Melissa Leo

by follers on May 25, 2014

Melissa Leo at the "Prisoners" World Premiere, Academy of Motion

Birth Name: Melissa Chessington Leo

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 14, 1960

Ethnicity: German, English, distant Scottish

Melissa Leo is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter (2010).

She has German, English, and distant Scottish, ancestry (her surname is of German origin). She is the daughter of Margaret (Chessington), a teacher, and Arnold Leo III, a fisherman, editor at Grove Press, and spokesman for the East Hampton Baymen’s Association. Her aunt (father’s sister) is author, art historian, curator, photographer, and consultant Christine Leo Roussel.

Melissa has a son with her former partner, actor John Heard.

Melissa’s paternal grandfather was Arnold Gustav Leo (the son of Arnold Gustave/Gustav Leo and Lida May Christman). Melissa’s great-grandfather Arnold was the son of German parents, Gustave “Carl” Leo, from Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, and Caroline/Carolina “Lina” Baptistella, from Mainz, Darmstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate. Lida was the daughter of Charles Christman and Mary Hyne.

Melissa’s paternal grandmother was Elinore Baisley Wellington (the daughter of James M. Higby Wellington and May Bird Howell).

Melissa’s maternal grandfather was James Buell Chessington (the son of James Buell Chessington and Mollie Past). Melissa’s great-grandfather James was the son of Guy M. F. Montgomery/Chessington and Sarah Priscilla Glover. Mollie was the daughter of Edward Swain Past and Mary Ann Whiteman.

Melissa’s maternal grandmother was Frances Clara/Clarise Stone (the daughter of Clarence Albert Stone and Ferna/Fern May/Mae Forrest). Ferna was the daughter of Wilson Albro Forrest and Ethel Lenora Chapman. Ethel was the daughter of Martin Van Buren Chapman and Mary E. Stiles; Mary E. was the daughter of David Stiles and Clarinda Cummings Shaw; Clarinda was the daughter of Levi Shaw and Phila Merritt.

Sources: Genealogy of Melissa Leo – https://www.geni.com

Genealogy of Melissa’s paternal grandfather, Arnold Gustav Leo (focusing on his father’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Genealogy of Melissa’s maternal grandmother, Frances Clara Stone (focusing on her own mother’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Genealogy of Melissa’s maternal great-grandmother, Ferna/Fern May/Mae Forrest – https://www.wikitree.com

Photo by s_bukley/Bigstock.com

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew November 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm
andrew May 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm

I thought she had Italian heritage. Leo and Baptistella are not German

follers May 26, 2014 at 7:00 pm

I don’t think she has Italian ancestry.

There are definitely Germans with the surname “Leo”. It might come from “Low”. “Baptistella” is an unusual-sounding name, but there are many of them in Germany as well.
http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=Search&includedb=&lang=en&ti=&surname=Leo&stype=Exact&given=&bplace=Germany

andrew November 29, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Yes, on familysearch.org there are many “Baptistella” from Germany, and they’re all from Mainz in Rhineland-Palatinate region. Also there are genelaogies of Baptistellas from Brazil, with ancestry in Veneto, Italy, where the surname “Battistella” is common. So I guess some Italian moved to Mainz and spread the surname there back then.

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