Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Historian's shocker: Erin go Kerry!
By Associated Press
Sunday, July 18, 2004

DERRY, N.H. - Irish roots would be a political advantage in Massachusetts, but U.S. Sen. John Kerry [related, bio] says he's always corrected people who look at his last name and assume he has them. But a local historian thinks he might be wrong.

     Derry town historian Richard Holmes said he's traced Kerry's lineage to an Irish immigrant believed to have introduced the potato to America.

     Numerous publications have stated over the years that Kerry is Irish-American, which could help in Massachusetts, the most Irish state in the nation. Kerry said he's always corrected the misstatements. 

     Kerry's family took its name from a county in Ireland, but it was an adopted name. His grandfather, Frederick Kerry, a Czech Jew, changed his name from Fritz Kohn when he came to America.

     But Holmes said he has traced Kerry's lineage back to the Rev. James McGregor, who emigrated from Londonderry, Ireland, and founded the town that later split in two and became Londonderry and Derry, N.H.

      Holmes said he also found Kerry has a distant family connection with pop diva Britney Spears and President Franklin Pierce, a New Hampshire native.

      Eric Schultz, a Kerry spokesman, said the senator is not aware of any Irish roots.      

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