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Eidio Wyllt - What Was His Birthname?
Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd
Ancestors and Children of the Lord Rhys
                                    WOMEN IN EARLY WELSH PEDIGREES
                                                 By Darrell Wolcott
          In this paper, we are referring to the large body of pedigree manuscripts which were penned in the period 1450-1625 by such antiquarians as Ieuan Brechfa, Gutun Owain, Gruffudd Hiraethog, William Llyn, Lewys Dwnn, Jacob Chaloner, Edward ap Rogers, Thomas ap Ieuan and others.  Most of these now reside in "collections" held by public institutions.  The numbered Peniarth and Harleian manuscripts are typical of this genre of material.
        These ladies are usually mentioned in a pedigree as either wives of cited men or as the mother of some cited person or persons.  The birth name by which a particular daughter is mentioned often varies from one source to another, and in many cases, her name is simply a blank space in the manuscript.
        We suggest that if the pedigree originated with her birth family, the daughter's name is both known and cited correctly.  But when the pedigree was cast by a family into which she married, her correct birth name may not have been known by the author.  Every noble Welsh family DID wish to highlight the bloodlines of the families of the wives their men took, but what was thought important was "who were her people", not "what was her birth name".
        Accordingly, the same lady is often mentioned by conflicting names, and the reader should not assign a great deal of value to the choices these authors made.  She was a daughter of the nobleman, A ap B, and who cares what she was called at birth?  For that matter, the lady might have been called by an affectionate pet name by her parents and siblings rather than her birth name.  Her value to her husband's (and children's) pedigree was actually based on her father's social standing.  So don't fret over whether she was actually Nest or Angharad or Gwenllian.  Think of her primarily as a daughter of A ap B who married C ap D.
         A man in a pedigree may be assigned several daughters, some assigned a birth name and some not.  These may include two or more daughters cited by the same birth name.  One or more marriages may be assigned to each daughter.  What you actually have is a list of men all cited somewhere as having married a daughter of our beginning man.  You cannot be sure how many daughters he had, since any two of the mentioned husbands may have married the same daughter (under two different birth names for her).  There are also cases when a single husband married two sisters, one at a time we should hope. 
          Whatever you choose to call the lady, just be sure you have at least one credible source who agrees with you.  Selecting the name most often cited is probably as "correct" as you will get, but don't be concerned that others might make a different choice.
          Before discussing specifics, it would be well to examine the typical structure of medieval narrative pedigrees.  Their format normally proceeds in the following sequence:
          1.  A specific man is identified as the subject of the pedigree, such as:
             "Adda ap Bleddyn ap Cynwrig ap Dafydd ap Einion", often of some named manor or parish.
         2.  The next statement will relate whatever the author knows about the nuclear family of Adda, perhaps the name of his wife and/or children, such as:
             "Children of Adda were Gruffudd/Hywel/Ithel.  The mother of those was Angharad ferch Llewelyn ap Madog ap Nynnio ap Owain ap Pyll"
         3.  The pedigree will now digress from the family of Adda to relate whatever the author knows about this Angharad beyond the name of her father, such as:
             "The mother of Angharad ferch Llewelyn was Catryn ferch Rhys ap Sandde ap Trahaearn ap Uchdryd"
         4.  If known, the next statement will name the mother of the Llewelyn ap Madog in Angharad's ancestry
         5.  When the author exhausts his knowledge of Angharad's ancestors (and possibly even Catrin's ancestry), he will now tell us what he knows about Adda (his original subject) beyond the names of his wife and children, such as:
             "The mother of Adda ap Bleddyn was Dyddgu ferch Gronwy ap Heilyn ap Iorwerth ap Lewys"
         6.  If the author knows details about Dyddgu's family, he will give her family the same treatment as he did with Angharad.
         7.  The process will continue until we reach the mother of Dafydd ap Einion, or sooner if the author has exhausted his known material about Adda's family.
         You will notice that this boiler-plate format almost never calls a lady the wife of someone, but the mother of that someone's child.  We might question which "fact" the writer is relating: was she perhaps the mother of the named child but not the wife of that child's father, or was she perhaps the wife of the child's father but not the mother of his child?
        Our experience says that NEITHER relationship is certain.  Our finding extends beyond the simple "she was the mother of the child but was never married to the child's father" possibility. There are cases where the cited "mother" not only never slept with the child's father, but also never even knew the child. So why was she cited in a "mother of" clause in that child's pedigree?  Because she WAS married to a man who bore the same name as the child's father.  Purely a case of mistaken identity.  Let's look at an actual case:
         Peniarth Ms 128, 156b includes these statements:
         1.  Dafydd ap John ap Dafydd ap Ieuan ap Gruffudd ap Madog Fychan ap Rhys"
        2.  The mother of Dafydd ap John was Angharad ferch Dafydd ap Madog ap Ieuan ap Madog Llwyd ap Hwfa ap Dafydd ap Cynwrig  (The author apparently did not know this Angharad's mother, so he continued)
       3.  The mother of Dafydd ap Madog ap Ieuan (Angharad's father) was Angharad ferch Ieuan ap Madog Llwyd ap Gruffudd ap Iorwerth Foel……(the statement continues for several more male generations)
      4.  The mother of (this latest) Angharad was Marged ferch Madog ap Iorwerth ap Madog
       Items 1-3 above appear on Bartrum's chart "Blaen Ial" and we have previously [1] dated them as:
                                                                         Iorwerth Foel  1270
  1280  Rhys                    1285  Hwfa                    Gruffudd  1300
              l                                   l                               l
1310 Madog Fychan     1315  Madog Llwyd           Madog Llwyd  1330
              l                                   l                               l
1340  Gruffudd               1345  Ieuan                       Ieuan  1365
              l                                   l                               l
 1370  Ieuan                  1380  Madog=========Angharad  1395
              l                                                   l
 1405  Dafydd                                        Dafydd  1410
              l                                                   l
  1435  John==================Angharad  1445
                       1465  Dafydd
        When we incorporate Item 4 into our chart [2], we find its Marged to be a lady born c. 1340 and clearly NOT the mother of the c. 1395 Angharad:


          In fact, there are NO citations which name either the correct mother of the c. 1395 Angharad, nor the wife of her father.  In searching for such a lady, the author of this pedigree has instead located a lady who married a man with the same name as Angharad's father.  It is clear to us that the author was not trying to name Angharad's mother, but was only citing a lady he THOUGHT was her father's wife.
         We offer one final thought about ladies in Welsh pedigrees.  Do you believe something important is obtained when you cast a pedigree following your descent through an early Welsh "mother"?

[1]  See our previous work on these families in our paper "Dating & Identifying Unfamiliar Welsh Families" at the link below:
[2] There were 2 same-named cousin lines which descended from Rhys Sais I  Their dating is included in our paper "The Ancestry of Owain Glyndwr" at the link below: