Tales My Family Told Me: a Romany life by Vivien Cooper

This book, recently published by GypsyGenealogy.org., was inspired by all the family stories told to the author, Vivien Cooper, by her relatives over many years. A direct descendant of the famous Matty Cooper, the ‘Royal Ratcatcher,’ whose family appear in Queen Victoria’s notebooks, Vivien recounts tales both amusing and tragic in this collection. It was, of course, the Gypsy and Traveller oral culture from which she came, and the delight in tale-telling, that ensured these stories were handed down through the generations.

These tales, many of which were originally published over the years in Romany Routes, the journal of the Romany and Traveller Family History Society, are a celebration of a life and a time now almost out of view. Wonderful old photographs of those whose stories are told in these pages are also included here, images as diverse and compelling as the narratives themselves.

Vivien Cooper has inherited the skill of telling a tale, which she does with candour, humour and affection. As a result these stories capture our imagination, for some stir vivid memories, and for most offer a tantalising glimpse of times past.

This book is available only from Amazon, price £14, see their website amazon.co.uk for details. It includes thirty photographs, two in full colour, and twenty-eight in black and white.