A journey around my mother - a family of Pughs and Evans in North Wales

The facts are simple, my mother was born in 1915, and, on the face of it, the product of a union between Elizabeth Ann Evans (b1892) and Evan Pugh (b1896). The story is more complicated than that. This book is an attempt to find out more about her and those families. It is trying to find out "who do I think I am?" on my mother's side, within the context of life in North Wales in the 19th and 20th centuries.

A tailor called Evans went from Bryncroes to Anglesey around 1820, 3 generations of tailors later the Evans family had moved but a short distance to Rhiwlas near Bangor and had a daughter Elizabeth Ann Evans.

The Pughs remained stationary within a short distance of Dolgellau, and let their wives come to them. The Pughs were mainly quarrymen. Although Evan Pugh (born 1896) had a mother (Margaret Jenkins b1869) who was the product of a line of Jenkins who had moved from the flannel mills of Llanidloes, via Newtown, Llangollen and Ffestiniog to reach the slate quarries of Dolgellau.

Elizabeth Ann Evans (b1892) for whatever reasons, was working as a servant in the rectory at Talyllyn, and became pregnant by Evan Pugh (b1896). 5 years later these two married. I have been left with more questions than answers, but have written this genealogical journey to get as close to the truth as I can.

The map above shows how the Jenkins and the Pughs got to the quarries of Merioneth, and how the Evans got to Bangor. I appreciate that not all readers will agree with my researching this story, but I wrote it for my own edification. I have not attempted to airbrush history in any way, but to present and interpret the facts. Both social conditions and accepted morality were different in 1800 to 1900 or to 2000, so I do not prejudge anyone, but write this story as the facts have dictated. If anyone believes that the facts are wrong, or that any facts are missing, then please contact me. I claim no monopoly of the truth or its interpretation.

The chart above is my complete family going back several generations via both my mother and my father. My father's line is covered in a separate book, and not deleved into here. It shows my mother, Jane Pugh b1915, then her mother and father, and for each of her parents their mother and father, and so on. Therefore one can see all the protagonists.

This chart above shows the same people with the Pughs are on the left and the Grants on the right. It shows, more or less, a persons social class. The outer rim are great-great-great-grandparents who were born around 1790 (plus or minus 10 years) the next are great-great-grand-parents born 1820 (plus or minus 10 years), the next (my great-grandparents) were born around 1855 (plus or minus 5 years), then my grand-parents born around 1890 and then my parents born around 1915.

Illegitimacy levels were high, of the female 15 ancestors from Wales (the left hand side of the chart above) at least 5 were illegitimate. It seems to have been part of the way of life in Wales at that time. And women, more often then not, did not get married until they were pregnant at best, and already delivered of child at worst.

Life was hard and men lived many fewer years than women, particularly among miners and quarrymen. It was certainly healthier to be an Irish peasant than to be a Welsh quarryman at that time. And in Wales you obviously lived longer if you had toiled as a tailor, rather than a quarryman.

The other question that intrigued me was where they had come from. To that end I am pursuing two different DNA trails

One can then compare the Y-Dna and the mt-Dna of the family with results on world wide data bases, to try to determine our roots way back in time. The mt-Dna has so far shown one person in the USA whose direct female ancestors go back to a woman in Hereford (about 100 miles from my furthest back direct female ancestor Anne Griffiths in Carnarvonshire), another person with direct female ancestors from northern France, another with them from Northern Germany. The way that mt-Dna works is that here is a strong probability that all of us in those groupings share a common female ancestor around 5000 to 10000 years ago, whose descendants then moved to different parts of Europe, and whose mt-Dna is still continuing today.

The Y-dna links that I have have tracked down so far reveal a close 24/25 match with a Rowlands who was born in 1747 in Anglesey. Other links will require more work to track them down.