Over the course of 30 years of family history research and
specifically Romany History.
There are a few families who stand out and remain in my
memory more than others for one reason or another ,
the Lee family are one such family.
Originally in England one branch of this old Romany clan
moved to Wales and married into amongst others the well
recorded “Abram Wood “ family as well as the also well known
and recorded Lovell family who also moved down into Wales
Said mentioned families being the subjects of much attention
from the Romany Rai's .
John Sampson, Francis Hindes Groome, George Borrow, and
of course not forgetting Augustus John .
Sampson and John's seemed to have more than just Romany
Studies on their minds when the would meet up in Wales and
I would Imagine a few good tales could be told if they ever
wrote a diary of their private time in Wales!.
I first looked at the Lee family as it connected with my
research into the Romany Cooper family,
Righteous Lee having partnered Penny Cooper ,their son
Henry married Alice Wood daughter of William and Ellen ,its
this line that I am now writing about .
From Henry and Alice came William Lee who married
Ada Lock Boswell daughter of Noah Lock and Maria Delia Jones.
Noah lock being the son of Mathew Lock (According to Oral
tradition Mathew changed his name form Boswell to Lock to form
the Lock family) and Memberensi Boswell .
Of course one has to mention one of the most well known members of this family Esmerelda !
Esmeralda daughter of Noah and Maria Delia ,who would gain much fame for her trip to Norway with two of her brothers with her later to be husband Hubert Smith who wrote the book Tent life with English Gipsies in Norway in 1874 , followed by her second marriage to Gypsy Lorist Francis Hindes Groom who was previously married To Britannia Cooper .
This line of Lee and associated families seem to have produced many notable characters for one reason or another, their ability to mix and mingle with any level of society and be equal and at time's more educated and polite ! In books you will read of conversations and tales told by Mathew Wood ,Oliver Lee ,Ithal Lee and of course Clifford Lee being a grandson of Ithal and as Dora yates once said “I have known four generations of Lees, beginning with Clifford's grandfather Ithal in
1908. She still recalled the "light hearted gaiety and profound wisdom" of Ithal Lee.
And I must agree with her! I have had the pleasure through my research into Romany History
of becoming friends with 2 of these Lee descendants ,William son of Thyrles Lee pictured right
(Grt Grandson of Righteous Lee and Penny Copper on his paternal line ,
and Grt Grandson of Mathew Lock and Memberensi Boswell on his maternal line.
Then dear Pauline who is descended from the same line (William is Paulines cousin)
via Wallace brother to Thyrles .
Pauline and William have both inherited the qualities that Dora Yates and Sampson
both noted and no doubt which made this family so interesting and worthy to be documented by
the Rais ,and as such recorded and photographed and thereby recorded in history for ever .
The remark "light hearted gaiety and profound wisdom" fits beautifully along with
kindness and sincerity .