Italian Genealogy, Family History, Travel, Culture, and More!


“The Italian Americans” aired nationally on PBS on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, from 9-11 PM ET and Tuesday, February 24, 2015, from 9-11 PM ET. Since nearly 16 million Americans can trace their roots back to Italy, there is a natural curiosity among many about the “old country” and about the struggles our ancestors endured to make a better life for us in the USA. The series triggered emotions including a combination of nostalgia, pride and desire to learn more about our Italian heritage. “The Italian Americans” on PBS reminds us of our rich Italian cultural heritage and encourages us to look forward to a bright future as Americans with Italian roots.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS: La Famiglia (1890-1910) — Click here to watch the full episode online.

A brief history of the Italian Risorgimento provides the context for the great flight from the mezzogiorno region. By the late 19th century, Italians begin to put down roots and “Little Italys” spring up in urban areas throughout the U.S. But the first generation, holding onto language and culture, is branded “outsiders” and mistrusted by non-Italians. In New Orleans, this mistrust explodes into violence and 11 Italian Americans are murdered by an armed mob. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a second-generation Italian American saves his community from disaster while creating one of the greatest financial institutions in America.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS: Becoming Americans (1910-1930) — Click here to watch the full episode online.

At the turn of the 20th century, more than four million Italians immigrate to America. Leonard Covello is forced to give up his “old world” ways and adopt American mores, including changing his name; Arturo Giovannitti, a new immigrant, leads the largest labor strike of 1912, when Italian Americans push for better working conditions and wages. Italian Americans are forced to worship in the basement of churches controlled by the Irish archdiocese; anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed, reinforcing stereotypes that plague Italian Americans today; Prohibition breeds a new kind of criminal who takes a shortcut to success.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS: Loyal Americans (1930-1945) — Click here to watch the full episode online.

A second generation of Italian Americans begins to enter the labor movement, politics, sports and entertainment. Fiorello LaGuardia becomes mayor of New York City. Joe DiMaggio, the son of a San Francisco fisherman, becomes a baseball powerhouse who becomes an American hero. But with the outbreak of World War II, loyalty to America is questioned and Italians are forced to choose between two nations at war. While many Italian Americans fight on the frontlines with valor and bravery, other Italian Americans are labeled “Enemy Aliens,” including DiMaggio’s parents. The war proves to be a turning point for Italian Americans as they begin to break out of their enclaves.

THE ITALIAN AMERICANS: The American Dream (1945-present) — Click here to watch the full episode online.

In post-war America, Italian Americans enter the middle class. Italian-American crooners define American cool, but even as Frank Sinatra skyrockets to fame, he is haunted by accusations of Mafia ties. Can Italian Americans fit into 1950s America or will the specter of organized crime always plague them? Governor Mario Cuomo, son of Italian immigrants, struggles to straddle both worlds, while his sons’ success promises assimilation and acceptance. Antonin Scalia becomes the first Italian American appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi is the first woman and Italian American elected to Speaker of the House. Have Italian Americans finally shed the old stereotypes and become fully accepted in America?

Thank you PBS for bring us “The Italian Americans,” another quality PBS series!

-Mary M. Tedesco, ORIGINS ITALY


Episode descriptions & series logo courtesy of PBS. Used with permission.

Penelope McCarthy and family in New Orleans

The Season 2 finale of PBS’s “Genealogy Roadshow” is now available online! “The Best of Genealogy Roadshow” features some of our favorite stories and memorable moments from Season 1 and Season 2 featuring Hosts Mary Tedesco, Kenyatta D. Berry, and D. Joshua Taylor.

Thank you for watching season 2 of “Genealogy Roadshow.” Please like the official “Genealogy Roadshow” Facebook page for updates about future cities and seasons.

Click here to watch @!

Photo credit: Pat Garin.

GENEALOGY ROADSHOW Hosts Mary Tedesco, Joshua Taylor & Kenyatta Berry support Preserve the Pensions at RootsTech / FGS in SLC .

“Genealogy Roadshow” Hosts Mary Tedesco (Founder of ORIGINS ITALY), D. Joshua Taylor and Kenyatta D. Berry took the stage during the RootsTech / FGS 2015 Conference keynote speech on Thursday, February 12, 2015 to help support Preserve the Pensions.

Why is Preserve the Pensions (War of 1812) an important project?

Preserve the Pensions is a community fundraising effort to preserve and digitize 7.2 million pages of War of 1812 Pension Records. These records are among the most requested collections at the National Archives in Washington D.C and are in urgent need of preservation. The records digitized through Preserve the Pensions will be available for free online through and other sites. This project will benefit genealogists, historians, and other researchers for generations to come.

Mary Tedesco’s personal connection to the War of 1812.

Mary’s fifth great grandfather Winthrop Glidden died in service in War of 1812. He served as a Private in the 21st Regiment of the United States Infantry from 24 February 1813 until his death on 27 December 1813 at French Mills, NY. The pension file contains essential details about Winthrop’s military service, his children, his widow and her remarriage following his death, his bounty land, as well as other priceless details. Winthrop’s twenty-six page pension is among the 7.2 million pages being digitized through the Preserve the Pensions project. Thank you Preserve the Pensions!

Please consider donating to the Preserve the Pensions Project!

Thank you!

(Photo courtesy of Preserve the Pensions. Used with permission.)

Kenyatta Berry, Joshua Taylor, and Mary Tedesco

Are you ready for the best? The season 2 finale of “Genealogy Roadshow” airs on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 on PBS and will feature some of our favorite stories and memorable moments from Season 1 and Season 2 featuring Hosts Mary Tedesco, Kenyatta D. Berry, and D. Joshua Taylor! This is an episode you won’t want to miss!

Click here for listing information & other details @

Enjoy the “Best of Genealogy Roadshow!”

201502 Genealogy Guys & Mary M. Tedesco ORIGINS ITALY GENEALOGY ROADSHOW

Many thanks to The Genealogy Guys, Drew Smith and George G. Morgan, for their favorable review of “Tracing Your Italian Ancestors,” a new Italian genealogy resource authored by ORIGINS ITALY Founder Mary M. Tedesco and Marcia Iannizzi Melnyk.

The review can be heard on The Genealogy Guys Podcast #281 (11 January 2015) starting at about 55:20 on the time clock.

Pictured above is Drew (left) and George (right) with Mary M. Tedesco (center) at the RootsTech 2015 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah in February 2015. Photo courtesy of George G. Morgan.

Order your copy of “Tracing Your Italian Ancestors.”

Thanks Guys!

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