I have a budding interest in genealogy and I read a decent amount about the famous families’, especially European royalty and prominent American, lineages. I find it interesting to find out who’s related to who. It’s rumored that all US presidents (even Barak Obama), except Martin Van Buren, are related (I’m not sure about Trump yet). The link is from the Daily Mail so take it with a grain of salt.
- Another actually true bit of presidential trivia: Jimmy Carter is 2nd cousins with Motown founder, Berry Gordy. I can’t find any pictures of them together.
- More funny stuff: Trump and Hillary are related. They are 19th cousins.
I’ve always wanted to make a family tree for my own family. One of my best friends did Ancestry.com for his grandmother’s birthday present and found a wealth of information, including his grandfather’s draft card and a manifest of the ship his ancestors took from England (and possibly a few other European countries) to America. My friend is predominantly WASP and Polish. His family has been in the US for 3+ generations. Needless to say, he has a clear advantage when it comes to information access about your ancestry.
Being of Gujarati Indian descent, and of immigrant parents, I doubt Ancestry.com or anything similar would be of any help to me. It gets even more complicated My parents are from Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania (East Africa). Both grandfathers, sons of Gujarati immigrants from British India, were born in Zanzibar. Both grandmothers were born in Gujarat, British India but immigrated to Zanzibar as young kids. All their kids, my parents and their siblings, were born in Zanzibar. Their kids, my generation, were all born in the US or UK.
My grandparents are all dead so our family’s history pre-Africa is hazy at best. My Indian born ancestors’ record would be very hard to find (if they exist at all) and most likely be in a language that I can’t read. If I’m lucky, there could be some British records. My last name is also really common so there’s a ton of room for confusion. My older relatives can barely recall the village that some family branch was from so it’s lost to history at this point.
I am still interested in getting my DNA analyzed. Anyone know if 23andMe is worth is?
My Obsession With The Sopranos
So I do the next best thing: make trees of other peoples’ families. I am a huge Sopranos fan. In college, I was really interested in my criminology class. I read the textbook in a week but 90% of my knowledge came from Law & Order and The Sopranos. The professor challenged anyone to describe the RICO act. I, the only volunteer, stood up and gave a beautiful, but succinct, explanation. When she asked where I learned that, I calmly replied “The Sopranos“.
Even most of it was filmed more end a decade ago, the show is timeless. I put it on all the time for background when I do work and I got my wife to watch the series and she loved it (I learned to loved Game of Thrones through her). I’m such a nerd that I’ve even been to the Sopranos house twice. It’s a tradition I’ve forced my family to do every time (they hate me) we enter or exit New Jersey: get White Castle and pay our respects.
The Sopranos Family Trees
The extensive character backgrounds and relationships fascinating, especially how they are weaved into the plots. But like all series that have a ton of characters (like Game of Thrones and The Wire), it’s hard to keep track of who knows who and how.
One of the main themes of the show is is family (Indians and Italians have that in common) so I thought it would be natural to create the various family trees in the series. I originally did this post for Reddit and got a positive reception (95 upvotes) in /r/thesopranos. However, the Reddit interface sucks and the links were hard to see soI can do a better job recreating the project on my website.
To create the family trees, I used Family Echo (free and easy to use).
I’ve divided the 4 family trees into two groups:
- The Aprile Family (1 family tree)
- The Greater Soprano Family (3 family trees that are all interconnected: Soprano, DeAngelis, and Blundetto)
All names in gray indicate that the person is deceased.
- Giacomo “Jackie” Aprile Sr
- Giacomo “Jackie Jr.” Aprile Jr
- Adrianna LaCerva
- Richie Aprile
- Vito Spatafore
None of the people in the Aprile family are related to the Greater Soprano Family. There were 3 relationships that occurred between the two family groups but none resulted in marriage or children. Unfortunately, all these relationships ended because an Aprile was killed:
Vito Spatafore is Richie Aprile’s nephew, as is Jackie Jr. Adrianna is Richie’s niece. Both Vito and Adrianna are first cousins with Jackie Jr. This would make them, by all reasonable logic, first cousins to each other. But there’s a scene where Vito brags about Adrianna calling him “all the time” when Christopher was in rehab:
I chalk this one up to a simple writer’s error.
Vito’s wife, Marie, is cousins with Phil Leotardo. But I couldn’t much more information about the Leotard0 family (formerly known as the Leonardo family) so I left them out of the tree. Marie is played by Elizabeth Bracco, Lorraine Bracco’s (Dr. Melfi) sister.
In the first season, there’s an episode where Christopher (Michael Imperioli) shoots the pastry chef employee in the foot. Joseph Gannascoli, the actor who plays Vito in later seasons, plays a customer in this scene named Gino. This scene was inspired by Imperioli’s infamous scene in Goodfellas:
The Greater Soprano Family Tree
3 family trees that are all interconnected: Soprano, DeAngelis, and Blundetto.
This family tree consists of Corrado Soprano Sr’s descendants. Corrado Sr had 3 sons:
The third son, Ercoli (“Eckely”), was institutionalized and died shortly before Johnny. Johnny was the only son to marry (to Livia . He had two daughters and one son:
It’s never discussed in the show but in a deleted scene, it’s mentioned that Philly Parisi (Patsy Parisi’s late identical twin brother) were Tony’s cousins on his mother’s, Livia’s side:
If Tony and Patsy are related, that means Meadow and her boyfriend, Patrick Parisi, are also related:
This family tree starts with Carmela’s paternal grandparents. It is through Carmela that Tony is actually related to Christopher (more on this later). Carmela’s cousin is the late Richard “Dickie” Moltisanti, Chris’s father:
This makes Chris 1st cousin once removed to Carmela (and to Tony, by marriage) and 2nd cousin to Meadow and A.J.
It’s mentioned, especially during the first couple seasons, that Carmela has a sister. According to Wikipedia, her name is Patty. But I have not ever heard that name mentioned or corroborated anywhere else.
Carmela also has a cousin named Brian Cammarata, who appeared in several episodes:
I wanted to put Brian in the tree but I had no idea on what side he was related so I had to leave him out.
The Blundetto family is related to the Soprano family and the DeAngelis family.
Tony B gets home from prison and gets a surprise welcome back party . At the party, Tony Soprano talks about their childhood and how they were distinguished from each other, because they shared the same name:
- Tony Soprano was called “Tony Uncle Johnny” because his father’s name was Johnny.
- Tony B was called “Tony Uncle Al” because his father’s name was Alfred.
Tony Soprano also mentions that Tony B was once also called “Tony Uncle Philly” for a little while. I’m assuming that Quintina Blundetto was married or in a relationship with a man named Phil after her husband (Alfred Blundetto) died. Tony Soprano mentioned that Phil was also decased. Since I couldn’t find anything about him, I left him out of the Blundetto family tree.
In the episode where Carmela’s father, Hugh, has a birthday party at the Soprano residence, Tony B is sitting and drinking with Joanne Blundetto, Christopher’s mother. He calls her “cuz” (slang for cousin) but this doesn’t make sense because Joanne is his aunt (his father’s sister).
Tony & Christopher’s Relationship
This often confusing, especially for new watchers.
Christopher and Tony refer to each other as uncle (Tony) and nephew (Christopher) throughout the series. Tony even says that Christopher is blood. But in reality, they’re not related, at least not closely:
- Explained in the DeAngelis family tree: Christopher’s father is Carmela’s cousin. Thus, Christopher is 1st cousins once removed with Carmela and 2nd cousins with Meadow and A.J.
- Explained in the Blundetto family tree: Christopher is first cousins with Tony B (through Tony B’s father). Tony Soprano is also first cousins to Tony B (through Tony B’s mother). In other words, both Christopher and Tony Soprano are first cousins to Tony B, but not to each other.
- Dickie Moltisanti was a soldier in Johnny Soprano’s (Tony’s father) crew. He was very close to Tony Soprano, almost like a big brother. Because Dickie died while Chris was only a baby, Tony always looked out for Christopher and treated him like family.
I can’t find the scene where Adriana mentioned to an FBI agent that Joanne Moltisanti (Chris’s mom) is Tony’s distant cousin from back “in the old country”. Tony confirms this in one of his appointments with Dr. Melfi. This could be true because people from small Italian villages, like Avellino, immigrated together to America.
There’s a good chance a lot of people in these villages were distantly related because of the small population size and lack of modern transportation. In one episode, Junior is under house arrest and is going stir crazy. He calls his parole officer and asks to go to of the funeral of someone he claims to be a relative. The parole officer doesn’t believe him. Junior insists it is a relative because the whole village of Avellino settled in the Newark area so they had to be related somewhere down the line.