Jones was born in Llanuwchllyn, Merioneth (Gwynedd) in 1822 but according to Ceredigion County Council and local knowledge he was born at Yr Aifft, Henfynyw near Aberaeron. After training for the ministry in Carmarthen and London, he emigrated to America and was ordained at Cincinnati. After the death of his father he returned to Wales to follow him as the principal of Bala Congregational College.
His name is closely linked with the attempt to establish a Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina, in the 1860s where Welsh would be the language of religion, government, trade, and education.
Jones is recognised as the first to advocate a political solution to defending Welsh identity and therefore is seen as one of the most significant forerunners of Welsh nationalism.
See also the collections of essays on his life and work, Michael D. Jones a'i Wladfa Gymreig, ed. E. Wyn James and Bill Jones (Llanrwst: Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, 2009).
Dafydd Tudur, 'The Life, Thought and Work of Michael Daniel Jones (1822-1898)', University of Wales, Bangor, PhD thesis, 2006.
E. Wyn James, ‘Michael D. Jones and His Visit to Patagonia in 1882’, in Los Galeses en la Patagonia V, ed. Fernando Coronato & Marcelo Gavirati (Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina: Asociación Punta Cuevas, Asociación Cultural Galesa de Puerto Madryn & Centro de Estudios Históricos y Sociales de Puerto Madryn, 2012. ISBN 978-987-24577-3-0. In English and in Spanish.