Who Were They? – Part Three

I hope I eventually find out who they were.  I’ve been reviewing the steps I’ve already taken and thinking of the family folklore that’s been handed down.

For some reason, I keep thinking about my great grand-father, David Brazille Plunk, saying that he thought his parents were “some kind of show people” because they travelled a lot and he remembered “staying in rooms at night” while his parents went out.

David was born 1879/80 Arkansas, before birth certificates, and without knowing a surname, or a location, I won’t be able to find him in other records.

So, what kind of “show people” were there during this time period?

Vaudeville was around during the early 1880’s.  There was a member of the Plunk family that was a knife thrower at the Lyric Theater in Oklahoma City, OK.

Revival meetings.  Not really considered a “show”, but would be a reason for traveling and being out at night.  There was a Niswonger that was a traveling evangelist who was also a famous chalk artist.

Circus.  There were quite a few small circus groups traveling the country during this time period.

There are ways to research participants of all these genres, if you know who you’re looking for.  But, I have been looking, using the surnames from DNA tests as a base.

There is another group of travelers that I was reading about last night.  Every time I think of this group I hear Cher singing in my head.  There are even some TV reality shows airing now.

Chicanere.  I found an article, Wayfaring Stranger, by Linda Griggs.  She says this group of people are also called Black Dutch or German Gypsies.  Her article has a lot of interesting information.  But what peaked my curiosity is the fact that they are German, they are travelers, and they started immigrating to the States about the same time the other Palentine immigrants came.

I was surprised to learn that Gypsies often have two names.  One for private use within the family and the other for public use as in business and signing legal documents.  From what I understand, the private, family name, is logically their name, but for public use, they used a surname that was common in the area in which they lived.  An example would be a private, family name, of Linda Jones, but in conducting business or signing a legal document, she would be Linda Smith.

That makes me wonder about the family folklore that David’s biological name was Smith, yet, as of today, there has not been a YDNA match to the name Smith.  Could I have stumbled upon another clue?

A lot of possibilities and the search for who they were continues.

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