Ansel Elgort

by follers on March 12, 2013

Target's "Falling For You" New York City Premiere - Arrivals

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

Date of Birth: March 14, 1994

Ethnicity:
*Eastern European-Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, German (maternal grandfather)
*Norwegian (maternal grandmother)

Ansel Elgort is an American actor, DJ, singer, and music producer. He is the son of Grethe Barrett Holby, an opera director, and Arthur Elgort, a fashion photographer. His sister, Sophie Elgort, is also a photographer.

Ansel’s father is of Eastern European-Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Ansel’s mother has English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and German ancestry on one side, and Norwegian on the other.

On his surname, which is Russian Jewish, Ansel has said:

I think it’s Russian. His father was a Russian Jew who fled and was an immigrant in New York City and grew up in Washington Heights. My dad grew up in Washington Heights. I grew up in New York in Manhattan. So we’re purebred New Yorkers.

Ansel has released a song, To Life (2015), with a Bar Mitzvah theme, mixing electronic and klezmer music.

Ansel was named after photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams.

Ansel’s paternal grandfather was Henech “Harry” Elgort (the son of Samuel Shimel Elgort and Etel/Ethel/Etta Ushomesky Schumerska). Henech was an emigrant from Roternissel, Russia. Samuel was born in St. Petersburg, the son of Mottel Elgort and Bloom. Etel was the daughter of Tellig Ushomesky Schumerska and Thena Kiratt.

Ansel’s paternal grandmother was Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff (the daughter of Rafael Didimamoff and Katharine/Katherine/Catherine/Katherina Kurtz). Sophie was born in New York, to parents who were born in either Russia or Galicia (which was then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is now around Ukraine and Poland); one record lists Rafael as having been born in Georgia. Ansel’s grandmother’s exact background is unclear, though she had a Catholic funeral. It is not clear if she had Jewish heritage.

Ansel’s maternal grandfather was Warren Barrett Holby (the son of John Duncan Holby and Alice Quimby). Warren was a founding partner of Merritt & Holby, a housing development firm. John was the son of Frank Regnault Savoy Holby and Margaret Jane Duncan Avil, who was born in Iowa, to a father from England and a mother who lived in Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Ansel’s great-grandmother Alice was the daughter of Charles Linneaus Quimby and Kittie Moore.

Ansel’s maternal grandmother was Aase-Grethe Hall (the daughter of Wegard Hall and Margrethe Olsdatter Mauset). Aase-Grethe was Norwegian, born in Oslo; during World War II, she worked for the Resistance and the Norwegian government-in-exile, and helped save Jews from the Holocaust, including many children. Aase-Grethe was imprisoned in a concentration camp by the Nazis for these activities. Ansel’s great-grandfather Wegard was born in Næs, Jodalen, Valdres, Oppland. Ansel’s great-grandmother Margrethe was born in Mausetgården, Surnadalsøra, Surnadal, Møre og Romsdal, the daughter of Ole Ingebrigtsson Mauset and Maria Engelsdatter Husby.

Sources: Genealogy of Ansel Elgort – https://www.geni.com

Ansel’s paternal grandmother, Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of Ansel’s paternal grandmother, Sophie/Sophia (Didimamoff) Elgort Bednarczyk – https://www.newspapers.com

Genealogy of Ansel Elgort (focusing on his mother’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Ansel’s maternal grandfather, Warren Barrett Holby, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of Ansel’s maternal grandfather, Warren Barrett Holby – http://www.nytimes.com

Ansel’s maternal great-grandfather, John Duncan Holby, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of Ansel’s maternal grandmother, Aase-Grethe (Hall) Holby – http://query.nytimes.com

Photo by PR Photos

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

follers August 2, 2017 at 10:11 am

Elgort’s paternal grandmother Sophie re-married to a Polish-American and had a Catholic funeral when she died.
https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/115006194/

Previously, Sophie’s mother had re-married to a Czech-American. Sophie’s brother married a Hungarian-American. And of course her first husband was Jewish.

Sophie’s sister also married a Czech-American, and what’s interesting is that her census record lists her father (Elgort’s great-grandfather Rafael Didimamoff) as having been born in Georgia (the country).
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X42P-BFZ

bablah August 2, 2017 at 11:55 am

Funny thing, I just googled Didimamashvili and came up with a street in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia.

madman August 17, 2017 at 2:07 pm

Maybe you’ve already seen, but on the 1920 census, the Didimamoffs’ father is listed as born in Russia, and his language, I think, says Caucasian (I’m bad at reading handwriting) crossed over and replaced with Russian.

follers August 17, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Are you saying we should add Caucasian to the list of possible ethnicities?

madman August 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Obviously not. But it is another clue pointing towards a Georgian background (Georgia being located in the Caucasus mountains).

follers August 17, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I don’t think it’s that obvious. Caucasian (from the Caucasus mountains) can be considered an ethnicity.

