At Teynsham in Kent two Gypsies, Elgani and Frederick Lover (sic), baptised their daughter with her mother’s name on 15th July 1759. In fact they were Lovells, and given the mother’s unusual first name, she may have been a Stanley before her union, since the name Algenny was popular amongst the Stanley tribe. The same couple baptised another daughter, Catherine, at Croydon St. John, Surrey, on 11th October 1761.
At the age of 19, on 11th January 1779, Algenny/Elgani Lovell married Elisha White at Mangotsfield St. James, in Gloucestershire. Elisha often used the alternate name of Cooper, and the couple’s first child, Robert, was baptised with this surname in Somerset, at Rode St. Lawrence, in 1780. A daughter, Lucretia, was baptised four years later at Camberwell, in Surrey, but with the surname White.
In 1780, however, before the advent of little Lucretia, Algenny White appears in a removal record, where her name is listed as ‘Elganah, wife of Elisha, who has gone from her.’ Apprehended at Sparsholt, Southamptonshire, she was removed to Odstock, Wiltshire, on 29th September. In fact, Elisha, as Elijah White, together with several other ‘vagrants,’ had been apprehended in March 1780, so his absence from his little family had not been from choice. Nor was Algenny White alone, with her were Henry and Susannah (almost certainly Siberania) Cooper/White, Thomas and Elizabeth Miller and Mary Clark(e), wife of Robert, all removed to Odstock and all, presumably, related in one way or another.
Ten years pass before the couple again appear in a removal record of 1790, when they are travelling in a family group. Elisha is recorded here as a Cooper, with his wife Elkannah (sic) and their two children, together with Penelope Cooper, a widow, her six children and a Joseph and Charles Cooper. It is the middle of November and they are being moved from Bedminster, in Somerset, to Warminster, Wiltshire.
Whilst Charles Cooper, Penelope’s husband, had claimed settlement at Warminster, Penelope, and also Elisha’s wife, Algenny, claimed Bromley, in Kent, as home territory. And, since they were both Lovells before marriage, it is likely that they were related in some way. Penelope may have been an aunt or a cousin, having been born 18 years before Algenny, in 1741, and baptised as Panella Lovewell, the daughter of William and Mary. Is there another connection? Could Algenny’s husband, Elisha, be the son of the widowed Penelope? Certainly one son, Richard, who was born c1763, had already formed a union, and was probably the Richard White/Cooper who partnered Amelia/Melissa/Milly Stanley, with whom he had four children: Rhoda, named for her sister, Rebecca, Talenty and Onslow/Anslow. (After his wife’s death Richard wed her younger sister, Rhoda, and had two more offspring: Eleazer/Esau and Vashti.)
Penelope Cooper has herself made an appearance in the removal records of 1780, although not travelling with Elisha and Algenny at the time. Penelope’s name was rendered as Hengeletta (almost certainly a corruption of the pet form of Penelope used amongst the Gypsy population of Elepheletta), with her husband Charles, and two children, Ambrose, 2, who had been baptised on 1st March 1778 at Warminster, Wiltshire, son of Thos (sic) and Penelope, and Ciberina/Siberina, 20 weeks, who had been baptised at Rode St. Lawrence on 4th June 1780, when they were apprehended in Romsey, Hampshire and sent to Warminster on 27th October 1780. By 1780 Penelope was, of course, 39 years of age, and had probably been bearing children for some 20 years, including Richard and probably Elisha, possibly the Joseph and Charles mentioned in the 1790 removal record, as well as Sarah, baptised at Bentworth, Hampshire on 2nd February 1772; William, born c1774; Sophia, born c1776; Ambrose and Ciberina/Siberina. There would be one more known child – Trinetta, born c1782.
Algenny, wife of Elisha, was to make a final appearance in a removal record in December 1791, as Elgainey White, when she claims to be a widow, and is sent, with her two children, from Exeter, Devon, to Bromley, Kent – the place of birth not of her husband but, now that she is widowed, that of her own.