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An Up-date for new visitors to this site: After posting two articles a month on Gypsy Genealogy for nearly seven years, Eric is devoting a year to polishing the contents and format of eight Family Tree books he has written on four major Romany families, the Boswells, Bucklands, Lees and Smiths (one book for each and two for the Smiths) and, more briefly on thirty other major families arranged in three books geographically.

Eric Trudgill    -    2 September 2018

An Up-date for new visitors to this site:

After posting two articles a month on Gypsy Genealogy for nearly seven years, Eric is devoting a year to polishing the contents and format of eight Family Tree books he has written on four major Romany families, the Boswells, Bucklands, Lees and Smiths (one book for each and two for the Smiths) and, more briefly on thirty other major families arranged in three books geographically.

All eight books will be published by the Romany and Traveller Family History Society, and all profits will be used to defray the Societyís numerous expenses. The first book, we hope, will appear before Christmas, and in the meantime two pages from each book are being posted here each month in lieu of Ericís two articles. This month, the seventh (after a two month gap), itís the turn of Ten Families of the Home Counties close to London.

TEN MAJOR GYPSY FAMILIES OF THE COUNTIES CLOSE TO LONDON PAGE 17

The Family of Alexander and Beata Draper: Explanations

Alexander and Beata were not always helpful to present-day genealogists. Alexander used the second half of his forename (Saunders) when christening Sibby (Siberina) in 1769, and the first half (Elleck and Alec) when christening Ameneta in 1780 and Spencer in 1784. Beata was recorded as Elizabeth when christening Spencer (although it may be the priest mis-heard her name as Betty and formalized it as Elizabeth), and when Alexander for once used his full name when christening Israel in 1786, Beata (unless sheíd been replaced by a second wife) was recorded as Hannah.

To these four children Iíve added Solest Draper, baptised as the child of unspecified Gypsies in 1775 in Cheddington, Bkm, which is about ten miles south of Newton Longville, Bkm where Sibby had been christened in 1769 and about 16 miles west of Redbourn, Hrt where Ameneta was to be christened in 1780. And Iíve added also the William Draper, husband of Eleanor, who christened a William junior in Newport Pagnell, Bkm in 1803 (about ten miles north of Newton Longville), and an Israel in Newton Blossomville, Bkm in 1808 (about 16 miles from Newton Longville). Israel was surely named after Williamís brother, and two of William juniorís sons, Alexander and Spencer with similarly uncommon forenames, were surely named after Williamís father and brother. Spencer, moreover, married Syberina Draper, granddaughter of Alexander and Beataís Sibby.

With Sibbyís children Iíve added to the two pairs of twins, baptised in 1799 and 1801, Frederick Draper husband of Ann. The Frederick Draper recorded running a dancing booth in various parts of North Hertfordshire with Samuel Draper, one of Sibbyís twins, was surely the father of the fore-mentioned Syberina (baptised in 1827) who married first Spencer Draper, and then in 1848 Joseph Smith, with Wellington Draper (described as Frederickís son in the census) and his wife as her witnesses. And with Williamís children Iíve added, to William junior baptised in 1803 and Israel baptised in 1808, Nelson Draper, father of an Israel (with the forename of Williamís brother and son) baptised in 1836 in Bow Brickhill, Bkm (where Williamís wife was to be buried two years later and part of the small Woburn, Husborne Crawley, Aspley Guise patch that William juniorís children were making theirs).

Where much work remains to be done involves Alexander and Beataís birth-families. Sibbyís husband Righteous Draper was baptised in Oxfordshire in 1775 son of Righteous and [Anna] Maria, so it seems reasonable to assume Alexander and Righteous senior were brothers, and itís worth tracking the second to find the parents of the first. The first thing to note is that, while Alexander was a ďlongĒ traveller, christening children from Buckinghamshire to Essex, Righteous seems to have been a ďshortĒ one. He christened Righteous junior in Rotherfield Peppard, Oxf two miles south west of Henley, Oxf, and Sophia in 1776 in Bix, Oxf two miles north west of Henley, which makes him look like a brother of John Draper, husband of Sarah, and Valentine Draper, husband of Sarah. John christened a daughter in 1773 in Bix and another in 1779 in Watlington, Oxf about six miles north of Bix; and Valentine christened a Martha in 1782 and a Valentine junior in 1789 in Wycombe, Bkm a dozen or so miles from Henley, and then an Ann in Nettlebed, Oxf about one mile north of Bix, which, since Valentine junior seems to have died in the Henley Workhouse in 1860, leaves open whether the Lacey Draper who died in Henley Workhouse and was buried in Bix in 1844, supposedly aged 80, was a son of Valentine or Righteous or even John.

