Q: I heard a story that Sousa was really an immigrant named John Philipso but because his steamer trunk was labeled "John Philipso, U.S.A.", he changed his name to SOUSA. Is this true?
A: Not true. There are several versions still floating around, all based on rumors that he added the U-S-A to his last name out of sheer patriotism. This is, however, false. Sousa's father was the immigrant, and Sousa (or Souza, or De Sousa) is a well-known Portuguese family name. The story was started by the Sousa Band's manager as a publicity stunt during one of the band's European tours, and it still endures nearly 80 years after Sousa's death.