12 Aug Member Spotlight: Mary M. Tedesco, Host on “Genealogy Roadshow” (PBS), Professional Genealogist

Mary Tedesco Member Spotlight (2)

We’re so pleased to feature Mary M. Tedesco as this week’s Member Spotlight interview guest! Mary discovered NOIAW via Twitter and is looking forward to getting to know all of our members more.

mary-tedesco-genealogySo many of our members are seeking to connect with their roots in Italy and deepen their knowledge of their heritage. Mary’s curiosity about her own background led her to obtain her certificate in Genealogical Research and found her own company, ORIGINS ITALY, which specializes in in-depth Italian and Italian American genealogical research.

In addition to her work as a professional genealogist, Mary is a speaker and author. She is a Host / Genealogist on the PBS television series Genealogy Roadshow and the Founder of ORIGINS ITALY. Mary speaks Italian fluently and travels often to Italy to conduct client genealogical research and visit family. She is the co-author of Tracing Your Italian Ancestors, an 84-page Italian research guide published by Moorshead Magazines. Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics from Boston University and a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University’s Center for Professional Education.

In addition to her Italian ancestry (Calabria, Trentino-Alto Adige, and Tuscany) on her father’s side, she also has deep American roots (German, Irish, Danish & English) on her mother’s side and is a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

1. How did you hear about NOIAW? What drew you to join the organization?

I discovered NOIAW for the first time on Twitter several years ago and recently joined to network and collaborate with other women with a shared interest and passion for their Italian heritage.

Mary Tedesco standing in front of the church were her grandfather was baptized -- Church of San Nicola di Bari in San Pietro a Maida (CZ), Italy. Image courtesy of ORIGINS ITALY.

Mary Tedesco standing in front of the church were her grandfather was baptized — Church of San Nicola di Bari in San Pietro a Maida (CZ), Italy. Image courtesy of ORIGINS ITALY.

2. How has your NOIAW membership helped you personally and/or professionally so far?

I’ve only been a member of NOIAW for a few months, and look forward to attending meetings and events in the future!

3. Tell me about your connection with your Italian heritage. How has it influenced your life and your career?

My paternal grandparents were born in Italy. My grandfather was born in Calabria – San Pietro a Maida and my grandmother was from Rovereto, Trentino-Alto Adige and raised in Rome. My grandparents and extended family in Italy are at the center of my connection to my Italian roots.

Image courtesy of PBS.

Heritage (Italian on my father’s side and American on my mother’s side) has become the focus of my career. I became interested in genealogy and family history nine years ago and started tracing my own Italian and American roots one document at a time. Over time, my passion for genealogy blossomed into a career. I am the founder of ORIGINS ITALY, a research firm specializing in in-depth Italian genealogical research. It’s an honor to regularly travel to Italy to trace the Italian roots of our clients as well as my own. I am also featured on the PBS television series Genealogy Roadshow. On the show, we present the best of America – our rich cultural past, including several Italian American guests on season two. As one of the hosts of “Genealogy Roadshow,” I have the privilege of helping our guests explore aspects of their family history they previously knew very little or nothing about. I’m thankful to be working with my two co-hosts, the team at PBS, and Krasnow Productions.

4. Do you have a favorite memory of your Italian family?

My grandmother’s kitchen served as the central meeting place for our family. When we were there, each family member knew they were loved. We felt valued while we listened to family stories and enjoyed the best food in town!

Mary Tedesco with Italian-American

Mary Tedesco with Italian-American “Genealogy Roadshow” guests Dominic and Katie Giardina. Image courtesy of PBS.

5. Anything else you’d like to share?

It’s exciting that many Italian Americans are becoming more interested in genealogy and family history. Tracing our Italian roots and documenting family stories is a wonderful way to preserve the legacy of our parents, grandparents, and ancestors from Italy. Each Italian American family has an Italian heritage that is uniquely theirs. Many of us have grandparents and great grandparents that originate from different towns, provinces, and regions of Italy. This special Italian American ancestral combination is unique, whether it be Pugliese-Napolitano, Sicilano-Abruzzese, Calabrese-Trentino or countless others.

These combinations bring about a fascinating diversity and fusion of Italian regional traditions, cuisine, and dialect that is passed down to the next generation here in America. Preserving our family stories and memories, visiting our ancestral towns, and tracing our Italian roots are wonderful ways to reconnect with the core of what makes us each proud to be Italian American. This journey of discovery will certainly bring twists and turns both in research and revelation. In the words of novelist James Baldwin, “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

Thanks so much to Mary for participating in our Member Spotlight series. We’re so thrilled to have her as a member!

If you’d like to connect with Mary or learn more about her, you can find her on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn, and of course, her website.

If you have a story to share, get in touch with Beth Connolly at bconnolly@noiaw.org for your chance to be interviewed here!

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