Tracing Righteous to find Alexanderís parents is of course complicated by the tendency of elderly nineteeth century Gypsies to exaggerate their age (Sibby at her death was eighteen years younger than was claimed, and her brothers Spencer and Israel both ten years younger). And tracing Beataís parents is complicated by the fact we canít be sure what forename to look for: was her baptismal name a variant of Beatrice or perhaps Elizabeth or Hannah?

TEN MAJOR GYPSY FAMILIES OF THE COUNTIES CLOSE TO LONDON PAGE 29

Thomas and Rice Beldamís Antecedents: Explanations

Thomas Beldam was possibly a younger brother of the Hannah Beldam who in Hitchin, Hrt 9/5/1786 married the widowed William Boswell with the latterís famous brother Lawrence one of the witnesses. Rice, who claimed to have been born in Hertfordshire about 1776, was Iím sure even without explicit documentation a daughter of Royal and Sarah Hearn, born between their Meshach and Providence baptised in Tring, Hrt in 1772 and 1778 respectively, and born about 16 years before their Macey baptised in Sarratt, Hrt in 1792.

The evidence for Riceís parentage lies partly in her children: her first two were baptised as Providence and Meshach, pretty unusual forenames honouring her siblings; and her son Lewis married Anna Maria Buckland (sister-in-law of Macey Hearn by the latterís first husband Roger Buckland), fathering a Lewis junior who married Macey Hearnís granddaughter Leander. After Rogerís death Macey married Solomon Hearn son of her cousin Norris Hearn, husband of Abigail, and seems to have prompted connections between Riceís Beldam family and Norrisí: Riceís Hannah married Solomonís brother Norris Hearn junior, and Riceís Thomas junior had a daughter Mary who married Meshach Hearn son of Solomonís brother Emmanuel.

The evidence for Riceís parentage lies partly too in her connection with Benjamin Hearn (a late son of Royal or a grandson named after Royalís brother, the father of Norris husband of Abigail). The Benjamin in question married a Seguli Buckland with a sister called Penella: they had a Cinamenta Buckland christened in 1828 (aged three daughter of Seguli) in the presence of Thomas Beldam and Penella Buckland; they had a Myrenny Hearn christened in 1837 daughter of Benjamin and Penella (the priest seems to have muddled mother and aunt); and they had a Providence Buckland (Royal Hearnís daughter still being echoed), born according to her birth certificate in 1838 daughter of Benjamin Hearn and Segel formerly Buckland. Seguliís Cinamenta baptised three Buckland children in Stokenchurch, Oxf 1845-49, where Thomas Beldam senior was buried in 1839 and Rice was to be buried in 1869, and Seguli, Cinamenta, Myrenny and Providence Buckland were themselves buried in Stokenchurch, respectively in 1856, 1848, 1858 and 1848. On top of all this evidence of a connection between Rice Beldam and Benjamin Hearn, Cinamentaís son Onesiphorus Buckland married Martha Beldam daughter of Thomas and Riceís Thomas junior.

Which Buckland family Seguli and Penella came from isnít certain. There doesnít seem room for them as siblings of Roger and Anna Maria Buckland, children of Edward and Diana. But they might be children of Doctor Buckland and Mary Newell: the latter has sometimes been said to have been a Hearn; their territory was close to where we find Seguli; and thereís a gap as yet unplugged between Doctor and Maryís marriage in 1796 and their son Henryís baptism in 1799, which was followed by Lenoís in 1801, Peneleyís in 1803, the short-lived Josephís in 1804 and Timothy Turnitís in 1806. If Seguli and Penella, closely connected to the Beldams, were Doctorís first and fourth children, it might explain how Peneleyís daughter by Joseph Fenner, Matilda/Talitha, came to marry Thomas Beldam, grandson of Thomas and Rice Beldam through their son Thomas, and how Timothy Turnitís daughter Mary came to marry Methusalem Hearn, grandson of Thomas and Rice Beldam through their daughter Hannah.

Copyright © 2018 Eric Trudgill