James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

The right line?

My Owen research so far has concerned mainly James Owen and his descendants but I know from his marriage records that his father was a farmer, Thomas Owen. It has been suggested that Thomas farmed Holywell farm near Sarnau (Sarney) (see map 1 and more detailed map). The late John Morgan-Owen called on the College of Arms to investigate James's ancestry and they reported that James's parents were Thomas and Ann Owen; an 'Ann Owen' (probably elderly as she had a shaking hand) was a witness to the first of James's marriages in 1829.

However, the late Olwen Hedley, a descendant of James and Susannah’s daughter Sarah, investigated his ancestry. Olwen was assistant librarian at Windsor Castle and a practised researcher who wrote many published books and booklets on historical subjects so we can have confidence in her thoroughness. She considered several possibilities but the one for which she drew up a family tree linked James Owen to the Owens of Porkington (now Brogyntyn), Shropshire. Her tree indicates that James was the son of Thomas Owen who was in turn the son of Arthur Owen, younger brother of William Owen of Porkington (now Brogyntyn) from whom are descended the Lords of Harlech. James’s father definitely was Thomas Owen (possibly 1763-1825) and he was a farmer; this is stated on James's marriage records. It has been suggested that Thomas originally came from Kinnerly in Shropshire. Unfortunately Olwen's research notes did not state her sources concerning James's immediate ancestry so this remains a mystery. Nevertheless I have researched the people on the tree Olwen drew up in the hope that a link with them can be established.

There is not complete agreement amongst the experts on some of the early detail (In several cases the original source was Pedigrees of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire Families by J E Griffith but even within that great tome there are inconsistencies) so you might want to skip the the four pages covering the period pre-1600.

Other evidence in Olwen's files suggest James Owen was a descendant of Baron Lewis Owen who had a large family.

The aim of this section is to set out Olwen's theories and briefly to describe some of the people involved but the reader should always remember that I have not yet found any evidence to establish the parentage of James's father, Thomas Owen.