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Sunday, 7 August 2016

Vagrants, Gypsies, Travellers & Strangers in Kent

At the Dartford meeting of NWKFHS today (6-8-2016) Gillian Rickard gave a talk about Vagrants, Gypsies, Travellers & Strangers in Kent and the records to trace them.
Difficult ancestors to trace as they are regularly moving about.

A member asked for the contact details of the Romany and Traveller FHS who are members of the FFHS.
Their web site is www.rtfhs.org.uk.

The other question was 'how do Costermongers fit into this group of people?'. Gillian mentioned that costermongers were generally London based and not Kent.
The FFHS's 'an introduction to Occupations, a preliminary list' by Joyce Culling  gives the meaning 'Costermonger: Itinerant seller of apples and other fruit (from custard a round bulky apple).
The Oxford English Dictionary on historic principles adds that 'Now in London, a man who sells fruit, vegetables, fish etc. in the street from barrow'. 
My ancestor Frank Russell was according to his Obituary in the Daily Mirror of 1916 was  the 'King of the costers'. He had sold fish from a barrow in Woolwich Market. In all the Census he gave a different birth place and I assume he had a dislike for officialdom so when asked by the enumerator where was he born he gave a different answer each time. The myths and legends in the family indicate that he travelled about a lot and at one time had claimed to have been with Sanger's Circus. A truly itinerant seller of fish.

You never know how the topic of the meetings may help your research.


1 comment:

  1. The site also has links to many other sites and resources such as Romany Gypsy Photograph Collection; Tracing Gypsy and Traveller Ancestors in Surrey; Fairgrounds, Circus, Theatre, Travellers;Gypsy Families and many other resources.