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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS FORTY FOUR: Emmanuel and Aquilla Buckland

Eric Trudgill    -    29 December 2016

You might think the family records of Emmanuel Buckland and Aquilla Draper are unusually full. We have their marriage in Castlethorpe, Bucks in 1769, and we have what looks like a complete set of their children’s baptisms 1770-1787, Lucy in Whaddon, Bucks in 1770, Maria in Shalstone, Bucks in 1772, Pleasant in Appleton, Berks in 1774, John in Tackley, Oxf in 1776, Charlotte in Stratton, Wilts in 1778, Sylvia in Garsington, Oxf in 1780, Siverensi in Southill, Beds in 1783, Sarah in Sandy, Beds in 1785 (she was buried there two days later), and Venus in Upper Heyford, Oxf in 1787.

However, it’s easier to list these children than to trace their marriages and offspring. Eighteenth century woman are harder to trace than eighteenth century men, who normally retained their surnames when they married, and Emmanuel and Aquilla seem to have had only one son (called John, an unhelpfully common forename), unless Venus was actually Sylvanus. Luckily the Sylvia recorded in 1780 was a formalization of Sinfy (phonetically closer than the more customary Sophia), and Sinfy Buckland, daughter of Emmanuel, was given to the gypsiologists as his mother by the famous Isaac Heron, son of Edward (Niabai), and her sister Siverensi/Sibberensi as his father’s previous wife.

Isaac gave his Heron half-siblings as Humphrey, Sage (female), Manfield and Edmund, and baptisms have been found for Humphrey in Barford St Michael, Oxf in 1805 (son of Edward and Sabrin Ern) and for Edmund (Edenham son of Edward and Severency Heron) in Easton on the Hill, Northants in 1813, plus legal records in Huntingdonshire for Sage, with Humphrey, Edmund and Siverensi, in 1822, and in Suffolk for Manfield aged 18, with his father Edward, in 1827. Similarly baptisms have been found for Isaac’s elder brother Reynolds in Moulton, Lincs in 1819 (son of Edward and Symphia Hurn) and for Isaac himself in Sutterton, Lincs in 1824 son of Edward and Sinfoin Herne).

If Isaac enabled us to trace Emmanuel and Aquilla’s Sinfy and Siverensi, his Buckland cousins gave the gypsiologists invaluable information about their John and Charlotte. John, they said, married Dick Heron’s daughter Sarah (Edward Niabai’s sister), and sired the Manuel Buckland who married Ravishing Billy Buckland’s daughter Sinfy; and Charlotte, they said, married the famous Barrington Buckland baptised in 1774. For John to be christened in 1776 and have a son marry in 1814 is a tight fit, and for Charlotte to be christened in 1778 and have a definite child christened in 1796 and an apparent child born even earlier is a very tight fit. But I see no reason to doubt the Buckland descendants’ claims.

However, as always, tracing a Gypsy family forward is much easier than tracing it back. Aquilla was a rare forename used at the beginning of the eighteenth century by one family of Drapers, but nobody, I think, has yet connected them with Emmanuel’s wife. We’re closer, but tantalizingly not quite close enough, to establishing the provenance of Emmanuel himself. He was clearly related, as I pointed out last month, to Thomas Buckland, husband of Judith and father of Ted and Ravishing Billy. And he was clearly related also to Timothy Buckland (the first known Dimiti), husband of Elizabeth and father of the fore-mentioned Barrington.

Emmanuel Buckland, husband of Aquilla, may have been an early child, born about 1750, of Thomas (whose known, or at least likely children, were born between about 1757 and 1771) or of Timothy (whose certain children were born between about 1763 and 1774). But Emmanuel looks more like their younger brother: it seems safer to assume Barrington in marrying Charlotte was marrying his first cousin, not his second cousin or his niece, and that Emmanuel was his uncle, not his cousin or brother, married five years before Barrington was born. Still, it may seem different when we discover more data on these Bucklands or connect the present data better.

Copyright © 2016 Eric Trudgill