Yorkshire Chess History



Joseph Jonas











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



14/06/1870, Leith, Midlothian, Scotland



04/07/1946, North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada



Identity of the Chess Player


“J. Jonas” of Leeds cropped up frequently, but without a full forename being given.  There seems only one J. Jonas in Leeds at the time, this J. Jonas’s arrival in and departure from Leeds appear to reflect the playing activity of the chess-player.


Non-Chess Life


The parents of Joseph Jonas were Maurice Jonas (born 1837/38) and Pauline Jonas (née Meyerdorff, 1843/44).  According to the 1901 census both were born in Germany.  They had at least the following ten children, probably all born in Scotland:


Henrietta Jonas

born 1867/68

Emma Jonas

born 1868/69, Scotland

Joseph Jonas

born 14/06/1870, Leith

Rosa/Rosallie Jonas

born 1873/74

Jeanette/Janette Jonas

born 1874/75

Herman Jonas

born 1878/79

Pauline Jonas

born 1881/82, Scotland

Maurice Jonas

born 1882/83

Leopold Jonas

born 1883/84, Scotland

Charles B Jonas

born 1886, Scotland


The 1881 Scottish census found parents Joseph and Maurice, the first six children and a servant living at Broughton House, somewhere in Edinburgh.  10-year-old Jonas was then a scholar.


The 1891 Scottish census found parents Joseph and Maurice, and all ten children living at 38 Barony Street, Edinburgh.  20-year-old Joseph was now a commercial traveller.


In 1891 or 1892 the family moved to Leeds.


White's Directory of Leeds & the Clothing District, 1894, listed M. Jonas & Sons, skin merchant, with business premises at Great Wilson Street, Leeds.  Maurice (senior), Joseph and Herman living at 2 Grosvenor Place, Blackman Lane, Woodhouse, Leeds.


The 1901 census found parents Joseph and Maurice, Emma, Joseph, Herman, Pauline, Leopold, Charles and a servant living at 2 Grosvenor Place, Leeds.  Father Maurice was a skin and metal merchant, as were sons 30-year-old Scottish-born Joseph, Herman and Leopold.  Pauline was a typist clerk.


The marriage of Joseph Jonas to Mary Violet Banfield (born 1875/76, Wales) was registered in the fourth quarter of 1902.  The couple had atleast the following three children:


Richard Jonas

born 1903/04, England

Margaret Jonas

born 1906/07, United States

Hilary Jonas

born 1909/10, Saskatchewan, Canada


In 1905 the couple emigrated to Canada with first-born Richard, and they must have spent some time after that in the United States, in view of the birthplace of Margaret, who the 1916 census recorded as an immigrant into Canada in 1906 rather than 1905.


The 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, listed “44”-year-old, Scottish-born Joseph Jonas, 40-year-old Welsh-born Violet M. Jonas, and the three children.  By occupation Joseph was now a farmer.


At this stage the readily accessible trail runs dry, but for deaths.




The index to deaths in British Columbia, Canada, records that Mary Violet Jonas Mary Violet Jonas died on 19/09/1936, in North Vancouver, and that Joseph Jonas died on 04/071946, also in North Vancouver.




“J. Jonas” was one of the seven of Blackburne’s opponents who drew with him in his 1892 simultaneous display in Leeds.


“J. Jonas (Leeds)” played for Yorkshire in the 1896 Yorkshire v Cheshire match.


“J. Jonas (Leeds)” played for Yorkshire in the 1898 Lancashire v Yorkshire match.


“J. Jonas (Leeds)” played for Yorkshire in the 1899 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


“J. Jonas (Leeds)” played for Yorkshire in the 1900 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


“J. Jonas (Leeds)” played for Yorkshire in the 1901 Yorkshire v Lancashire match.


“J. Jonas” played for Leeds in at least seven Woodhouse Cup matches in 1901-02, and presumably played similar matches in other season before 1905-06 (details not to hand).


He was completely absent from the Leeds Woodhouse Cup team in 1905-06, pointing to him being the Joseph Jonas who emigrated to Canada in 1905.





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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