European Ancestors – Understanding France (38) Romani Research

Courtesy of Wikipedia
Flag adopted 15 Feb 1794

This post is part of a series about genealogy in France. You can read the complete series HERE.

Romani’s are an ethnic group originating from northern India. The number of Romani’s in France could be anywhere between 20,000 and 400,000, likely because being a transient population recording numbers could be tricky and perhaps an element of mistrust, as a result of persecution experienced.

In spoken French, Romani’s are known as:

  • Gitans – family ties to Spain
  • Manouches – family ties to Germany and Italy, where they are known as Sinti and Sinte in Germany and Holland

The French National Gendarmerie has been accused on referring to the Romani’s with the term Minorités Ethniques Non-Sédentarisées (MENS), as a way of administration processing, though this is far from proved, and far from widespread. Furthermore, creating ethnic data is illegal in France.

Departments of France where there are a particular Romani population are: Alsace, Aquitaine, Île-de-France, Languedoc-Roussillon, Lorraine, Midi-Pyrénées, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, and Rhône-Alpes.

The Yeniche People are of a travelling culture, much in the spirit of Scottish and Irish travellers, that are living in Western Europe, across Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as parts of France. Official figures from 2010 show that the Yeniche population in France is 300,000 strong.

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.
This entry was posted in European Ancestors, France, Roma/Gypsies, Understanding France Series. Bookmark the permalink.

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