Finding a woman’s parents is often difficult, but sometimes it can be easy if you use good technique. Thanks to Newspapers.com
, Family Search
, and Ancestry.com
, I was able to quickly determine the parents of Catherine Thomas, who are a set of second great-grandparents in my Angley atDNA Project. The difficulty in finding women’s parents is often compounded when the surnames are extremely common.
From several other documents, I know that James E Jones had married Catherine Thomas in 1890[i]
in Luzerne County, PA. I also know that they lived in various places in Luzerne County into the 1930s. I had neither of their death dates. The 1930 Census provided the breakthrough for both of them. The census said that James owned a home on Huntsville Street in Dallas, PA, and that he was an Organizer, Miner Union.
I then went to Newspapers.com
and searched for: “James E Jones” Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, 1930-1950. There it was, the 4th out of 15 articles. It was an interesting article about him and his life as a United Mine Workers organizer and chapter president[ii]
Then, I turned to looking for Catherine. Again, a simple search for: “Catherine Jones” wife “James E Jones” returned three matches, one of which provided an obituary’s listing of children and siblings[iii]. The obituary mentioned three brothers, Thomas R Thomas, John R. Thomas, and William R. Thomas. Again, perfect. Switching to Family Search, I searched the 1880 Census for someone with the surname of Thomas and three children Thomas, John, and William. Again, there it was. The head of the household was Thomas Thomas and was married to Hannah. Catherine was also in the details. I needed to go to Ancestry.com, where I have a subscription, to see the image to glean additional information[iv]. So, in a matter of about 30 minutes, I had determined two more ancestors for the project. Then, of course, I spent another four hours documenting my sources, and adding events and individuals to my project. It was a good day.
Pay attention to street names when you see them in census records. They provide a great clue to use when searching elsewhere, particularly newspapers.
When using newspapers, always do a search for Name and street if known. Also, search for “Name” “wife of Name.”
When searching census records, remember using advanced search, you can search for no first name, then add children’s names to your search parameter. You might find something helpful.
, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com
Operations Inc, 2004), Year: 1900; Census Place: Edwardsville, Luzerne, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1431; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0043; FHL microfilm: 1241431.
Today’s goal was a simple one — determine Sarah Jones’ mother’s surname as a part of my Angley Project.
I started with very little information. Sarah was born in October 1899 to James E and Catherine Jones. They lived in Edwardsville, Luzerne County, PA for many years.
The first step was to begin searching the 1900 Census. I really like the 1900 Census because it shows the month and year for the individual’s birth as well the number of years of the present marriage. Two important identifying items.
Using Ancestry.com, I quickly found the couple in Edwardsville loving on Slocum Street. Not only did the record show daughter Sarah but also three other siblings, James E (who would be proven to be a Junior in the 1910 Census), Annie and Mary. The census showed James & Catherine were born in November 1869 and June 1872 respectively. It also showed they had been married for 10 years. So now, I had their birthdates and Marriage date.
|Marriage Record – James E Jones
& Catherine Thomas – [ii]
Hoping for the easy look, I searched Ancestry.com and didn’t find a record fitting the criteria I had. I then went to Family Search and there they were. James was born on 2 November 1869 and Catherine was born on 22 June 1872. They were married on 21 October 1890[i]. All the pieces fit the and the goal was realized because the marriage record indicated her maiden name was Thomas.
As something of a side note, I noticed that the reverend W. D. Thomas married them. I wonder if there is a relationship there. Further research will tell.
The ultimate reason for this project is to find a common ancestor between two people’s trees who share a large segment of DNA. The comparison tree doesn’t have a Catherine Thomas in it, so we don’t have a match, yet. That said, the comparison tree does have other Thomas surnames living in Pennsylvania about 100 miles away at the same time. Therefore, the Thomas surname is definitely an area for further research.
[i] Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950, Family Search, James E Jones – Catherine Thomas. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VF4W-DB7.