Cable Car 1975

Cable Car 1975

Friday, October 20, 2017

Announcement to Change Last Name to Difilippo on Italian Sons and Daughters of America

OK. The official announcement will be made on this page.

Two weeks ago I changed from profile name from "Jackie Phillips" to "Jackie Phillips Difilippo." Difilippo is the last name of my paternal grandparents who came from Italy in 1913. I found their records from Ellis Island. They settled in Erie, PA, and started raising a family in 1915.

My original quest was to determine when the last name was changed because no one in the family seemed to remember when it was changed. What I discovered over the last several years of endless questions and ancestry research is that it was never officially changed, just gradually started to be used. My guess that it was gradually changed is a couple of reasons: First, is that it was too difficult to pronounce for most people in small town Erie at that time. Second, was due to the immense anti-immigrant feeling and eventual laws and the desire to fit into the country.

By the first child in 1915, and all following seven children, including my father in 1918, they were all given the name Phillips on their birth records. However, my grandparents never officially changed their name. In fact, I have a record of my grandfather registering for the draft in WWI in 1917 and he wrote and signed Difilippo as his last name.

Jump forward to my birth in 1964 in San Francisco. My last name was Phillips and I never knew anything different. It is vague when I started to know that my grandparents had a different last name, but I do remember seeing a single photo of my dad and his parents and brothers and sisters from the early 1950's that sat on the fireplace mantle, but no one ever talked about it.

Things came to the forefront when my dad passed away in 2006, and a large box of family photos was found in the attic of the house that my parents never showed anyone or acknowledged. There were hundreds of photos of my dad's parents and their relatives and even wedding photos of my grandparents in Italy.

There is a single aunt who is still alive in Erie, PA, and her memory is fading. After my dad's death, I started to quiz her on the last name and anything else she knew. She confirmed the spelling and where they were born, and the dates, but that was about all she knew. She promised to sort through a box of family photos that she hadn't looked at in years.

Since I never married, my last name would still be Difilippo and there you have it. I did decide not to officially and legally change it due to the vast amount of paperwork that would be needed after 53 years, and I still live and work in the SF Bay Area and everyone knows me by Phillips. So, to make some type of correction and publicly acknowledge and accept the name, I was able to change my profile name here. Enjoy!