I’ve Been Searching…City Directories

I’ve Been Searching…City Directories

[Research Journal #5, Entry #9]

Since the 1880 census was a bust, I went back to the Oakland Public Library and buried my head in city directories. I wanted to see if I could find Margaret (Kelly) and Thomas Jones and Martin Kelly. My hopes were that they’d be living near each other.

I soon realized my task would be challenging.  First, prior to 1900 women are almost non-existent in city directories.  Some married women and widows are scattered around, but they are few and far between.  This would make finding the right Thomas Jones a bit difficult.

The second problem was more complicated.  There were at least two Martin Kelly’s floating around San Francisco in the mid 1800s. I made note of them all because I would have to differentiate between them at some point. I started with the 1900 city directory and worked my way back. I knew my family owned boardinghouses so I made note of either surname owning boarding houses.

It wasn’t until 1872 that I found what I was looking for. I found Thomas A. Jones residing at 112 Jessie St.  He was a blacksmith and so was my guy.

I didn’t find Martin Kelly in 1872, but I found one in 1874 at 111 Jessie St. He ran a boardinghouse. Coincidental? I went back to 1869 and found the connection. In that year, Martin Kelly, boardinghouse owner lived at 112 Jessie St. That’s the place Thomas and Margaret Jones lived at just two years later.

It turns out that the Kelly family lived at 112 Jessie St. from 1861 to 1869. Thomas Jones was living on Jessie St. as early as 1868 (269 Jessie).

Unless some unknown relative tells me the story of how Thomas and Margaret, I’ll have to make up my own.  The fact that they lived on the same street prior to marriage tells me that they had an opportunity to make contact. Martin Kelly wasa a horse trader as well a boardinghouse owner.  It’s possible that as a blacksmith, Thomas Jones might have have done work for Martin Kelly.  Young Thomas might have had to delivery finished goods to the Kelly boardinghouse.  There he met a young lass name Margaret. They fell in love… or maybe he rented a room from the Martin and Catherine at some point. Who knows? I do know the paths crossed eventually.

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