Finding Your Roots with Christopher Meloni

OK, here we are!

After 16 months, the episode of Finding Your Roots with Christopher Meloni was finally aired!

A shot from PBS’ Finding Your Roots – Season 7 Episode 4

PBS had contacted me in September 2019 and hired me to research the genealogy of their guest, the Italian-American actor Christopher Meloni.

It was a brand new challenge for me, that I tried to accomplish as best as I could, working for 5 days and in 8 different archives in Liguria and Emilia Romagna.

In the end, the result was:

– two family trees (for two different family lines) totalling 49 direct ancestors

– the most ancient ancestor, Christopher’s 8th great grandfather, born around 1630

– 4 military lists

– identification of 2 houses where Christopher Meloni’s ancestors had lived

– 1 notary’s deed for the purchase of a house

– 1 local history book that a priest gave me as present

– maps, picture of places and other documents

and, of course, many stories of people who lived, worked, married and died without leaving a sign in this world except for their name in the parish records: men who were farmers, others who died of an epidemic, families who were fostering foundlings and – of course – the most striking story, that of Christopher’s great-grandfather Enrico Melone, a baby who was abandoned at birth.

It was clear from the beginning that this would have been the key story of the show and although PBS dropped all the rest – the vast majority of my job – it is clear that they couldn’t do anything else: there must be a single story or two to focus the attention on.

So, you will never know the rest about Christopher’s ancestors, I am sorry!

But don’t worry, there are other interesting and touching stories to discover: those about your own family!

Some pictures of Velva, the place where Christopher’s ancestors were from: an amazing, picturesque village on the Ligurian hills. The town center does not have roads, only stone stairs and narrow paths.

Old registers
The Missano church with the typical risseu: decorations for squares and courtyards made with small, round stones in different colors

Link to access the video:

3 thoughts on “Finding Your Roots with Christopher Meloni”

  1. is christopher meloni a relative of the italian prime minister giorgia meloni? both two have ancestors of the same region in sardinia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi José, thank you for writing!
      The are surely not related: Christopher Meloni’s ancestor was a foundling whose surname was given him by the orphanage nuns, and by the way the original spelling was Melone. I think it changed to Meloni after the emigration to the USA, following the English pronounciation.
      About his origins being from Sardinia, I would bet against it (and believe me, I did dig into his history for centuries!).
      His family was from Liguria, a region in North-West Italy. Before the Italian unification in 1861, Liguria was part of a State called Kingdom of Sardinia, which included Sardinia, Liguria, Piedmont and a part of the present France. I think the misunderstanding may arise from that.
      Or perhaps, Christopher descends from Sardinia through another family line which I have not been asked to investigate, but surely not the family with Meloni/Melone as surname.
      Hope this answer your question! 🙂
      Have a nice day!


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