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"Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
08-18-2014, 05:46 PM
Post: #1
"Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Hello Everyone,

I just happened to come across a very interesting bit of information on Facebook. I was doing some research on the Booth's living relatives, when I came across a page on Facebook under "Booth Family History". I started reading all of the family's posts and then I read something I couldn't believe. I'm sorry I don't know how to upload this info from Facebook, but this is what one of the " Booth" family members said_

"Many people ask if we are related to John Wilkes Booth. We are not. The reason we are not is that he is not actually a Booth. He comes from a long line of Spanish Jews in England that were Shakespearian actors. Their last name was BOTHA. Back in those days, Booth was a name of nobility so they changed their last name to boost their popularity."

Can this be true??? Has anyone on this forum ever heard of this? I really wonder if the person who wrote this statement is correct????
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08-18-2014, 07:59 PM (This post was last modified: 08-18-2014 07:59 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #2
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
One who could tell you more (although I believe there are some) is Wild Bill Richter as he wrote similar in his "Last Confederate Heroes" - that "Booth" was originally Portuguese "Bota", and the respective ancestor a Jew.
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08-18-2014, 08:11 PM
Post: #3
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Thanks Eva. I have never heard of this. I must be living under a rock! I hope Wild Bill Richter can chime in!Smile
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08-19-2014, 08:04 AM
Post: #4
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Am I the only one who has never heard of this with the Booth family?Huh
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08-19-2014, 08:11 AM
Post: #5
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
I have heard that Booth's descendants (or the descendants of Richard Booth) were Jewish and that they were Goldsmiths - seems I believe, that this was in Bryant's Great American Myth?

"The Past is a foreign country...they do things differently there" - L. P. Hartley
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08-19-2014, 08:48 AM
Post: #6
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
I believe this lineage is given in several books, but I don't remember references to the Portuguese ancestors being Shakespearean actors. Like Betty, I thought they were silversmiths or goldsmiths. What does Nora Titone say in My Thoughts Be Bloody or Stanley Kimmel in Mad Booths of Maryland.

By the end of the year, what I suspect may be the bible of Booth history should be on the stands -- Fortune's Fool by Dr. Terry Alford. I'll see what he has to say.
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08-19-2014, 09:32 AM
Post: #7
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
How far back in time are you going in regards to Booth's ancestory? 1750's or earlier?

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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08-19-2014, 10:13 AM
Post: #8
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Here are my sources for Last Confed Heroes: Gene Smith, American Gothic: The Story of America's Legendary Theatrical Family--Junius, Edwin, and John Wilkes Booth (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), 17-43; and Stanley Kimmel, Mad Booths of Maryland, 340-41; David Miller DeWitt, The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Macmillan, 1909), 1-2, George Alfred Townsend, The Life, Crime, and Capture of John Wilkes Booth (New York: ***** & Fitzgerald, 1865), 19-27; Francis Wilson, John Wilkes Booth, 1-25.

Sorry, I only have chapter notes, not more specific than that.
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08-19-2014, 11:48 AM
Post: #9
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Thanks. I was hoping for a little more details.
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08-19-2014, 03:42 PM
Post: #10
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
(08-19-2014 08:48 AM)L Verge Wrote:  By the end of the year, what I suspect may be the bible of Booth history should be on the stands -- Fortune's Fool by Dr. Terry Alford. I'll see what he has to say.

I can't wait!
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08-19-2014, 03:45 PM
Post: #11
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
(08-19-2014 08:48 AM)L Verge Wrote:  I believe this lineage is given in several books, but I don't remember references to the Portuguese ancestors being Shakespearean actors. Like Betty, I thought they were silversmiths or goldsmiths. What does Nora Titone say in My Thoughts Be Bloody or Stanley Kimmel in Mad Booths of Maryland.

By the end of the year, what I suspect may be the bible of Booth history should be on the stands -- Fortune's Fool by Dr. Terry Alford. I'll see what he has to say.

I'm not sure that silversmith as an occupation goes any further back than Junius The Elder's grandfather, John Booth.
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08-20-2014, 02:59 AM
Post: #12
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Found this from "The Mad Booths of Maryland":
"John Booth, a Jewish silversmith whose ancestors had been exiled from Portugal because of their radical political views. In London the refugees had continued their trade and free thinking, and John had married Wilkes' cousin. This Wilkes was the 'celebrated agitator John Wilkes of Westminster, London...John Wilkes Booth's father was Junius Brutus Booth."
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08-20-2014, 09:15 AM
Post: #13
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Here's what Terry Alford responded to me: "To the best of my knowledge the family has not been traced by any reputable authority to a period or place before it appears in British records. Izola Forester is the source for the Botha story, and you can imagine what confidence may be placed in her. Junius B. Booth, Sr., spoke of the family as having Welsh origins."

I also went online and found that the name "Booth" in general is linked generally to about five specific areas in England through the ages.
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08-20-2014, 02:47 PM
Post: #14
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
Thanks to all who responded! But....the mystery still continues of the Booth's.......
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08-20-2014, 06:54 PM
Post: #15
RE: "Booth" Was Not John Wilkes Real Last Name?
I trust Dr. Alford on this one. *Especially* if the only confirmed "source" for the other name is Izola Forester. Thanks for the info, Laurie!

"Right or wrong, God judge me, not man."
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