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Rebecca Anna Martin/Jones -- My Brick Wall

Rebecca Anna Martin/Jones was my great-grandmother on my mother’s side (my mother’s paternal grandmother). She has been a mysterious person as some documents list the state in which she was born as Illinois while others list Iowa or Kansas. 

What I do know (or think I know):  She was born 25 January 1855, married under the name Rebecca A. Martin to Martin Luther Thornton on 29 November 1877, and had two daughters at the time of her marriage.

Marriage records show Rebecca Martin married Martin L. Thornton in Grand Township, Polk County, Iowa on 29 November 1877. (Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934", database, FamilySearch ( : 8 March 2016), Martin L. Thornton and Rebecca Martin, 1877).

According to my mother, Rebecca had two daughters at the time of her marriage to Martin--Julia and May. Julia later married Tom McDonald and they had a farm on Aurora in Des Moines and May married a William (Roy) Olds. May, in conversations with another researcher, stated both her and her mother were born in Illinois. In both the 1910 and 1920 U.S. census for Western, Knox County, Nebraska, May stated both her and both parents were born in Iowa. May died prior to 22 Jan 1935. (United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 January 2017), May Oldes in household of William H Oldes, Washington, Knox, Nebraska, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 127, sheet 2B, family 39, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 849; FHL microfilm 1,374,862.United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 January 2017), May Olds in household of William A Olds, Western, Knox, Nebraska, United States; citing ED 134, sheet 4A, line 23, family 5, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 994; FHL microfilm 1,820,994.)

Shortly after their marriage, they show up in Kansas on the 1880 U.S. census. The household consisted of Harvey and Clara Chubbick (Martin's sister and brother-in-law), Other's in the house included three-year-old Nora Chubbick, one-year-old George Chubbick, M.L. Thornton, age 25 (relationship to homeowner brother-in-law), Ann Thornton, age 24, May Thornton, 4-year-old niece, and one-year-old Horace Thornton, Rebecca's daughter Julia is not living with them.

Eleven children were born to Rebecca and Martin:  Edward, Alta, Riley, Roy, Albert, Carl, Edna, Irvin Martin, Clifford, William, and an unnamed baby. Her name appears in various forms on birth certificates and marriage licenses for these children:

  • Clifford's marriage record lists her name is listed as Anna Rebecca Jones.
  • Edna, Irvin Martin, and Riley's marriage record lists her name as Anna Jones.
  • Roy's marriage record listed her name as Anna.
  • Carl's marriage record listed her name as Rebecca Jones.
  • Riley listed his mother's name as Rebecca A. Jones on his Social Security application.
  • Edna listed his mother's name as Anna Jones on her Social Security application.
  • The Death Certificate Index for Polk County (1917-1939) lists the folowing for Mother's Maiden Name:
    • Edward Horace:  Anderson (WHAT????)
    • Roy Clinton:  Jones

Since Jones was frequently used as the maiden name for Rebecca Anna, I searched and found a marriage record for a Rebecca A. Jones to John W. Martin on 31 March 1873 in Eddyville, Wapello, Iowa. This timeframe fits perfectly to a previous marriage for Rebecca Anna Martin/Jones as I have found that Julia was born around 1874 and May around 1876. In addition, her marriage on 29 Novemer 1877 in Polk County to Martin Luther Thornton. I now feel confident that her maiden name was Jones. 

What other information I have found:

  • On the 1915 Iowa State Census, Anna states her parents were born in Ohio.
  • The Death Certificate Index for Polk County (1917-1939) lists Rebecca Anna Thornton's mother's maiden name as Johnston. This is new information that may be helpful.
After finding the marriage record for Rebecca A. Jones to John W. Martin in Wapello county in 1873, I thought searching the 1870 census for Wapello County for a family with the surname of Jones seemed the next logical step. So far I haven't been able to find anything. 

Someday I hope to crack this brick wall. Any help/sugestions would be greatly appreciated.


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