Romany Rais & Rawnie'sThis is a featured page

Romany Rais & Rawnie's - RomanyJibTranscribed by Raeg:

Any one with Romany Genes owes a big thank you, for the foresight of the old Gypsy Scholars or as the old folki called them the Romany Ryes(Rais) and Rawnies
Who at times lived and travelled with the old Romanies on the road and saw their lifestyle and their customs and heard and recorded their Language (Romanes) for without them we would know very much less than we do now. By nature and culture the Romanies were secretive and very guarded of the outsider or as they called them the "gorga/gawje/" this was only natural because of pass persecution by the authorities and people at large . When it was fashionable to be studying the exotic "Gypsy tribes" many scholars followed the Gypsies around the Country recording their secret language and customs and also their family history many genealogies and photos are now secured for future generations by the efforts of these individuals.
Pictured right Dora Yates
One has to always check the data as I have found many mistakes in regard to the family connection's of many of the families,this is to be expected given that it was normal practice then for a particular man to have more than one partner and children by several different mothers! and all at the same time . Also taking into account that the many different accents that the Gypsy spoke as most did not read or write then ,and so the Ryes had to write down what they heard and the way in which it was pronounced so therefor regional dialects affected the words that were recorded but as they never had the resources available to them such as we have today like the on-line Census and other records they did a wonderful job in safe guarding what little of the Romany history that we have.
The history, Photos and various Family Genealogies are held at the University of Liverpool, Special Collections and Archives Title:The Gypsy Collections: Deposited by Robert Andrew Scott Macfie & Gypsy Lore Society .
Which brings us to the Gypsy Lore Society , an international association of persons interested in Gypsy and Traveller Studies, was founded in Great Britain in 1888.

Since 1989 it has been headquartered in the United States.The first period of the society lasted only four years when, in 1892, having published only 3 volumes of the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society, lack of funds paralysed its activities. MacRitchie its founder, though, was determined to revive the Society and, despite the fact that many of the contributors had died, he began in 1906, to discuss with John Sampson reviving the society. And it was Robert Andrew Scott Macfie that they chose to rouse the society once more and a very good choice it turned out to be !
In 1907 the first volume of the JGLS New Series was issued however with the start of the first world war it wained once again and Macfie after four years service in the War found it impossible to start again.
1922 saw the third revival by Messrs J and W Ferguson, this chapter of the Society was a success, continuing for the next fifty-two years until the death of Dora Yates in 1974 that ended what remains as the longest run of the Society which, with Liverpool no longer as its base produced a sporadic fourth series and, in 1977, re-located, re-emerging as the Gypsy Lore Society North American Chapter. The Archive of the Gypsy Lore Society remains at Liverpool University and is a unique testament to the Society and the Gypsyologists who worked so hard to preserve the rich and colourful History of the Romany people.

As well as the Journals themselves, there are also hundreds of scribbled notes and letters of correspondence between the Lorist's which make for fascinating reading ,but be warned ! your eyes had better be good because some of the notes are a nightmare to read !as they have been written down on scraps of paper or note books and often in a hurry , maybe the old folki was talking too fast for the Rai's! also the hand writing of some of the Rai's was so small I had to use a magnifier on some! But I enjoy a challenge and I loved reading the old note's and letter's and gleaned much from them. Below is a short extract as an example of what you can find in the Journals:-

"The Palmers are a posh-rat family that originated about a century ago with the marriage of lydia or Liti Smith,a sister of the famous Yoki Shuri (see Lavo Lil) to Robert Palmer,who is said to be a farmer's son from somewhere near Kingston-on-Thames,wheres Liti's mother Sophia Chilcott,alias Buckland.lived for many years after her husband Elijah Smith was transported. By her gorgio rom,Liti had at least six children:Chrlie,Noah,Lazzie who died unmarried, Hamelen and Sampson who are no more than names to me,and Genti.Charlie, who wedded Georgina, daughter of Arthur and Yuni Lee, has issue Hamelen,Edward,
Bendigo Lydia,Membrance,and Elizabeth.Noah's wife was his cousin Britannia Cooper,daughter of Nelson Cooper,a brother of Leland's friend Mattie,and of Liti's sister Bella; whilst their children's names in the order in which they were recorded from Render Smith, were Nathaniel,Bella,Kesi,Sarah,Charlie and Sampson."

