Every genealogist and family historian groans when they find a name like "Smith" or "Jones" in the family tree. It almost automatically means long years of research trying to trace the family, and when a "Jones" is found early in the New World with no real indication of his roots, it is going to have to wait for someone with a lot of time, money, and luck to actually trace back another generation. Since this is an ancestor in the line of President Barack Obama, and really excellent genealogists were not able to go back any further, for the time being Jeffrey Jones is an "end of the line" ancestor .
So, we don't know who Jeffrey Jones's parents were. We don't know where he was born, or the circumstances of his family, or their religion. We know of nothing, really, until he shows up We know of two wives but he is thought to possibly have had as many as four. It is believed but not proven that he lived in Massachusetts before going to Long Island. Beginning in 1658, there are land records for "Geoffrey Jones" so it seems he would have been at least 21 at this time. That is the only real guess we have as to his age.
He was one of the original land patentees in Southold, Long Island, but there are no clear records as to his residence prior to that time. However, we do know that his father in law (one of them), Captain Charles Glover, owned a ship building business and that he was noted in a land record in 1664 as being a ship's carpenter. He sold land likely inherited from his father in law in 1664 and in 1665 was in Elizabethtown, New Jersey. Southold is toward the northern end of Long Island and Elizabethtown is directly west of the southern edge of Long Island, but from what I have read this journey may not have been as simple as it sounds. There were all sorts of currents and sea hazards to deal with on this trip.
Jeffrey (also written as Geoffrey) would live out the rest of his days in Elizabethtown. He took the oath of allegiance there in 1665 and in 1668 was listed as one on the eighty patentees of the town. He was at that time, 1668, approved for a license in a whale fishing business, along with John Ogden Sr., Caleb Carwithy, Jacob Moleyn and William Johnson. The boats were to operate out of Sandy Hook. He also seems to have had an association with Woodbridge, Middlesex County, NJ but it's not clear whether he lived there or possibly just owned property there. He was a landowner with considerable property at one time
We know that he had a son named Edward and daughters Abigail and Mary, who were each mentioned in his will and there were likely other children who died before their father. The will was dated December 21, 1717 and was proved December 31, 1717. Jeffrey was at least 80 years old when he died, and if the 1630 birth date is correct he may have been as much as 87 years old.
There is so much I would like to know about Jeffrey Jones. Beyond the obvious questions I've noted above, I'd love to know more about his involvement in the ship building and whaling industries. Did he ever actually go to sea on a whaling expedition? Where did the whalers go during the late 17th century? What kind of whales were they "fishing"? And if he was strictly a land-lubber, what kind of tools did he use in his job? What size of ship did he build?
I need to give a huge amount of credit for this blog post to a site I found on-line, In Old New York, at familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/l/a/c/Dr-ellsworth-J-La-coste/Book. This researcher has done a phenomenal amount of family research and there is much more information about Jeffrey Jones than I have included here. Most of the other information I found on line simply included some of the information found at the website I mentioned.
The line of descent is:
Jeffrey Jones-possibly Safronia Walter
Mary Jones-Samuel Fitzrandolph
Prudence Fitzrandolph-Shubael Smith
Mary Smith-Jonathan Dunham
Samuel Dunham-Hannah Ruble
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger