It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.


Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.


The Travelers (Travellers?)

page: 1
<<   2 >>

log in


posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 01:15 PM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

As a boy growing up in the Appalachian Mountains, I heard many old tales, as was the custom of that area in those days. Some of these revolved around an Irish group known as "Travelers".

Supposedly, the founder of the group/clan was a tinker who helped fashion the nails for the cross on which Jesus was crucified. According to this legend, Christ cursed him to wander the earth until his return, and to never have a true home. (The wandering Jew?)

*Also told was that the story of Tom Dooley, of ballad fame,found here, was about a Traveler. In the version I heard as a child, Tom didn't kill Laura Foster, but she was instead killed by members of his clan because it was forbidden to marry an outsider. He claimed innocence at his trial, but refused to talk about anyone else who might have been involved.

Somehow, these people ended up settling in Ireland, perhaps very early in history. There are some questions as to whether they are actually Irish, or a genetically different group. It seems that they have a higher profile in the UK than in the States.

Many Travelers still live in Ireland, but it seems some came to America early in our history, and according to Wekipedia, about 7000 are still living on the east coast in the Carolinas and Georgia. Often associated with fraud and minor con games, much like the Roma (Gypsy) people. They speak "Cant" or "Gamin" and use various signs and symbols to communicate, and like the Roma, try to skirt the laws and live "off the radar" as much as possible.

I am interested in any other references or books on these folks that might be available. Also, while I doubt any traveler would respond here, I would be interested in information on the secret signs and symbols used, as it may have bearing on an old treasure tale I heard long ago. (You can look up the story under "Beale Code", if you're interested.)

As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 04:10 PM
Interesting-- I had no idea there was a Traveller colony in GA/SC!!

As an Irishman, I can tell you what I know. The so-called Irish Traveller class (AKA tinkers, itinerants, and many derogatory names) is something of a stain on the Irish psyche, because this demographically significant group suffers extreme social exclusion. As a group, they live shorter lives, endure shabby living conditions, are under-educated, find it difficult to get jobs, and are generally shunned socially here by 'settled' people.

They don't seem to be gypsies in the conventional sense: that is to say, they are apparently not descended from the Egyptian gypsies that are said to have come to Europe with the Moorish invasion of Spain. Irish travellers should not be confused with the Romanie.

The theory I have heard most often regarding the Travellers' roots is that they were a group of small croppers who were displaced at the time of the Irish Famine (1840's). Landless, they took to wandering and scavenging, and never returned to the settled life. The tin-fixing skill was once the preserve of the Travellers (AKA Tinkers), and Tinkers are said to have roamed the country fixing people's pots and pans, implements and so on. But with the advent of mass-production, sadly the commercial viability of this skill waned.

The stereotypical Traveller will marry young, have a very large family, be very religious (Catholic, obviously), and 'enjoy a drink'. They have a distinctive accent and a very strong sense of community amongst themselves.

Brad Pitt played a 'Pikey' in the film Snatch-- he did a decent job with the accent and mannerisms too, I have to say.

[edit on 15-11-2008 by eniac]

posted on Nov, 15 2008 @ 07:04 PM
reply to post by eniac

Thank you. Any and all information, at this point is helpful.

I didn't mean to make it appears as if there should be in confusion of Travelers with the Roma people. It's just that in the old tales, they were described in much the same way, having a rootless lifestyle.

And yes, there does seem to be a number of these folks in the American States, though it seems they tend to downplay it somewhat, which is to be expected.

Could you recommend any online history, or books about these folks? Especially any that might concern symbols, signs, or words and phrases used commonly?

posted on Nov, 16 2008 @ 12:14 PM
Just a bump in hopes when I get back tonight, I'll find a lot of wonderful links to information.

Thanks guys.

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 09:44 AM
The fact that I couldnt find anything on them nor know anything about them shows that there is an actual secret here.

If anyone else knows about the Travellers, please share.

[edit on 17-11-2008 by Skyfloating]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:00 AM

Egyptian gypsies that are said to have come to Europe with the Moorish invasion of Spain.

There are many theories of where the "gypsies" came from - but it is generally accepted that they did NOT come from Egypt.

As for secret signs and language I can tell you that the Roma do have such a thing - If you think about it it makes sense to be able to communicate in the language of your surrounding and to have a language which only your tribe can understand.

The Irish travellers are generally accepted amongst the Rom as a seperate tribe. I know that my uncle ( We are Jenisch - which is the swiss branch of Rom) married an Irish traveller and it didn't cause an uproar ( as marrying outside of the tribe can and does ). His wife died 4 years ago but I'll ask him more about it next time I see him.

Next time I communicate with Dr. Hounker ( a professor of history who has done extensive studies of the nomadic people of Europe ) I will ask him specifically about the Irish Travellers as w ell and send you an message with any info I get.

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:01 AM
there's a fair bit of information out there, try using instead of and filtering it to ireland, might be easier. here's a few links.

i've heard that there's a traveler community in the states but i think they behave as the community does here or in the UK so it should all apply. they are absolutely a secret society, in the strictest sence, but not the world domination types, unless someone gives them half a chance. they don't trust settled people, often with good reason, and don't particularly share their values or interests.

they have their own language, as you mentioned, and they do have some signs, but i believe, am led to believe, they're not a set system but a way of communicating with allies when doing business, so the meaning is between partners, not generally understood.

i like them myself, generally speaking, but thats probably because i like the whole "don't give a flying f*** what you think" attitude they uasually have. i wouldn't mess with them though.

[edit on 17/11/08 by pieman]

[edit on 17/11/08 by pieman]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:18 AM
roots web geneology

a book reference

Google booksOne of these mentions the language you are looking for. The Atlantic Monthly.

