Americanized surname

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Tomil42
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Americanized surname

Postby Tomil42 » 15 Nov 2009, 01:49

On the 1900 US census, I found an Italian family named COOK. I presume they changed their name to make it sound more American. Any ideas what their Italian surname could have been? I know this could be a needle in a haystack kind of question, but then again there might be some simple answer!

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Cavecreekmommy
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby Cavecreekmommy » 15 Nov 2009, 02:24

I dont' know if this will help but I found this online. Maybe he's from another country before he moved to Italy.

Cook is the English occupational name for the cook, the man who sold cooked meats, or the keeper of an eating house. It is derived from Old English coc = cook. Cooke and Coke are variations.




Tomil42 wrote:On the 1900 US census, I found an Italian family named COOK. I presume they changed their name to make it sound more American. Any ideas what their Italian surname could have been? I know this could be a needle in a haystack kind of question, but then again there might be some simple answer!

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pink67
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby pink67 » 15 Nov 2009, 08:40

Cucco, Cucchi are pretty common italian lastnames too...
Were you able to find the immigration records?
Laura

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Tomil42
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby Tomil42 » 15 Nov 2009, 16:19

Yes, perhaps I can find others in town with a "Cook" sounding name, such as Cucco, Cucarro, etc. Good idea. I don't think they came from anywhere but Italy. I had several uncles who used RICE for Reitano for a few years, then switched back to the Italian surname. I think they must have changed the name AFTER arriving in America, so don't think finding immigration records would be easy. Perhaps I can look at local naturalization records for Cook or such sounding names.
Thanks for the ideas.

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Re: Americanized surname

Postby PeterTimber » 15 Nov 2009, 16:42

Most name changes for arriving Iitalian immigrants occured after entry into the USA as they began to participate in the social fabric, workplace and schools with other immigrants and Americans. Both first and family names were altered based upon nothing more than ease of pronounciation, the concept that anything foreign was inferior and discrimination to a large extent. Italians were among the very first southern europeans to arrive in a hithertofore Nordic/celtic population which gave impetus to negative stereotypes. =Peter=
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby suanj » 15 Nov 2009, 17:03

HI I remembering of a search abt italians in USA, and the last name becoming COOK;but, really, it was CUOCO italian surname...
hoping helpful,
suanj
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Cavecreekmommy
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby Cavecreekmommy » 16 Nov 2009, 20:25

I don't quite understand. Do you mean that Italians arrived in massive amounts after the Nordic/Celts arrived? And do you mean that people associated negative things with Italians and that is why they Americanized their names?

I ask because I never really understood that. Many of my relatives have Italian names but I notice a gradual change in those very names once they came to America and throughout their years in America. I'm confused because I thought people should be proud to be who they are.

Blessings,
Bethany


PeterTimber wrote:Most name changes for arriving Iitalian immigrants occured after entry into the USA as they began to participate in the social fabric, workplace and schools with other immigrants and Americans. Both first and family names were altered based upon nothing more than ease of pronounciation, the concept that anything foreign was inferior and discrimination to a large extent. Italians were among the very first southern europeans to arrive in a hithertofore Nordic/celtic population which gave impetus to negative stereotypes. =Peter=

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LinJ47
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby LinJ47 » 17 Nov 2009, 04:52

HI Bethany,

My paternal great grandfather, Ercole Garbaccio, and his brothers arrived in Boston, Mass in the 1880's. At that time there were more Irish folks in the area than Italians and quite frankly many Irish folks could not pronounce Garbaccio, so they nicknamed them "Garby". The Garbaccio brothers soon learned that nickname helped them obtain work and acceptability, so more and more the nickname stuck. In the next generations of Garbaccios, the nickname, "Garby" became a legalized surname. I grew up with the name Garby and I was always a puzzle to folks because I definitely did not look Irish! LOL!

I think back then immigrants wanted to be a part of their new country. They left their homelands because of poverty and no hope. America offered them just the opposite, so in their gratitude, they assimilated. My Sicilian maternal grandfather who was Giuseppe Rizzo soon became "Joe" Rizzo and was he ever proud of being called just plain Joe!

