Yesterday, my Jones line was a brick wall. I knew they were from North Carolina, but couldn't make the connection. Have you ever tried to look for a Jones without a birth date? Doesn't work too well.
Today I no longer have a Jones brick wall. In fact, not only did I knock a hole out, I drove a path back 100 years in North Carolina. Here's what happened:
I was putting together a little profile for Frank Wiley Jones. He's one of my favorite ancestors: part cowboy, part businessman, all gentleman. I Googled his name to see what I could find about his days in Duncan, Oklahoma and Indian Territory before that.
Up pops this chapter from "A History of the State of Oklahoma: 1908" (scroll down 1/4 page to see the entry for Frank Wiley Jones.) I knew most of the information on the page, but at the bottom it lists his grandfather as Wiley Jones. I know Frank's father was Richard Manson/Monson Jones, but I never knew the next link up. Now I do. It's Wiley Jones.
I found Wiley in the 1860 census in Cooke County, TX, just where he was supposed to be according to the book. Two doors up from him is Josiah Jones. I know these people came from Buncombe County, North Carolina, so I started digging for a records online that may have a Wiley and Josiah Jones in the same family. I found one led by Ebed Jones. Then it goes back another generation from there.
Just like that. No big discoveries. Just a simple mention of a man's grandfather in a 100-year-old history book.
I've started gathering censuses and various records to verify all this information. So far, it's looking good. I've now pushed far enough back in this line that there is a great deal of documentation.
The sad part of this is that last week I spent about 30 minutes in the western North Carolina genealogical societies booth at the NGS conference in Raleigh. I whined to the booth staffer how I knew my Jones' were from Buncombe County, I just didn't know enough to act on it. I sat there and looked at all the great books they had. I saw many Jones entries, but didn't know which if any were mine. A week later, I know so much more and no longer have access to those books.
For my family, just know you have at least 100 years of Jones history in North Carolina (1750-1850), then 40 years in Texas before the move to Indian Territory / Oklahoma.