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The Genealogy Detective

Sep 11, 2023

My friend Adam brings a question to me: is Moby (aka Richard Melville Hall) really related to Moby-Dick author Herman Melville.


  • A screenshot of Moby’s Wikipedia page, taken May 2023
  • Excerpt from the Afterword of Moby’s 2016 memoir, Porcelain (2016)

  • Tweet from Moby (@thelittleidiot): “On this day in 1851…”

  • Tweet from Moby (@thelittleidiot): “Happy Birthday Uncle Herman…”

  • Background on Moby’s career was compiled from several sources including: 

  • Clip from “Rave Dancing the Night Away,” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 13, 1992 

  • Clip from “Moby Bright Spot in a Colorless World,” Los Angeles Times, January 18, 1993

  • Clip from “Moby: Remixed, repulsed, reborn,” Hartford Courant, March 12, 1995

  • Video of Moby’s segment with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards

  • Clips of Moby discussing his childhood from Moby Doc (2021)

  • Obituary of James Frederick Hall, Bridgewater Courier News, September 26, 1967

  • Clip of Moby discussing childhood in San Francisco, taking LSD from Porcelain (2016)

  • Clip of Moby talking about his nickname from an interview with Steve Paikin on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin

  • Melville’s family tree of direct descendents, taken from Hershel Parker’s Herman Melville: A Biography, Volume 2 (1851-1891) 

  • “Metaphors? I hate metaphors…” clip from Parks and Recreation episode “Fluoride” (Season 6, Episode 8)

  • “Though I wrote the Gospels in this century…” quote from Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne, June [1?], 1851


Music by Blue Dot Sessions, closing theme Breakmaster Cylinder.