They never lost their pride or love for their homelands, they just wanted to be a part of their new lands. Very understandable, don't you think?

distinti saluti,
Linda :o)

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Squigy
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby Squigy » 17 Nov 2009, 05:20

I'm not sure if I agree, Linda. :oops: My great great great uncle's teacher pretty much changed his name for him. When he went to school, she asked his name and he said his name was Gennaro, and she said "Oh, those Italian names. We'll just call you Tony". They also had to change their name from D'Andrea to Dandy. My cousin (who goes by D'Andrea) told us she ordered her birth cert. and found she was listed as Dandy.

I think sometimes it was less of them wanting to change their names, more of them being forced to change them to fit in. Maybe I'm wrong, or this might not always be the case but, this is how I see it.
My Italian surnames:

Caserta: Maietta, Rossano, Tessitore, Negro, Peluso, Musone

Campobasso: D'Andrea, Barile

Catanzaro: Fiorelli/Fiorillo, Romito

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Re: Americanized surname

Postby wldspirit » 17 Nov 2009, 06:02

Your both right...there were many many reasons for changing the name, pronunciation, spelling, fitting in with their new country and others who gave them a nick name that stuck....just another mystery to solve when trying to place them on US records... :D

As for teachers.....I fought for years with teacher after teacher who automatically assumed they had the right to call my son Matt.....and each time they would be corrected and informed his name is Matthew, had I wanted to call him Matt, I would of named him Matt and not Matthew!!
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LinJ47
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby LinJ47 » 17 Nov 2009, 06:25

That's so funny that you mention "Tony"! My English/Scottish/German husband is a Tony but on paper he's a Charles Anthony. Throughout school the nuns especially would try to call him Charles or Charlie but never Tony! So perhaps that teacher your great uncle had was just a "pill" to begin with!

Sure there were non Italians who were not happy to see our ancestors arrive here but I can tell you that in my family the surname and first name changes were voluntary. Believe me, in my family the men were no pushovers, if they did not want to change their names they sure would not have allowed anyone to force them! My ancestors were very proud to become Americans, even fighting in WW2 against what was their birth home. Back in those days at least in my family, they focused on looking forward and were grateful to be here. And I am so grateful to them for all the sacrifices they made to give us the wonderful lives we have here in the USA.

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Re: Americanized surname

Postby PeterTimber » 17 Nov 2009, 14:02

when you arrive on a leaky boat unable to speak or understand the languages and are desperate for a job to feed yourself and your family your apt to accept a lot of personal and physical abuse. Being accepted as an equal was hard to come so it was easy as pie to be a "push over". =Peter=
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Cavecreekmommy
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Re: Americanized surname

Postby Cavecreekmommy » 17 Nov 2009, 17:49

Thank you for your answers, everyone. I appreciate it. I guess I just find it a bit sad for the people who "had" to change their names to fit in and for work. And just out of curiosity, is there a reason that the Irish were accepted more than the Italians, or was it just that area? I know growing up in New York there were many ethnic areas.

Thanks,
Bethany

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Re: Americanized surname

Postby PeterTimber » 17 Nov 2009, 18:21

The irish were maltreated much as the Italians except they came right after the English settled here before and after the Revolutionary war and their transition was more dramatic in someways as they had been at war with the the English in Ireland from the 1600's onwards. Since they were here first, followed by the Germans speaking english (Brooklyn accent based upon German immigrants made famous by EAST SIDE KIDS of 1930 film fame and Leo Gorcy lead actor).

When Italians arrived the lower east side of NYC was first occupied by German immigrants in housing stock already old and made way for the Jews and Italians and Chinese as well. The same held true for Boston and Philadelphia, baltimore as well I imagine.

Since the irish spoke english and already were established newly arrived Irish were placed into supervisory positons almost immediately operating transit, communications,construction, law enforcement, government etc etc etc.=Peter=
~Peter~


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