Ansel Elgort

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)
*Norwegian, as well as English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and German (mother)

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’s father attended a Jewish summer camp.

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 a Jewish 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/Katarzyna/Catherine/Katherina Kurtz). Sophie was born in New York, to a father from the Caucasus region and a mother from Lemberg, Austria, now in Lviv, Ukraine. 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 born in Connecticut, and 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

35 Responses

  1. bablah says:

    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C95S-T9QQ-9?i=76&cc=1368704

    Numbers 19 and 20

    Katarzyna is listed as a Pole from Lemberg, Austria (Lviv, Ukraine).
    Rafael has no ethnicity listed (not even a ditto sign), but his place of birth at the far right is listed as Kavkaz (Caucasus).

    • madman says:

      What do you think their ethnicities were? There were many Jews in Lviv. And which language is “Kavkaz” written in, and does that provide a clue for Rafael’s ethnic origin? By now, we can be certain he was from Georgia, it’s just his ethnicity which remains unclear.

      • bablah says:

        Catherine’s ethnicity says Polish, her children seem to be Catholic. I’d say she’s likely a Polish woman (maybe with a German stepfather, as she’s going to see her stepbrother whose last name is also Kurz).

        Kavkaz is a transliteration from Russian Кавказ.
        Georgian would be კავკასია (Kavkasia).

        All the slots next his name on the left sheet are empty except age, sex, marriage status, occupation and ability to read and write.

        According to the right sheet, he’s 5’9”, fair complectioned, black haired, brown eyed, born in Kavkaz.
        His wife is brown haired, blue eyed and has a lazy eye.

  2. follers says:

    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 says:

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

    • madman says:

      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 says:

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

        • madman says:

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

          • follers says:

            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 says:

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

          • follers says:

            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 says:

            Just Rafael

          • madman says:

            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 says:

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

          • madman says:

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

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