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  © Copyright  Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout  © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved


Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved

Lee Family


      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

from England.


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  .


Lee Family


Special thanks for permission to use pictures from the  SC&A Collections Liverpool University

And to Pauline Lee and William Lee for personal family photos.

a william young apap lee a Thyrles Lee

William Lee Family

Pauline and her beloved mum

Thyrles Lee

a oliver lee

Oliver Lee, Warcop, Westmorland 1911