What Are Some of the Most Common Last Names for Gypsy Families?

Some common Romany Gypsy last names include Cooper, Smith, Lee, Boswell, Lovell, Doe, Wood, Young and Heron. Some others include Shaw, Gray and Draper. Some names may appear as variations, such as Lea or Leigh instead of Lee, Shore instead of Shaw and Grey instead of Gray.

It is important to note that these last names do not indicate that the bearers are descendants of Romany Gypsy bloodlines, but they are used by genealogists as one basis for tracing such a lineage.

Romany Gypsies are known to have used at least two names, one of which would survive as one of the conventional last names listed, or similar, and the other of which would be a private name used within Romany kinship groups. Little is known about these private names, but some examples from 16th century Scotland are recorded. These are Baptista, Andree and Faw.

First names among Romany Gypsy populations were typically unusual and uncharacteristic of the area in which they lived. Examples of female first names are Britannia, Cinderella, Tryphena, Urania, Freedom, Ocean, Reservoir and Vancy. Common male names included Goliath, Shadrack, Belcher, Dangerfield, Liberty, Major, Neptune, Silvanus and Vandlo. Genealogists use the presence of such first names in a family tree as further evidence of Romany Gypsy ancestry.