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INTRODUCTION & PREFACE TO THE A TO Z OF GYPSY GENEALOGY BY TERENCE .LEE(part 3)

ERIC OTTO WINSTEDT

 

Winstedt (1880-1955) was a classical scholar and philologist (language scientist) who, while giving the impression that he had great authority, made unsubstantiated allegations of the most heinous nature towards people who could not defend themselves.

He gossiped thoughtlessly, had a poor grasp of names and dates, and got away with character assassination only because he had  been the editor of the JGLS.

 

In JGLS(3)17:89 Winstedt wrote that Lavinia SMITH’s children were ‘by a very near relative’. He goes on to suggest that the

‘very near relative’ was her own father although my research suggests that, of the four children he mentions, the two sons had different fathers whilst one of the two named ‘daughters’ was not even a child of Lavinia. He describes Onesiphorus as ‘certainly’ one of those concerned and yet Sifi’s baptism gives his father as ‘Albino SMITH’. In JGLS(NS)3:225 Thompson alleges that Charles PINFOLD had children by his own daughters, showing that he, too, was naïve about gipsy folklore in which heads, paters, proudly claim all descendants as their own whilst ignoring the brief rôle of the genitor. In the Journal there are countless examples where gossip takes precedence over fact.

 

In JGLS(3)21:151 Winstedt undermines Henry Barney’s account of the funeral of Cinamenta BUCKLAND, as recorded by Percy Manning, in which Winstedt’s calculations are based upon her death ’67 years ago’. For him, the publication of Manning’s book, in 1909, meant that Henry Barney had been only aged 10 in the year of Cinamenta’s burial and was, therefore, too young to have been present. But Henry’s correct age had been 16 and he was indeed a witness to the funeral, as he had claimed. Winstedt said he could not find a record of the burial in the 1842 Stokenchurch BTs, where he said it should have been recorded. This is because his miscalculation had been overlooked. He should have been looking in the year 1848 but he had either misread or poorly written the figure ‘61’ so that he subsequently read it as ‘67’. He had based his argument, criticising Barney, upon his own mathematical error. He had destroyed a person’s credibility even though that person had been truthful.

 

In JGLS(3)1:79 and JGLS(3)23:125 Winstedt mentions ‘Reni’ SMITH but he does not tell the reader that Reni was more commonly known as ‘Selina’. In The Times of 11 March 1918, page 5 col. G, her alleged ‘real’ names is given as ‘Ruth’. This must surely be an oversight considering that his main purpose was to correctly identify people. In JGLS(3)24:63 Winstedt analysed the marriage of Hannah HOUTHIET (18 April 1814 at Minster Lovell OX) and made some astute, but ultimately pointless, observations. He had expected to see Sinfy BUCKLAND as wife of  Emmanuel (Manuel) BUCKLAND but he apparently could not see HOUTHIET as a possible misspelling of  HAZARD.  He did not ‘sound out’ the name. Had he realised this, he might have identified the spouse as either Hannah BUCKLAND, sister of Sinfy, who had several children by William HAZARD or even Ann HAZARD who had married Plato BUCKLAND nearly two years earlier giving her a good reason to distort her name if this was her (‘Ann’ being an alternate for ‘Honor’).

 

To his credit Winstedt eventually admitted, in JGLS(3)27:86, that he had been mystified by names and he did a good editorial job for Thompson and Sampson. While he was editor, from the start of the Third Series {1922-1930}, and for a few years afterwards, the GLS published a rich supply of genealogical data, and, by 1938, when he made his ‘incest’ allegations, he was completing his final year as an influential board member. Despite his face-saving double negatives,  his editing of the research of others is the feature which has contributed most towards the enduring success, albeit in limited circles, of the Journal.

 

 

DORA ESTHER YATES

 

The death of JGLS editor Yates (1879-1974), mentioned in JGLS(3)52, brought an end to the Third Series after which the Journal lost its best features, in particular, its relevance to English and Welsh genealogy. Yates contributed to our close understanding of gipsy character when  she wrote My Gypsy Days.16  and was one of the principal  contributors {1932-1949} to the Scott Macfie Collection which is a disorganised assemblage of newspaper clippings about gipsies. Other main contributors were Henry Thomas Crofton {1873-1880} and Scott Macfie, himself, {1907-1914} who was both editor and secretary {1907-1914}.

 

The vast majority of the clippings are about minor offences, allegedly committed by gipsies, heard in the smaller courts. There are some lengthy letters of interest and much genealogical data. The obituary of Robert Andrew Scott Macfie (1868-1935), ‘A La Mémoire De R.A. Scott Macfie’, appears in JGLS(3)14:47-8. He was editor for a second time {1933-1935} and there is a photograph of him with Winstedt in JGLS(3):34,opp.p.160 which is the concluding page of the obituary written of Winstedt by Gilliat-Smith. Yates includes a photo of herself in her book, opp.p.144.

 

It is necessary to obtain ‘special dispensation’ to view the notes of Dora Yates, at LIV.UNI, which may well have been her wish but it is enough to deter me. When I am ‘on the hunt’ I do not have enough time to obtain special dispensations. John Sampson’s gipsy papers remain unseen for the same reason. Likewise the Brotherton Collection at LDS.UNI although I understand that they have  now relaxed their requirements.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

Let it be known that I do not want my gipsy papers to be owned by LIV.UNI which has allowed Hall’s papers to be mixed up, perhaps even lost, then shamelessly oversold despite much of his work being inadequate for practical purposes. Expect to waste a lot of time in Liverpool and do not expect your reasonable criticisms to be taken seriously. At its Central Library, which includes Merseyside  Record Office, organisation of the list of places is bizarre and almost unusable unless you know a great deal about the region.

 

You are expected to differentiate between a number of churches having the same name. All other record offices file by parish, rather than  individual church.

Part One of the A TO Z took six years to prepare because it lays down the internal rules which will remain consistent throughout Part Two and Part Three. In bp,m,br references, where I have not yet checked the primary source, I will label them in such a way that when doubts are eliminated the corresponding cautions will be deleted. Readers of Part One may well be impatient to see the JGLS although the ‘Memorable Pedigrees’ will be spelt out in full, together with corrections, in Part Three. Copies of the Journal are held at most major libraries, such as Birmingham, and universities, such as Liverpool, as well as The British Library, London. For the present, my intention is to deposit my gipsy papers at the Folklore Library, London.

         

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Sadly Terence Lee passed away in 2014 To me he will always be remembered for his lifetime dedication and outstanding research  and collecting and collating a lifetimes work for the use and benefit of future generations he will I am sure be remembered as the  one  of the best and finest Gypsyoligist. His first books the Smith  Genealogies were the first to cover the main Lineages of the old  family lines  of Smith ,Lee, and the connected families who married into these lines ,some of these lines are well known to researchers of the old families who first settled in the British Isles and some have added as we say " flesh to the bones of a particlar line" but the original lines and material gleaned from the various sources,Newspapers ,JGLS and of course the University of Liverpool Special Collections,has been covered by TL ,of course  newer family history by direct descendants of their own peronal lines  has been collected aand various Newspaper finds etc but the initial source remains the same abeit a few additions.

 

The initial and first lines, remain much the same ,as not much TL missed if any of the old records,the only new information that i have seen over the last 40 or so years is the children from various lines have been extended by direct descendants who of course can fill in the newer personal information ,of course some corrections have been made but very few in the work of TL and his main  Smith and Lee lines all descendants of these lines have TL to  thank for his groundbreaking work , if your a Smith or Lee most of  the hard work has already been done ,if only all lines had this start !