Read all about Alok and his journey to discover his Italian roots—then learn how to connect to your own heritage.
Well-known in Brazil for his work as a DJ and record producer, Alok Petrillo has been nominated as the best Brazilian DJ and the 11th best DJ worldwide. If you’ve heard of Alok, you might also know something about his family—his twin brother and original music partner, Bhaskar, or his parents (also DJs), who raised him with a love of music. But have you heard about Alok’s journey to discover his Italian roots?
Alok’s Family History Journey
Alok was born in the heart of Brazil, in Goiânia, Goiás. Although he has lived in Brazil for most of his life (currently in São Paulo), his great-grandfather is Italian. Like many Brazilians, Alok’s father felt a strong connection to his Italian roots and started the process of applying for Italian citizenship.
Italian descendants can claim citizenship by proving their connection to an Italian ancestor, but the process is not easy. With help, Alok’s family found birth and death certificates for several ancestors, piecing together the story of their family’s journey to Brazil and their life in Italy. Many years later, Alok’s father gained his Italian citizenship, but more importantly, his zeal for his Italian heritage inspired Alok to begin his own family history journey.
Having a desire to attain citizenship himself and learn more about his Italian great-grandfather, Domenico, Alok determined that he would not only apply for citizenship, but travel to his ancestral hometown—where his great-grandfather once lived.
While visiting San Giovanni a Piro, Italy, Alok was able to actually see the house his great-grandfather grew up in. Alok felt inspired by the story of Domenico’s journey to Brazil and his separation from his brother after arriving in their new country. Alok’s Italian ancestors first arrived in São Paulo, Brazil. After a time, they moved to Minas Gerais and then to Goiás, where Alok was born.
After experiencing Italian culture first-hand, Alok also expressed great appreciation for Italian music. To cap off his journey in Italy with a spectacular event, Alok met with the mayor of San Giovanni a Piro, who granted him honorary citizenship.
Learning about Surnames
Alok inherited the last name Petrillo from his Italian ancestors. If you look at Alok’s full name, however, you will see that it truly reflects all his strongest heritages: Alok Achkar Peres Petrillo. Peres, his maternal last name, is Portuguese, while Achkar is of Lebanese origin. When Alok looked up his surnames on FamilySearch.org, he discovered some fun new things!
Names hold lots of clues to your family’s cultural heritage and can be an important part of your family’s story. Do you know if your last name is Portuguese, Italian, Japanese, or German, or of another origin? Find out in a matter of minutes—for free!
Going Back to Your Roots
Learn more about your own heritage on the free site, FamilySearch.org. Here you can find out more about your ancestors and their homelands, start building your family tree, and even learn how to obtain dual citizenship.
Other Free Ways FamilySearch Can Help You
FamilySearch is passionate about connecting every person with family. Here are some ways we can help you, no matter how much you already know about your family.
Join a FamilySearch Community
You don’t have to go on the search for your family alone. Get answers to your family history questions, and find helpful resources in these places:
- In Brazil? Follow us on social media:
- FamilySearch Community Groups (sign-in needed)
Note: Messages in these community groups may be in different languages, but the group members may be able to help you in your native language.
Free Help from the Experts
Lost or confused about where your family comes from? Get expert help from these places:
- Help Center
- Family History Centers Near You
- These family history centers offer in-person help with family history (for free!). For the best experience, please call ahead to confirm center hours and to make an appointment.
Create a Free Account to Connect to Your Family
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Source: New on FamilySearch