European Ancestors – Romani,Travellers & Gypsy’s

Romani Flag

Roma flag Courtesy of Wikipedia

The flag shown here is the flag of the Romani people. It was approved by the representatives of various Romani communities at the first World Romani Congress, held in Orpington, Kent, England in 1971.

Two distinct groups of Ethnics, that are different from each other, whilst exhibiting similar lifestyles.

  • Irish Travellers
  • Romany Gypsy originally from North India who began their migrations to Europe in the 15th Century.

When they arrived from North India, whilst originally having their own surnames, many took surnames, selecting what they heard from the local population, wherever they had stopped. Others took surnames from well respected locals or those with land, hoping that would given them some protection from hostile actions and language. Some married locals, settling into the community, gaining acceptance and eventually overtime  original names disappeared.

North of the border, in Scotland there were examples of nomadic lifestyles as far back as the 12th Century, driven by their work as tinsmiths. Whilst many did work for domestic items, there were a great many opportunities for work by using their skills creating weapons and shields for use in battles. With this moving population there were others who were forced from their homes either through famine, Highland Clearances and of course those that were turned away from their homes during the potato famines. Some Scottish Travellers have the names of various Scottish Clans, perhaps meaning that there were links to the Battle of Culloden (1745).

The Romany traditional language is an Indo-Aryan language and is spoken by approximately 6 million people across Europe and the United States, with the largest concentration living in Turkey, Spain and Romania. Those living in England are often called Gypsies. The use of the old Gaelic by Scottish Traveller’s indicates that some descend from ancient Scots, coupled with words from the dialect of Irish Travellers. Others use the Romani language, likely because of the intermarrying or association with those who were across the border into England.

About Julie Goucher

Genealogist, Author, Presenter, native Guildfordian, avid note taker and journal writer. Lover of Books, Stationery & History; Surnames, Butcher & Orlando One-Name Studies. Pharos Tutor for all One-Name Studies/surname courses as well as Researching Ancestors from Continental Europe.
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