. I even am sometimes referred to by my last name of Neill.
And that man your ancestor married named Tinsley Rucker? He could easily be referred to as Rucker Tinsley.