About My Ancestors · California Genealogy · General Genealogy

What Is the CMA Society?

You know I can’t leave any stone unturned.  After find out from my Gr Gr Gr Grandfather’s death notice that he was a member of the CMA Society, I spent a considerable amount of time going through the 1877 San Francisco City Directory looking through the list of societies in hopes of finding one that sounded like something John Joseph Jones would belong to.  I believe I found it.

Under Benevolent Societies, I found the “Cambrian Mutual Aid Society”.  The CMA was founded by people with Welsh ancestry in San Francisco.

The Strangers’ Guide to San Francisco and Vicinity by William C. Disturnell published in 1883 notes that the Cambrian Mutual Aid Society was formed in 1869.  It also notes “This is an association of Welsh residents, organized for benevolent purposes.  Meets second Monday of every month at Cambrian Hall, 1133 Mission Street.”

The Society was  responsible for building Cambrian Hall found at 1133 Mission Street.  The money was loaned to the society by The Welsh Presbyterian Church.  More of the history of the Welsh community in California can be found in David Hughes’ “Welsh people of California, 1849-1906“.  According to Bentley’s Hand-book of the Pacific Coast by William R. Bentley published in 1885 the Welsh Presbyterian Church was also housed at Cambrian Hall.

Though the Jones family made a detour through Australia on their immigration trail, John Joseph Jones was a native of Wales.   So, this seems to be a likely candidate.  I don’t know how large the Welsh community in San Francisco was, though the 1877 San Francisco City Directory states that the society had 221 members.

I guess my next research adventure will be to figure out how long the CMA Society was in existence and if anyone preserved their records.  I’m not very hopeful for pre-1906 records given what was destroyed in the earthquake and fire.  But as I said in the beginning, I never leave a stone unturned!

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