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Watch Christoper Meloni react to a 'heavy' revelation about his family's history

The “Law & Order: Organized Crime” star was left speechless on an episode of "Finding Your Roots."

Christopher Meloni was brought to tears after learning his sixth great-grandfather's origin story while appearing on PBS' "Finding Your Roots" during the show's seventh season.

The “Law & Order: Organized Crime” star asked the show’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., to trace his family tree. He was shocked to learn that his sixth great-grandfather, Mathias Farnsworth, had been abducted as a teenager.

Farnsworth was born in Massachusetts in 1690 during the time when Puritans were prominent in his area. At the turn of the 18th century, there were many wars between the French and British forces in North America. Farnsworth found himself in the thick of the action when French forces raided his hometown.

Native American troops, who were aligned with the French, captured Farnsworth and carried the 14-year-old north as a hostage. He soon found himself 300 miles from home as a prisoner of war.

“What?” Meloni exclaimed after hearing the news. The actor was left speechless for a moment with a mix of shock, horror and amazement on his face.

"Wow, that's just crazy. The stakes were so high back then. That is what I think as you turn these pages. That's the first thing I reflect upon," he told the show's host.

Gates agreed and said, "Yeah, you know, this is not goodbye for the summer. This is goodbye."

Farnsworth was marched up to Canada and was soon listed in the records of a Catholic mission on the outskirts of what is now Montreal. He was purchased for ransom by a group of Roman Catholic priests.

“This is heavy, man,” Meloni said.

Farnsworth, who was most likely a Puritan beforehand, became a Catholic. He changed his name to Claude Mathias Phaneuf and was granted land to start a new life.

"Talk about being saved," Meloni said in response.

"Talk about how life can turn on a dime," Gates said.

The actor's ancestor got married, had at least nine children and worked his land. He died at the age of 83.

"That's amazing," Meloni said. "What a journey."

Moving onto his father's side of the family, the actor's great-grandfather Enrico Meloni also had a troubled upbringing in Italy. As a baby, he was abandoned at a church and became an orphan.

Close to tears, Meloni said, “I wonder if he ever talked about it.”

The actor soon learned the origin of his last name when Gates explained that Meloni, which translates to “melon” in English, was a nickname given to his ancestor, likely as a mocking description of the way he looked.

A nurse cared for Meloni until he was 12 years old but then he was on his own, a common practice for orphans in Italy.

“That’s a school of hard knocks,” the actor said.

Meloni's ancestor would later come to America and find a career selling olive oil. While reflecting on this impressive journey, the actor got emotional and wiped tears away from his face.

“You see something like that and I’m sure almost everyone (who appears on this show) must react this way in that all of a sudden you go, ‘Oh I owe you a debt,’” he said.