Solo Parenting: a brief biography of three widowed parents

Solo Parenting: a brief biography of three widowed parents

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Strictly speaking, this isn’t a specific genealogy post but more an anthology of ancestors who continued to parent despite the death of a spouse or the end of a marriage. 

In modern times, separation and divorce are frequent events; my divorce became legal in March 2020, and I’m raising five children on my own.  Their father is still around, but the vast majority of responsibility for the children is on me.  Throughout my family tree, the majority of solo parents are widowed. 

Ivor Evans (1919 – 1992)

Ivor was born in Pengam, Monmouthshire on 31st March 1919.  The second child of Edward Evans and Maude Bruce, he married Mary Hodges on the 25th February 1956.

During the nine years that followed, they had five children in 1958, 1960, 1963 and twins in 1965.  By the time the twins reached their fifth birthday, Ivor was raising the children alone. 

The years were tough following Mary’s death, but Ivor worked hard to make sure his children needed nothing.  Still living on the same street he was born on, he had his Mum, and other family members close. 

The children look back at their childhoods with happiness.  Despite the loss of their Mum, they knew their Dad was always there for them.

Margaret Williams (1878 – 1953)

Margaret was born in 1878 in Bristol, Gloucestershire.  Her early life, at this point, is a mystery to me. Still, I do know she married Edgar Samuel Tranter in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire during the second quarter of 1898. 

By 2nd April 1911, Margaret was solo parenting six young children.  Edgar had died in a mining accident a year earlier, before their youngest child, Edgar William Charles Tranter, was born five months later. 

For a few years, Margaret raised the children alone, before marrying David Welch in the first quarter of 1915.    

Laura Roberts (1836 – 1906)

Laura was born into the slate mining community of Trawsfynydd, Merionethshire to Robert Roberts.  She married agricultural labourer and the subject of my Evans brick wall series, Evan Evans, on 23rd October 1862. 

Laura and Evan had four, possibly five, strapping sons before tragedy struck on 24th May 1875.  Evan slipped on a bridge at Cwmorthin Slate Quarry.  Their youngest child was just three years old.

Laura never remarried and continued to live in Festiniog, raising her sons.  The oldest, Richard, was the first to leave home in the 1880s. 

This post is part of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.