Redbone Gypsy Surnames

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gypsyoriginschartA list in progress of Gypsy Surnames collected from various genealogical research studies. The following surnames are common among those Gypsies located in Europe and America among the People Known as Redbone. Common Gypsy Surnames, Great Brittan.

Redbone names are in bold below & are followed by region they are associated with groups of Redbones.

Viccar (Louisiana)- Lovell/Lovel- Frome- Scamps- Simmons (Louisiana)-Fox- Roberts (Virginia)- Nicholls (Virginia)- Gaskin- Smith/Smyth (Virginia)- James (Louisiana)- Yates (Virginia & Alabama)- Shaw- Musson- Copper (Virginia & Alabama)- Neilson/Nelson (Virginia & Louisiana & Texas)- Lee (Mississippi Territory & Louisiana)-Young (Natchez District & Louisiana)-Beaney/Beany- Ripley- Wilson- Locke/Lockes (Carolinas’/Lumbee)- Boucher (Georgia & Louisiana)- Giles- Boswell/s-Wood- Sampson (Virginia & Carolina’s & Louisiana & Texas).

Please also see related articles here and to outside links.

Romanies To Texas

Historic Pathway, Romani Settlers a Free Download pdf by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Gypsies to Louisiana


Romanies began immigrating to the United States in colonial times, with small groups in Virginia and French Louisiana. Larger-scale immigration began in the 1860s, with groups of Romnichal from Britain. The largest number immigrated in the early 20th century, mainly from the Vlax group of Kalderash. Many Romanies also settled in other countries of the Americas.

Many Antique historians mention a tribe by the name of Sigynnae (Tsigani) on various locations in Europe. Early records of itinerant populations from India begin as early as the Sassanid period. Donald Kenrick notes the first recorded presence of Zott in Baghdad in AD 420, Khaneikin in AD 834.[36]

Contemporary scholars have suggested one of the first written references to the Romanies, under the term Atsingani, (derived from the Greek ἀτσίγγανοι – atsinganoi), dates from the Byzantine era during a time of famine in the 9th century. In the year AD 800, Saint Athanasia gave food to “foreigners called the Atsingani” near Thrace. Later, in AD 803, Theophanes the Confessor wrote that Emperor Nikephoros I had the help of the “Atsingani” to put down a riot with their “knowledge of magic”. However, the Atsingani were a Manichean sect that disappeared from chronicles in the 11th century. “Atsinganoi” was used to refer to itinerant fortune tellers, ventriloquists and wizards who visited the Emperor Constantine IX in the year 1054.[37]

The hagiographical text, The Life of St. George the Anchorite, mentions that the “Atsingani” were called on by Constantine to help rid his forests of the wild animals which were killing off his livestock.


The migration of the Romani people through the Middle East and Northern Africa to Europe.

In 1322 a Franciscan monk named Simon Simeonis described people in likeness to the “atsingani” living in Crete and in 1350 Ludolphus of Sudheim mentioned a similar people with a unique language whom he called Mandapolos, a word which some theorize was possibly derived from the Greek word Mantipolos – Μαντιπόλος[38]frenzied” from mantis – μάντις (meaning “prophet, fortune teller“) and poleo – πολέω.

Around 1360, a fiefdom (called the Feudum Acinganorum) was established in Corfu. It mainly used Romani serfs and the Romanies on the island were subservient.[39][40]

By the 14th century, the Romanies had reached the Balkans and Bohemia; by the 15th century, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal; and by the 16th century, Russia, Denmark, Scotland and Sweden.[36] (although DNA evidence from mid-11th century skeletons in Norwich suggest that at least a few individuals may have arrived earlier, perhaps due to Viking enslavement of Romani from the eastern Mediterranean or liaisons with the Varangians[41]).

