52 Ancestors Week 26: John and Mary Jane, I Hardly Know You

52 Ancestors Week 26: John and Mary Jane, I Hardly Know You

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I have made it half way through the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.  Woo Hoo!  Usually I’ve given up by this point because life interferes. I’m behind a week, as usual, but at least I am still here!

It is the halfway mark, so I’ll write about an ancestor I’ve researched only half way.  I have so much work to do on so many ancestors, but the couple I have spent the least amount of research time on is John Joseph Jones and Mary Jane Hayward.  There story has not been easy to root out and I’ve put them aside for more lucrative research journeys.

John  and Mary Jane appear in San Francisco, California sometime around 1858 with their two sons, Charles John and Thomas Augustine.  Where were they before that?  Both sons were born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.  But, it gets blurry from there.  I have no clue how or when they got to Australia.  Were they children or adults?  Were they married or single?  These facts allude me.

Mary Jane left few facts to work with.  What is her real last name?  It could be Haywards, Hayward, Heywood, or any other similar sounding surname. I’ve seen all three.

The 1880 Census shows J.H. Jones living with Thomas Augustine Jones and his family.  This is most likely Mary Jane as she sometimes went by Jane. The person is a widow of the right age born in England.  But her obituary confuses even that small detail by placing her in Wales. Other records fall on either side.

Mary Jane Jones obituary
Mary Jane Jones obituary

John, oh John, why did you have to be named John Joseph Jones?  John Joseph Jones is one of many in a field of John Joseph Jones and John J. Jones.  His name alone has made researching the family painful.

I was able to nail down his birth place as Wales.  I wasn’t really sure until I found his obituary.

John Joseph Jones died in 1877 leaving few details of his life in San Francisco or Australia
Part two of John Jones obituary
Part two of John Jones obituary

This somewhat difficult to read obituary left me one clue to go on. He was a member of the CMA Society. Also known as the Cambrian Mutual Aid Society, this organization was open to those who were born in Wales.

I have found the couple in the 1870 census and a couple of city directories. He was a shoemaker and the family moved quite often during their time in San Francisco.

I know John Jones was naturalized due to the fact that his son, Thomas Augustine Jones, is listed in voter registers as being a citizen due to his father becoming a citizen.  I found this blurb in the newspaper that may or may not be my guy.  Since the naturalization records for San Francisco for this period were lost in the 1906 earthquake and fire, I probably won’t ever be able to confirm this.
“John J. Jones of Wales and Johann H. Ellerbrock of Bremen were admitted to the rights of citizenshp in the Fourth District Court yesterday.”– San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper [San Francisco, CA], 15 Oct 1861. Local Intelligence, “City Items in Brief”, entry for John J. Jones.

I still need to figure out when the family came to America.  Then, there is Australia to explore.  Both sons were born there so perhaps birth or baptismal record are out there waiting for me to get my butt in gear.

Then, maybe I will be able to answer the one question that has niggled at my brain.  Why were John and Mary Jane in Australia in the first place?

The records leave so many blanks.  Their story is yet to be told.


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