Tweet of the Day, Oh Dear Edition (Al Smith, sorta kinda, and by the way).

From @LizMair:

For that matter: Al Smith’s paternal grandfather was an Italian: presumably he took the opportunity of Ellis Island to Anglicize his name from ‘Ferrara’ to ‘Smith,’ in much the same way that my great-grandfather thought that ‘Lane’ would be easier on American ears than “O’Laighin*.”

Moe Lane

*Or so official family agitprop would have it.  Unofficial family rumor suggests that changing the name reflected the promise of a future that was: bright; glorious; and above all, untraceable by the British authorities, what with their papers and lists and pictures of men with their names writ beneath.


  • Catseye says:

    Funny how many of us of Irish ancestry had to change the Family name when we got here, isn’t it?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Catseye: indeed, indeed. Although Great-Grandfather MacMillan was no better: he apparently found it… prudent… to go to Canada first, then sort of wander south over the border one day and never go back.

  • Jay says:

    Ah! And here all my ancestor was running from was being named after a pelican ( something like Saeful, if memory serves)

  • MikeCG says:

    One of the Fenian joys of retracing my roots was when my family visited the old Brady homestead in County Caven, where we informed by one Mick Hill, the farmer who by that point owned the property, that back in the earlier 20s the local IRA had conducted training operations on our cousin’s land. Don’t know if any of my direct ancestors were involved in revolutionary activity before coming to America, but apparently republican sympathies was not a thing unheard of in my family.

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