Some Romanies migrated from Persia through North Africa[citation needed], reaching Europe via Spain in the 15th century[citation needed]. The two currents met in France[citation needed]. Romanies began immigrating to the United States in colonial times, with small groups in Virginia and French Louisiana[citation needed]. Larger-scale immigration began in the 1860s[citation needed], with groups of Romnichal from Britain[citation needed]. The largest number immigrated in the early 20th century, mainly from the Vlax group of Kalderash. Many Romanies also settled in Latin America.

According to historian Norman Davies, a 1378 law passed by the governor of Nauplion in the Greek Peloponnese confirming privileges for the “atsingani” is “the first documented record of Romany Gypsies in Europe”. Similar documents, again representing the Romanies as a group that had been exiled from Egypt, record them reaching Braşov, Transylvania in 1416; Hamburg, Holy Roman Empire in 1418; and Paris in 1427. A chronicler for a Parisian journal described them as dressed in a manner that the Parisians considered shabby, and reports that the Church had them leave town because they practiced palm-reading and fortune-telling.[42]

Their early history shows a mixed reception. Although 1385 marks the first recorded transaction for a Romani slave in Wallachia, they were issued safe conduct by Sigismund of the Holy Roman Empire in 1417.[36] Romanies were ordered expelled from the Meissen region of Germany in 1416, Lucerne in 1471, Milan in 1493, France in 1504, Catalonia in 1512, Sweden in 1525, England in 1530 (see Egyptians Act 1530), and Denmark in 1536.[36] In 1510, any Romani found in Switzerland were ordered to be put to death, with similar rules established in England in 1554, and Denmark in 1589, whereas Portugal began deportations of Romanies to its colonies in 1538.[36]

Later, a 1596 English statute, however, gave Romanies special privileges that other wanderers lacked; France passed a similar law in 1683. Catherine the Great of Russia declared the Romanies “crown slaves” (a status superior to serfs), but also kept them out of certain parts of the capital.[42] In 1595, Ştefan Răzvan overcame his birth into slavery, and became the Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia.[36]

In Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldova, Romanies were enslaved for five centuries, until abolition in the mid-19th century.

In the late 19th century, the Romani culture inspired in their neighbors a wealth of artistic works. Among the most notable works are Carmen and La Vie de Bohème.[42]


In 1758, Maria Theresa of Austria began a program of assimilation to turn Romanies into ujmagyar (new Hungarians). The government built permanent huts to replace mobile tents, forbade travel, and forcefully removed children from their parents to be fostered by non-Romani.[36] By 1894, the majority of Romanies counted in a Hungarian national census were sedentary. In 1830, Romani children in Nordhausen were taken from their families to be fostered by Germans.[36]

Russia also encouraged settlement of all nomads in 1783, and the Polish introduced a settlement law in 1791. Bulgaria and Serbia banned nomadism in the 1880s.[36]

In 1783, racial legislation against Romanies was repealed in the United Kingdom, and a specific “Turnpike Act” was established in 1822 to prevent nomads from camping on the roadside, strengthened in the Highways Act of 1835.[36]


In 1538, the first anti-gypsy legislation was issued in Moravia and Bohemia, which were under Habsburg rule. Three years later, after a series of fires in Prague which were blamed on the gypsies, Ferdinand I ordered Romanies to be expelled. In 1545, the Diet of Augsburg declared that “whoever kills a Gypsy, will be guilty of no murder”. The massive killing spree that resulted prompted the government to eventually step in and “forbid the drowning of Romani women and children”.[43] In 1710, Joseph I ordered “that all adult males were to be hanged without trial, whereas women and young males were to be flogged and banished forever.” In addition, they were to have their right ears cut off in the kingdom of Bohemia and their left ear in Moravia.[44]

In 1530, England issued the Egyptians Act which banned Romanies from entering the country and required those living in the country to leave within 16 days. Failure to do so could result in confiscation of property, imprisonment and deportation. The act was amended with the Egyptians Act 1554, which ordered Romanies to leave the country within a month. Non-complying Romanies were executed. [45]

In 1660, Romanies are prohibited from residence in France by Louis XIV.[46]

In 1685, Portugal deports gypsies to Brasil. [47]