Like many Joneses, my Jones roots go back to the country of Wales. Obviously not all Joneses have Welsh roots, but mine do and this is why you’ll see a bit more information about Wales and the U.K. on JonesGenealogy.com. Wales is also home to the largest concentration of Joneses, per capita, in the world.
In any regard, this past summer I traveled to Cambria, Wisconsin to explore the area where my Jones Ancestors settled after arriving in America in the mid-1840′s from Wales. I really wanted to get a feel of the area where my ancestors lived over 150 years ago. I also wanted to see the grave marker of my Great Great Grandfather (Evan Jones) in person.
Columbia County, Wisconsin (where Cambria is located) was a popular location for the Welsh to settle after they arrived in the U.S. in the early-1840′s and later. Earlier Welsh settlements were located in the Eastern U.S. (primarily Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio). But, the Welsh that arrived in the U.S. in the 1840′s settled further inland, partially because of the abundance of inexpensive land and partially because they knew of others from Wales that also settled in the same area. The Welsh tended to stay pretty close together after arriving in the U.S.
Before my trip, I contacted the local historians in Cambria, Wisconsin (Jay Williams, Tom Williams) to let them know that I was coming. I provided information about my ancestors to him and they (thankfully) volunteered to take me out to the local cemetery where my ancestors were buried. Cambria is nestled in a small valley, alongside the Duck Creek. At some point in their history, a reservoir was built which now provides a nice lake and city park for the community to gather.
I met up with Jay and Tom (they are unrelated, by the way), and we headed out to the local cemetery. The original cemetery was located on lower ground, but was later moved to higher ground because of flooding. The really amazing part of this cemetery was that of the 1000 or so occupants, about half were named Jones. After some searching, we located the tombstone of my Great Great Grandfather (Evan Jones) who had died in 1859. I verified the dates I had for his birth, etc.. and found his wife’s marker alongside his. It’s always reassuring to see things like this in person.
I really didn’t uncover a great deal of information about my ancestors on this trip, but I did get a better sense of their culture just because so many descendants of the original settlers still live in this area. I highly suggest that if you do have a chance to go back to the original area where your ancestors settled, to do it sooner than later. Thank you Jay Williams, Tom Williams and everyone else in Cambria, Wisconsin. I hope to get back there again soon!