[edit on 17-11-2008 by seagrass]

[edit on 17-11-2008 by seagrass]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:31 AM
The following is my opinion as a member participating in this discussion.

Merigold, pieman, and seagrass, thank you very much. I was sure someone knew more about these folks than I did, and had something better than the page found in Wikipedia.

I'm sure some branch of these people did come to America, at some point. But it seems they don't attract much attention to their roots. (Maybe they all became "roadies" for rock bands, and are hiding in plain sight.

At least I have more to go on now.


As an ATS Staff Member, I will not moderate in threads such as this where I have participated as a member.

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:32 AM
folk tales
Shelta Thari seems to be what the language is called..

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:40 AM
okay, i found something like a lexicon for shelta, to be fair i think it looks quite like the irish language but i don't think this lexicon is dealing with the common language. i'll keep going and see if i can find anything else.

the website generally seems to be fairly interesting from the OP's point of view as it is an american traveler's.

EDIT there isn't much on the language out there, it seems, i haven't found anything else. i'll ask one but i don't expect i'll get much information of use that way but i'll report back if i do. i'll also ask about plans for world domination on the off chance, might require a little greasing of the wheels, but i'm sure ATS has the funds.

[edit on 17/11/08 by pieman]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 10:48 AM
here ya go NG.. I think this may have some of what you are looking for...signs symbols and omens
Gypsy Americans

[edit on 17-11-2008 by seagrass]

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 11:22 AM
My knowledge of the tinkers is slim. I don't believe they have any cultural or genetic ties to the Rom, but it WOULD be possible... After all, the Roman Empire made it all the way to the UK, so all sorts of european genes could be spread just about anywhere...

As far as I know, the only tinker I ever met was a member of The Fureys. The Furey brothers come from Traveller stock.

posted on Nov, 17 2008 @ 11:54 AM
Wonderful links, guys. I knew in my heart that ATSers would have information on this group.

Though you have to admit, these people do present a closed, or secret, society, in the truest sense of the word. The Roma and the Travelers keep a pretty close guard on the details of their lifestyles, past and present.

And it's interesting how these two groups of "road warriors" have evolved. Even now, their historical roots are hard to find.

ATSers rock!

posted on Nov, 3 2009 @ 11:02 PM
reply to post by eniac

I have tried to write this 3 times and I keep losing it. So...short and sweet! The Melungeon people of Tennessee. I found so much info from them to help my search. Brent Kennedy wrote a wonderful book about them. They are even on wikipedia.I have unsubstantiated theories, much related to language, customs, physical characteristics and the fact that so much of what they said made sense and helped me to finally get a fit to my heritage. It was magical! Good Luck. I will look back from time to time to see any updates. The people who seem to be so sure that Romani has no connection to Irish Travelers should continue to research. The Romani traveled everywhere. There could be connections to most any group of people. Good luck to you.

posted on Nov, 3 2009 @ 11:57 PM
reply to post by angelsofolde

Growing up in West Virginia in the hills, I knew some of these people..

Here are some links:

A Brief Overview of the Melungeons



Lots more if you Google it...


posted on Nov, 4 2009 @ 01:43 AM
The travelers I experienced as a small child were traveling trades men.

One would come by my grandma's house once or twice a year and sharpen her knives and scissors and even needles.

He would knock on the door and tell all the house wives he would be by the next day, so they could get their items together.

They mostly stayed on state roads and visited small towns. Places where folks didn't have a lot of money and kept things forever.

They would have a small trailer they pulled and usually found a friendly farmer who would let them park at night for exchange for sharpening their tools etc.

I asked about him one time and she said he was a Irish traveler.

Thought it was a cool occupation if it allowed you to travel around and see the country.

Strange I had not thought about that in 45 years.

I think a lot of them worked in carnivals also. At least in the mid west.
Remember hearing a lot of Irish accents there when I visited a carnival.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 01:55 PM
There are a couple portrayals of Travellers in the mainstream media:

There was the 1997 Bill Paxton movie, Traveller.

There was also the 2007-2008 Eddie Izzard FX TV series The Riches.

There was also a documentary made a few years back that first made me aware of the Travellers in the US. I can't remember the name, but it was based around child beauty pagents used as ways the clan would marry off their young daughters. I don't remember where I saw it, probably on cable, but it was probably sometime in the late '80s or early '90s.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 03:13 PM
reply to post by larphillips

Their history in West Virginia is rich and long, but I fear they suffered some fairly massive racism as one could expect from the residents of West Virginia.. (Not approve mind everyone, just expect)

There are families that fit the facial features and skin tone of melungeons living back in the hills that had no electricity until the mid-70's; still carting water to the house and using an outhouse...

It is almost as if time has passed them by.

I still go into the hills from time to time, when I have a free vacation and visit some of them. Funny that after all these years I am still not considered a stranger. Many of their children never go to school at all and there is no record of them. Born at home, raised to work the fields and grow crops, uneducated and basically short lived as their health standards would shock many of you.

Many people find it hard to believe that there are entire cultures that live outside of what we consider civilization, but I have lived among them and know it to be factual. In fact, other than going to school, I lived the same way for many years. We had electric but used a well until I was 10 and no inside bathroom until I came home form the Marines and paid to have one installed for my Granny.

Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction...


posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 03:39 PM
I have a very large community of Travellers about a mile from where I live. The community has been there as long as I can remember. I went to school with Traveller kid's, They wern't the type to be messed with and to be honest as a kid I was pretty scared of them.

new topics

top topics

<<   2 >>

log in