WIVES AND MOTHERS IN PEDIGREES:
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:
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
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
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:
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: