Editor of the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland and eminent scholar of gypsy life and culture. Born in Monk Soham (Suffolk, England), the son of a clergyman, Groome was educated in Ipswich and Oxford, although never completed his degree. In 1876, he married a woman of gypsy blood and settled in Edinburgh.
Groome wrote for various encyclopaedias and the Dictionary of National Biography. He is perhaps best remembered for his Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland published between 1882 and 1885 (with a second edition 1892-6 and a third published posthumously), which still remains an important reference work. In 1885, he entered the employment of W. & R. Chambers, the noted Edinburgh publishers, contributing to their sizeable Chamber's Encyclopaedia (1888-92).
Groome was also known as a scholar of the gypsies and their language and he published In Gypsy Tents (1880), Gypsy Folk Tales (1899), together with an edition of Borrow's Lavengro (1900). His other works included A Short Border History (1887) and a novel Kriegspiel (1896).
Groome died in London and is buried next to his parents in Monk Soham churchyard.
A collection of some 300 of his books, manuscripts and notebooks is held by the Boston Athenaeum, one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States.