First Lucky Break of the Year

First Lucky Break of the Year

I wanted to start off the new year with some family tree research.  I had fooled around for awhile looking for a death notice for Catherine (Dolan) Kelly, but had no success.

I came back after dinner and took up John Joseph Jones–a name with impossible to research written all over it.  Through census and city directory research I was able to narrow down John’s year of death between 1877-1880.

I worked with the Daily Alta Newspaper database in the California Digital Newspaper Collection.  I narrowed my search to 1877-1880.  My first attempts were futile.  Searching Jones was impossible specially since there was a Jones Street in San Francisco.  Trying “John J. Jones”, “John Joseph Jones”, and any other combination of his name pulled up too many results.

I took a different tact and tried Jones + Wales.  Several results came up, but under 100 for each year.  I took 1877, clicked on the first entry, and…BINGO!



Daily Alta, San Francisco, CA, 7 Jan 1877, page 4

This article is interesting to me.  For this period, I usually find death notices or small articles with information about someone’s death.  This is the first time I have found one of my relatives listed under “Coroner’s Intelligence.”

I searched around this date for a death notice, but couldn’t find one.  I don’t think this was meant to take the place of the death notice since those usually have funeral information at the very least during this time period.

Next, I checked the San Francisco Chronicle at  There I found a brief death notice in poor quality.  Unfortunately, there was no mention of where John was buried, information I was sorely lacking!  However, there was mention of a C.MA. Society.  I had never seen this referred to by my Jones kin.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the Country Music Awards LOL.   Looks like I’ll be doing a little research into this society in the near future.

sfchron7jan1877-jones-smallpt1page-5sfchron1877jan7jones-obitsmallpt2page-5San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Jan 1877, page 5

This reminds me that while you have to put in the hard work in order to get anywhere with your family tree, often a little bit of luck helps!

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2 thoughts on “First Lucky Break of the Year

  1. Thanks Carol! This guy was a tough nut to crack. He disappeared in the 1870s in San Francisco. I was beginning to think he deserted the family.

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