The Local Story > South West > Devon
Following the Trail
Gypsy and Traveller families have few archives other than their own memories. And the things that feature most prominently are not just places, but people.
Ask most families about their relations and not only will they be able to tell you who their 4th or 5th cousins are, but they will also know all about their long lost ancestors. And many of them will also be able to show you exactly what they looked like. For a people that has no land, family history is perhaps the greatest heritage we have.
One Devon Gypsy woman, however, has used her amazing memory and photograph album to teach people all about Romany history and its firm place in English history. In close cooperation with Devon County Council, Elisabeth Small has revealed the deep history her family has with the county of Devon. A new CD called “Following the Trail” follows Elisabeth’s family deep into the past.
“The resource takes the form of a PowerPoint presentation that can be used as it stands or can be adapted as schools wish,” says Ann Walker of Devon’s Traveller Achievement Service. She worked closely with Elisabeth and Jamie Byron, Devon’s Adviser for history to produce something very memorable for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month 2009.
From recent history and the way local Gypsy families have bought local land and fought in the world wards, it details the lives of 4 generations of the Small family. Following the Trail isn’t just a very personal story but a very local one. And it closely ties the Small family’s history to English history, demonstrating beautifully how Gypsy and Traveller families have always contributed so much. Packed with beautiful images, it should be seen by anyone seeking to deny our place in the English landscape or those wishing to remember it.
Following the Trail can be ordered from:
Devon Traveller Achievement Service
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