SNGF: Thomas Jones Appears Most in the Census

SNGF: Thomas Jones Appears Most in the Census

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This week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge was enlightening.  As with many of Randy’s challenges I found a gap in my research.  When I found the record I was looking for, added new information to my tree.

Thomas Augustine Jones, my 2nd great grandfather, appears in 5 census enumerations.  He is in every census from 1870 to 1920 (with the exception of the missing 1890 census).  There is only one person who could beat him:  his daughter Margaret (Jones) Jackson.  She first appears in 1880, but is missing from the 1940 census.

This is what I found on Thomas (Click on images for a larger view):

  • In 1870, newly married a few months earlier, he is listed with his wife, Margaret Kelly, and first child, Josephine (Jones) Pohley.  They had recently moved to Natoma Street in San Francisco from the rooms they shared with Margaret’s parents.
The Jones Family starting out in San Francisco
The Jones Family starting out in San Francisco
  • In 1880, the Jones family with three children, Josephine, John, and Margaret (my great grandmother), and Thomas’ mother, Mary Jane (Hayward) Jones, lived at 15 Cleveland in San Francisco.
  • In 1900, Thomas lived with his daughter, my great grandmother, Margaret (Jones) Jackson.  She is a single working woman. There have been a lot of changes since 1880.  Thomas lost his wife, their baby, and his mother.   All his other children have moved out.  They moved back to Natoma Street by this census.
Thomas Jones and his daughter, Margaret, lived together in San Francisco
Thomas Jones and his daughter, Margaret, lived together in San Francisco
  • In 1910, Thomas is listed with daughter, Margaret, and her husband, Harry Jackson.  Margaret and Harry have a son named John and a daughter also named Margaret (Yes, that is three generations of Margarets). Thomas was living with them in 1906 when the earthquake struck.  They lost everything.  Between 1906 and 1910 they drifted around San Francisco living at different locations.  In this census they lived at 22 Aztec. Soon after this census, the family moved across the bay to Oakland.

In the course of writing this summary, I realized that I did not have information on Thomas Jones in 1920.  In checking the census, I was a bit surprised to find that he was living in the Black District of Marin County, California.  This does not mesh with family lore. My grandma told me that Thomas lived with them until his death.  She was born in 1912 and remembered Thomas had a parrot that would call out rhymes to the kids as they got ready for school.  Another relative assured me that Thomas moved between his children in his later years.  A city directory shows him with daughter, Josephine (Jones) Pohley, in 1912.

Thomas Jones lived alone in 1920
Thomas Jones lived alone in 1920

So, what happened between 1910 and 1920?  Why is Thomas living alone in a county where no one else in the family lived?  And, why is he listed as dying in San Francisco just 3 short years later?

Just when I think I’ve got the man’s story down, I find something that throws it out of whack. I think that because of the stories I’d been told I assumed that Thomas was either with the Pohley or Jones families in the last decade before he died.  Now I have to wonder if he ever made the move to Oakland.  As with all stories there is a glimmer of truth.  Perhaps my grandma was referring to vacations spent with her grandfather rather than times when he lived with them.  It may even be that he lived with the Jackson’s but because their marriage was falling apart he found it necessary to leave.

Looks like I will be doing some city directory research.  I need to figure out where Thomas was between 1912 and 1923–all the places he lived.



If you found this interesting, here are some other articles about Thomas Augustine Jones:

  1. There is Still More to Learn about Thomas Augustine Jones
  2. Treasure Chest Thursday:  Will of Thomas Jones
  3. Wedding Chapel Wednesday: Proof That They Married

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