Birth to marriageChurch records show that Isabel Owen was christened on Sunday, 21 August 1831 in Llandysilio, Montgomeryshire (right). In 1841 she was living with her family in Long Bridge Street, Llanidloes, and in 1851 she was a dressmaker living with her family at Club Buildings, Lower Green, Llanidloes (map 2) She was aged nineteen at the time of the census which correlates with her being nine years old in the 1841 census.
The first incongruity I discovered was the location of her marriage. She married in Shropshire on 19 August that same year [Shrewsbury 1851, 3rd qt]. The groom was John Roberts and according to their marriage certificate he was a miner, living in Bangor at the time of their marriage and the son of a farmer, John Roberts. (The 1851 census shows a John Roberts lodging at 27 Great Oak Street, Llanidloes; he was a miner, aged twenty-four, who had been born in Llanarmon, Flintshire.) Isabel’s name was given as Isabella (it was the name she was to use most often) and her marriage certificate stated she was living in Coleham, a district just north of the River Severn, now part of Shrewsbury but it is likely that this address in the parish was given purely to enable her to marry at that church; this was a common practice. Her father was correctly recorded as James Owen, police officer, and the marriage took place at Trinity Church, about half a mile from Coleham. It might have been that she was pregnant. If that was the case the child was never with Isabel in the censuses but then neither was her husband, John. It might have been that Isabel was too young to marry locally and in another location she was able to claim on her marriage certificate that she was ‘of full age’ (i.e. twenty-one) although she was younger. Whether or not one of these is the reason for her marrying elsewhere, the choice of Coleham still has to be explained; it is about 50 miles from Llanidloes.