OK, here we are!
After 16 months, the episode of Finding Your Roots with Christopher Meloni was finally aired!
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.
Link to access the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypu_dq64ZHs
3 thoughts on “Finding Your Roots with Christopher Meloni”
is christopher meloni a relative of the italian prime minister giorgia meloni? both two have ancestors of the same region in sardinia.
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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!
Thanks a lot for your quick and very documented answer.