Monday, August 12, 2013

The Theory of Relativity and Spelling

45th Anniversary Bruno Gaetano Society
Sons of Italy
15. November 1953

A discussion began on my (2nd) cousin's Facebook page about how we could be cousins but our family surname is spelled differently. I thought I'd explain that here because I needed a blog topic for today and because, my cousin and I only recently "met." So, PT, this is for you and your sister, too.

Our great-grandfather, Antonio Donato Zeferino Todisco was born in 1855 in the town of Torre Le Nocelle in the province of Avellino in Italy. Proof of the spelling of the name can be found from the cemetery photos on The Genealogy of Torre Le Nocelle blog. Great-grandpa's gravestone is the 39th photo on the page, and the name chiseled in stone is spelled Todisco with an "i".

The major players in our story are the three sons of Antonio Todisco, (the three older gentlemen in the front row of the photograph) .Left to right (my grandfather, your great-uncle) Achille Todisco (b. 1889), then (my great-uncle, your grandfather) Alfred Todesco (b. 1891), and (our great-uncle) Guiseppe "Joe" Todesco (b. 1887). My father was named after Great-uncle Joe.

If the young man, Joseph Todisco, in the front row center looks familiar to you, it's because he is your father's first cousin and is my dad. Your dad and my dad looked a lot alike.  The man to my father's right is his brother, Mario Todisco (my uncle and your first cousin once removed). Since our fathers were first cousins, our relation to each other is second cousin. Your father and I are first cousins once removed. My dad is your first cousin once removed.

Now the spelling of the name. When I asked Dad why his Uncle Alfred's (your grandfather's)  last name was spell differently from ours, I was told:

When Uncle Alfred came to this country and had to sign his name at customs, he made a loopy "i" and dotted it, but the customs officer read it as an "e" and when he recorded it, he spelled Todesco. As an aside our grandfathers, Achille and Alfred, and our great-uncle Joe came to this country through the port of Boston, Massachusetts and not Ellis Island, New York.  If you do a search for Alfred Todesco on the Torre blog, you will find a copy of his WWII Draft Registration card and the family name clearly spelled with an "e".

So, that is how we are related, but spell our family surnames differently.

1 comment:

  1. I got confused after second But it's an interesting story! :)