At the time, there was about as much ethnic Georgian immigration to the U.S. as ethnic Russian (so if anyone came, it was basically celebrities and the extremely rich).

Georgians are also not usually Catholic. There were Georgian Jews, too.

The question remains as complex as ever.

While we’re on the topic, I think Nolan Sotillo looks like a Cuban Ansel Elgort.

bablah August 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm

I am actually now pretty sure they were indeed from Georgia, but their ethnicity remains a mistery.

follers August 17, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Both Rafael Didimamoff and Katherine Kurtz, or just Rafael?

Kurtz seems to either be an ethnic German or Jewish surname. I think there may be a handful of ethnic Polish people with that name, but it may be a misspelling in those cases.

bablah August 17, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Just Rafael

madman August 17, 2017 at 2:41 pm

No matter Rafael’s background (he may well not have been an ethnic Georgian), isn’t it very likely that he was indeed from Georgia, given the birth place and language respectively on two censuses, and the link between his surname and a place in Georgia? To me, the text is more sceptical than needed.

follers August 17, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I don’t know, a lot of records say Russia, and some even say Poland (and, in 1910, that he spoke Polish).

madman August 17, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Georgia was part of Russia, not a big deal. And one census saying Poland against the other ones doesn’t concern me much either.

madman July 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Margaret Jane Duncan Avil was born in Iowa, to an English father and an Irish mother. Since her mother’s surname was “Duncan”, she was likely of Scots-Irish Protestant background.

https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M544-T4N

ashash June 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

He’s a handsome man.

bearboy February 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm

Why did you tag him as “Eastern European?” The only ancestry he has from Eastern Europe is Polish Jewish and I keep getting told Jews have little to know ancestry from the places they most recently lived in.

bearboy February 23, 2017 at 12:50 pm

I meant to say the only eastern european was on his father’s side who is said to be 100% Ashkenazi

follers February 23, 2017 at 1:38 pm

He may have non-Jewish Eastern European ancestry. It’s confusing.

bearboy February 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for clarifying! I now see the comments below about Ansel’s paternal grandmother possibly not being Jewish. Curious to know are you 100% certain Harry Elgort (his paternal grandfather) was Jewish?

follers February 23, 2017 at 3:04 pm

Yes, of course. Every “Elgort” is Jewish, and especially this one.

Ansel has also referenced his Jewish background. For example, here:
http://wwno.org/post/ansel-elgorts-star-rises-divergent-movie

bearboy February 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm

okay cool

celebfan September 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm

I knew he had Norwegian ancestry, but the brown eyes threw me off until I read about his father’s descent.

cwm85 August 9, 2015 at 4:25 pm

Knew had had Jewish ancestry with that surname.

passingtime85 April 12, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Correction.

Sophie Didimamoff’s parents Rafael Didimamoff and Katharine were both listed as being born in Russia, yet they spoke Polish according to a 1910 census. On later censuses Katharine listed her birth country as either Poland or Galacia and her mother tongue was Polish. I couldn’t find much more information on their background other than Katherine’s sister Caroline/Karrolina’s surname was Kurtz, so that may possibly be Katherine’s original surname.

follers April 13, 2015 at 6:11 am

Catherine/Katherine’s maiden name was indeed “Kurtz”. I managed to find a record that confirms that.
https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WC-GLG

ashash September 20, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Is his paternal grandmother Jewish?

follers September 20, 2014 at 11:02 pm

I don’t know for sure, but on the 1910 census page that the Didimamoffs are listed on, pretty much every other family is Jewish. It would be very unusual if the Didimamoffs were recent non-Jewish Russian immigrants but lived in such a Jewish area at the time (not to mention that non-Jewish ethnic Russian immigrants to the U.S. around 1907 were very rare).

ashash September 20, 2014 at 11:05 pm

I would assume she is Jewish then. Is it the maternal grandmother who you were wondering if was Jewish? It says she was put in a concentration camp for helping Jews, not because she was Jewish, so I think she isn’t.

follers September 20, 2014 at 11:10 pm

I was wondering about the paternal grandmother. The name “Constantine”, Sophie’s brother, wasn’t typical for Russian Jews at the time, who mostly had Yiddish/Jewish first names. However, wealthy Jews did name their children with secular Russian names. The Didimamoffs had a servant living with them in 1910, so my best theory is that they were wealthy/assimilated Russian Jews. But I could be wrong.

ashash September 20, 2014 at 11:26 pm

Probably wealthy Jews if they had a servant living with them. I think it’s unlikely that she wasn’t Jewish.

theropod October 12, 2013 at 12:31 am

He’s the type that gets darker and handsomer as he grows and ages.

J.J. October 2, 2013 at 3:34 am

correction; his eyes are hazel (light brown) and his hair is medium brown (brunette)

andrew March 12, 2013 at 11:34 am

he just has 1 movie in his CV, who can know him?

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