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My great-grandfather Ted Goodman was born to a Romany family who had been travelling around the country in their vardo (caravan). At some point after his birth in 1904 they decided to settle in New Bradwell, Bucks where they lived in the caravan and started up a scrap metal and horse-dealing business.

Teds parents were Reservoi Smith and Thomas Edward Goodman. Thomas had been born in Blunham, Beds in 1873 to a Butcher/Publicans family and went away with the gypsies after meeting Reservoi and marrying her in Bedford in 1873.

Reservoi Smith was a full Romany travelling gypsy who was born in Forsters Booth in Bucks in 1873. Its been said that she was named Reservoir after being born near a reservoir but the name Rizavoi is actually a true Romany name and it's therefore more likely that she was named after other Romany ancestors and the reservoir story has been made up by descendants over the years.

Reservoi's parents were Shadrach "Shady" Smith, born in around 1840 and Emily Loveridge, another Romany. Shadrachs family are thought to have had a travelling circuit which included Bucks, Northants, Oxon, Beds, Yorks, Gloucs, Worcs and Warks. Emily Loveridge also belonged to a travelling family who had many ties to Worcs and Northants. Towcester in Northants seems to have been a popular stopping-off place and it was here that Shadrach and Emily married in 1866.

Their children, including Reservoi were born around the Bucks and Northants area. They were Isabella (1864), Wisdom (1869), Reservoi (1873), Mary (1874), Shadrack (1878), Sammy (1881) and Emily (1885).

It's believed that Reservoirs father Shadrach Smith was actually registered as John Shadrach Smith, after his father John Smith. John was married to Ann (or Nanny) Byles. Nanny was probably born in Worcestershire and legend has it that she lived to be over 100. Their other children, siblings to Shadrach were Sid, Mary, Rizavoi, Nathan, and Wisdom.

Reservoir Smith Photo
Click on the photo to see a larger version.

The Romani for Smith (or farrier) is Petulengro which is sometimes used as an alternative surname to Smith.

Gypsies began to appear in England in the late 14th century - they were dark-skinned with dark hair and became nicknamed 'Egyptians' after middle-east travellers from the past.

The gypsies came from India but 'upped' and left in the 11th century probably due to persecution. They began to migrate through Afghanistan, Persia and Greece before entering the Balkans and spreading throughout Europe.

Originally called 'Domba' the Hindi for 'the people' this slowly changed to become 'Rom' or 'Roma'. The Romani language slowly developed over the centuries from Hindi incorporating new words from the various countries they travelled.