Author Topic: Traveller/Gypsy families - Pratt's from Hertfordshire/Bray's from Kent - help please  (Read 2113 times)

Offline meljade

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Hi,
I'm after some expert help/opinion about possible Gypsy connections regarding a part of my family tree which I have only just discovered after years of looking.  I have only realised there is a specific board for this topic, so feeling hopeful. I'm in Australia so don't know anything about Gypsy history in England.  I have posted links to the topics regarding my family (as relates to there known physical county locations), so to avoid me from doubling up with re-typing information, here they are -

http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=726080.0
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=729788.0
http://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=730735.0

The biggest breakthrough was the discovery of Mary Pratt and her murder in 1876, and now I have a photo of her sitting on the stairs of a Gypsy caravan with friends!  Occupations linked to the Pratt/Bray family include  -
Mary Pratt (nee Bray/Brey baptised Plaxtol 1821) - Chair Caner, Hawkling Pedlar
Aaron Pratt (baptised 1823 Ware Herts)- Itinerant knife, grinder and tinman, working cutler
Charles Pratt (birth date/location unknown married Harriet Miller 1823 Ware Herts) (Aaron's father) - traveller
John Bray (born abt 1789 ? Newton Buschell Devon) (Mary's father) - Chair Maker (originally from Devon moved to Kent prior to 1820 marriage to Mary Smart in Plaxtol)

Specific questions I have -
1) Are these known Gypsy names for these regions? i.e Pratt/Miller in Ware Herts and Bray/Smart in Plaxtol/Maidstone/Gravesend Kent and/or Devon
2) In the early 1800's was travelling distances/moving parishes (i.e from Devon to Kent) usual and why would such a move occur?
3) Listing 'traveller' as occupation - traveller selling/doing what ?
4) What makes someone 'gyspy/romany' as opposed to just someone who is a traveller/hawker for their occupation

Any other general information would be appreciated, I'm trying to read through many threads on this board to get an idea and learn about what it means to be part of this group of people.

Thanks Mel


Offline ballydw

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Re: Traveller/Gypsy families - Pratt's from Hertfordshire/Bray's from Kent - help please
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 15 September 15 14:11 BST (UK) »
www.rtfhs.org.uk may be of interest to you in your research :)

Offline panished

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Re: Traveller/Gypsy families - Pratt's from Hertfordshire/Bray's from Kent - help please
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 15 September 15 21:49 BST (UK) »
helo  Mel

very pleased to meet you, I do hope Australia is keeping you fine, well this is our lucky day, you will get your answers and It'll be the first exam I ever got right,

right then question one,

ok not a clue on that one, but you'll to look  on the Romany genes web site and write to Sue Day, she knows the lot about things down that way,  I'm up the country, and no expert on names ,just tell Sue I sent you, she might moan a bit , but say you just met me,

question two,

that's easy,
people moved about all over , all over the country to, looking for work , seeing relations , on the run for they could be on the rob, i would say only farmers would stay put ,

question three,

real easy one,

nowa days we have people called reps, they go round the place getting business, selling buying, doing the lot really, and you have tradesmen , they to go round doing the work of this day, in the past it was just the same , hawkers travellers, pedlars, all these people were just like the reps and trades people of this time, it does not mean Gipsy , anyone can travel, anyone can do whatever trade in what ever time, it does not mean a thing, it just means you travel, simple as that, most if not all the trades the Gipsys did in the past were more than likely all ready being done when the original ones first landed on these shores, so your answer is everybody was up to all sorts in the past , same as these days, that's just the way it is , in the day, as in back in the day ,I dear say , the ole locals would be able to tell the difference between there own and the Gipsys, its more undercover now, a Romany Gipsy, you wouldn't even know he was there, well smart tidy people ,clever and proud, mind you wouldn't any one who stood on the shoulder of giants,

last question,

they say there was not that many, but in some way you have to come from the few, there be the big ones like the dark Young's, old old people, the mighty Boswells and the Smiths you wouldn't cross, you have the famous Lees who seem to be everywhere, its a small list but there's more,
then you have the names only Gipsy know, there not in many if not no books why be course there Gipsys ,if you listened to some writers you would think Gipsy just went around making an ole fire and chatting to some scholar of the time, many would have threatened them and seen them of, you will never hear of these names, but they all had some thing in common, they all descend from the same people , some direct , most nowadays more than likely ole scrag ends, and nothing at all wrong with that , so you have to be of the few to belong to the many, there will be lots who travel, who descend from travellers, who shear not no bond, fair enough, you can not be a Gipsy if you don't come from the Romany in some way, and to be a full on Romany Gipsy ,well now I wouldn't know now how that would feel, you would have to seek advise elsewhere,

so there you go, I hope I did help you in some way,i do hope you find what you seek ,

michael