For a taster of the records you can see and also to show how hard to read some are!! and to make sense off here are a couple of scans of documents for you to see whats available at the University of Liverpool and believe me some are far more hard to read as very small scribble !



Transcribed by Sandyb

Charles Godfrey Leland (August 15, 1824 – March 20, 1903) was an American Humorist and folklorist.[Untitled] Born inPhiladelphia Pennsylvania . He was educated at Princeton University and in Europe. Leland worked in journalism, travelled extensively, and became interested in folklore and folk linguistics , publishing books and articles on American and European languages and folk traditions.
In 1848 he attended the university of Sorbonne Paris was involved in the Revolutions - fighting at constructed barricades against the King's soldiers as a captain in the revolution.
On returning to America he passed the bar to become a lawyer,but decided to become a journalist and wrote for several newspapers in America and eventually becoming a editor.
In 1856 he married Eliza Belle * Isabel* Fisher
In 1863 he enlisted in the Union Army and fought in the battle of Gettysburg
In 1869 he returned and travelled widely, eventually settling in London.
In his travels, he made a study of the Gypsies on whom he wrote more than one book. Leland became president of the English Gypsy Lore Society in 1888.
2 books : 1873 The English Gypsies & their language - 1882 The Gypsies

Quote from his book: The English Gypsies & their Language -

Although the valuable and curious works of Mr George Borrow have been in part for more than 20 years before the british public it may still be doubted whether many even on our scholars are aware of the remarkable social and
Philological facts which connected withan immense proportion of out out door population.

So rare is is a knowledge of of Romany among those who are not connected in some way with the Gypsies,that the slightest indication is taken as proof of relationship to them.

Truly the secret of the Romany has been well kept in England,it seems to me when I reflect apart from the Romany Rye or Lavengro- I cannot recall a single novel which the writer has shown familarity with the real life habits or language of the vast majority of that very large class - the Itinerants of the road.

In 1870 when he moved to England and began his life-long study of the Gypsies. In Epping Forest, at Oatlands Park, at the Hampton races, he became intimate with those on the road, and, a dedicated amateur philologist, learned their language, Romany.
With Matty Cooper, the then King of the English Gypsies he went through Hindi and Persian dictionaries writing down every word that Cooper remembered or recognized.
When Cooper proposed to Leland that they should set out “on the drum” together with donkey, cart, and tent, Leland browned his face and hands in order to be dark enough to pass. Cooper enlisted a Gypsy woman to cook and support them by telling fortunes.
By the use of his newly acquired language, Leland could soon scarcely walk two miles without making the acquaintance of some wanderer on the highways.
He would take his staff and sketch-book on a day’s pilgrimage and as he strolled by some grassy nook he would see the gleam of a red garment and find a man of the roads with wife and child. He would sit in their camp, hearing stories and talking familiarly in their language.

He was christened George Henry Borrow on July 17th (having been born on the 5th), 1803, at East Dereham, in Norfolk.
As a boy he signed his name, George Henry Borrow. As a young man of the Byronic age and a translator of Scandinavian literature, he called himself in print, George Olaus Borrow. Romany Rais & Rawnie's - RomanyJib

He knew a Gypsy named Ambrose Smith, and had sworn brotherhood with him as a boy. He wrote about this Gypsy, man and boy, and at first called him, as the manuscripts bear witness, by his real name, though Borrow thought of him in 1842 as Petulengro. In print he was given the name Jasper Petulengro—Petulengro being Gypsy for shoesmith—and as Jasper Petulengro he is now one of the most unforgetable of heroes; the name is the man, and for many Englishmen his form and character have probably created quite a new value for the name of Jasper. Well, Jasper Petulengro lives. Ambrose Smith died in 1878, at the age of seventy-four, after being visited by the late Queen Victoria at Knockenhair Park: he was buried in Dunbar Cemetery
George Borrow was tall (6ft 3) and energetic, but he suffered from manic depression which brought him periods of deep depression which he referred to as 'the horrors'

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