Israel Hares and Family
in the Census,

by Jeffrey L. Thomas

This page attempts to trace my Hares ancestors in the census from 1841 to 1881. Specifically the returns examine the family of Israel Hares and his wife Mary Ann Collins of Shipham, Somerset, England. Although Israel, born circa 1799, spent the first half of his life in Shipham, he appears there only in the 1841 census, as by 1851 he and his family had emigrated to south Wales. From there we follow Israel's family in Wales as they married and started families of their own, for much of that time in and around the industrial community of Nantyglo in Monmouthshire. We will also look at the 1870 U.S. census in order to continue the family story in America via Israel's son George Hares and his daughter Mary Jane.

1841 Census, Shipham, Somerset, England

Our first glimpse of the family of Israel and Mary Ann Hares comes from the 1841 census, where we find the family living in Shipham, Somerset county, England. The family included Israel (age 40), and Mary (age 45), and their children Hannah (age 15), Mary (age 9), George (age 7), Elizabeth (age 3), and Susannah (age 1). The return shows that Israel was a miner of lead ore, as were other Hares family members living in Shipham. Absent from the family group is oldest son Samuel. Of the 707 individuals in the parish in 1841, 93 carried the surname "Hares," for slightly over 13% of the total parish population.

1851 Census, Brynmawr, Breconshire, Wales

Sometime in the later half of the 1840s, the Hares family moved from Shipham to Brynmawr in Breconshire, Wales. Beginning in the early 19th century, men and their families began pouring into Brynmawr to find work in the region's booming coal and iron industries. By the time the 1851 census was taken, Israel Hares and family had settled on Orchard in Brynmawr. By then the Hares family had added youngest child Jane (Elizabeth Jane), born circa 1845, and son-in-law James Haines, who married daughter Mary Ann. The entire family included Israel (age 52), Mary Ann (age 50), George (age 14), Elizabeth (age 12), Susana (age 9), Jane (age 6), James Haines (age 20), and Mary Ann Haines (age 19). Israel's occupation is described as "Cinder Tipper," while George is listed as an "Iron Miner." Interestingly, daughter Elizabeth is listed as a "Coke Filler," a testament that girls and women did indeed work in the iron and coal industries. James Haines rounds out the working family, listed as a limestone breaker." This would be the last census appearance for son George Hares, because in 1854 he left his native Britain and headed for a new life in the coal fields of Scranton, Pennsylvania.

1861 Census, Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, Wales

Although Israel and Mary Ann and family appear in the next two sets of census returns for 1861 and 1871, both returns inexplicably contain misleading and incorrect information. Nevertheless, it is possible to identify Israel and family in both returns using a telltale combination of family members and ages. By the time of the 1861 census we find that the family had moved from Brynmawr to Aberystruth (parish) in neighboring Monmouthshire, a location that was likely just outside the industrial community of Nantyglo. In the census we find that Israel (61) was living with his wife Mary Ann (51), and their unmarried daughters Elizabeth (29) and Jane (16). Here the family surname is listed as Hayner rather than Hares, with all family members born in "Shipton" rather than "Shipham," Somerset. Living nearby was daughter Mary Ann Haines and her family.

1870 Census, 5th Ward, City of Scranton, Luzerne Co., Pa.

The 1851 census would be the last time we see George in Wales, as by the middle of 1854 he had emigrated to America. His naturalization petition, which is found at the courthouse in Wilkes Barre, Luzerne Co., Pa., states that that George (George Hears) arrived at the port of Philadelphia on June 18, 1854. Although George first set foot in America in Philadelphia, he eventually settled in Hyde Park/Scranton in Lackawanna County Pennsylvania, where he became a coal miner.

After serving his newly adopted country in the Civil War, George returned to Scranton and resumed his life as a miner, and on May 11, 1865 married Elizabeth Williams, daughter of William C. and Mary Williams. The following year on April 11, 1866, George and Elizabeth's only child Mary Jane was born. Unfortunately, less than a year later, on March 8, 1867, George Hares died and was buried in the Washburn Street cemetery in Hyde Park. At this point his cause of death has not been determined, but was likely the result of an accident or illness.

In the 1870 census we find that Elizabeth and her daughter Mary Jane were living with Elizabeth's parents in Hyde Park. Elizabeth's father William is shown as owning real estate valued at $4,500.00, and personal property valued at $1,000.00, an impressive sum for those days. Elizabeth remarried William Morley in 1870, so George's only child, Mary Jane, was raised with her step-father, and half brothers and sisters. In 1886 she married William H. Thomas of Scranton, the son of John J. Thomas and Elizabeth Davies, natives of Brynmawr, Wales.

1871 Census, Nantyglo, Monmouthshire, Wales

In the 1871 census we find Israel Hares and family living in Nantyglo. Included in the family group this time are Israel (69), Mary Ann (70), daughter Elizabeth (29), and a 7 year old Mary Ann Hares, described as a "daughter," although clearly this Mary Ann has to have been a granddaughter or niece. This time, the place of birth for Israel, Mary Ann and Elizabeth is given as Weston, Somerset. It is interesting to note that Mary Ann Hares appears to be listed twice in the 1871 census. She appears with her husband and daughter Elizabeth in Nantyglo, as Mary Ann Hares, and again with daughter Susanna Griffin and her family in the neighboring community of Cwmtillery, as Mary Ann Hairs. Double census listings are not unheard of, because neighboring communities were often enumerated on different dates. This second return tells us that by 1871 daughter Susana had married a man named George Griffin and was the mother of three children, James H., Howard(?) and Mary A. Griffin. Although I have been unable to locate the Griffin family in later UK returns, I find it interesting that there is an exact match with this family in the 1880 census of Pennsylvania. Still, more research is needed to determine whether these two families are one and the same.

1881 Census, Nantyglo, Monmouthshire, Wales - Page 1 & Page 2

Mary Ann Hares died sometime prior to the next census taken in 1881 (possibly in 1880), as in that year we find the 82 year old and widowed Israel Hares living in Aberystruth Parish, Monmouthshire (likely near Nantyglo) with his daughters Mary Ann Haines and Elizabeth and several grandchildren. Once again, there is quite a bit of information packed into this return. First, it appears that Israel has retired by then, as he is listed as a "Late Labourer" in the iron works. The returns also tell us that Israel's wife Mary Ann, and daughter Mary Ann's husband James Haines, died sometime prior to the census being taken, as both are listed as widowed. We also learn that by 1881 daughter Elizabeth married a man named Bassett (John per the 1891 census), and had a 4 year old son John living with her. Also present are Mary Ann's children William and John Haines, who married and remained in Nantyglo through at least the 1901 census.

History of Shipham Parish, from The Heart of Mendip, by Francis A. Knight
Return to the main page at the Hares Family Web Site
Learn more about Israel Hares and family
Learn more about George Hares and family
Return to the main page at the Thomas Family Web Site

Page copyright 2005 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved