James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Two daughters

Isabel and John had at least two children. Their daughter, Isabel Ellen Roberts was born on 25 November 1852 [Newtown 1852, 4th qt] in China Street, Llanidloes, the street running almost south from the market hall (map 2). Her birth certificate states that at the time John was living in Corris (map 5). Corris in Merionethshire is a village nestling in the narrow steep sided valley of the River Dulais where the Aberdulais Falls had long provided energy for mining from copper to tin but in the mid nineteenth century it was slate-quarrying that lured most people to the area and brought about the building of the Corris Railway which began transporting minerals in 1859.

A second daughter, Catherine Ann Roberts [Newtown 1854 4th qt], was born on 12 November 1854 in Great Oak Street Llanidloes. The mother’s name was given as ‘Isabel Roberts formerly Owens’ on both children’s birth certificates.

Apart from the information on their marriage certificate, on the birth certificates of their children and on the marriage certificate of Victoria, we know very little about John Roberts and, in view of other inconsistencies, even that information cannot be relied upon. If the John Roberts, aged 24, living in Llanidloes in 1851 was the man Isabel married then he might have been the John Roberts, aged thirty-six, who sailed from Liverpool aboard the ‘Emerald Isle’ and arrived in New York on 18 May, 1863. If John did settle in America this could explain why his daughter Isabel Ellen Roberts went to live in Pennsylvania in 1869 though I have not found John on the US censuses. According to Victoria’s marriage certificate, John was a contractor in 1884 but what really became of John Roberts remains a mystery.

For several years all I knew of the family after 1861 was that in 1871 Catherine Ann was living with her aunt, Sarah Ann Shelby. When I did eventually find Isabel Ellen Roberts in the 1870 US census and then her mother in the 1871 Welsh census an intriguing picture emerged.