Fairuza Balk

by ethnic on August 8, 2009

Birth Name: Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse

Place of Birth: Point Reyes, Marin, California, United States

Date of Birth: May 21, 1974

Ethnicity: German, English, distant Scots-Irish (Northern Irish)

Fairuza Balk is an American actress, known for starring in the films Return to Oz, The Craft, and American History X, among many others.

Fairuza’s father, Solomon Feldthouse (born David Earle Scaff), a folk musician, is originally from Pingree, Idaho, and has English, and a smaller amount of Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), ancestry. Fairuza’s mother, Cathryn Balk, a dance teacher, is from California, and is of half German and half English ancestry.

Fairuza has stated that her father has Romani and Cherokee Native American ancestry, and that her mother has Irish and French ancestry. Most, or all, of this statement is not accurate. Fairuza’s father, who was born under the surname Scaff and later changed his surname to Feldthouse, has no documented Romani or Native American ancestry (Fairuza’s nephew has said of his grandfather: “he plays it up that he is a gypsy but is probably just a wannabe”). Fairuza’s mother is not predominantly of Irish or French descent. The surname Feldthouse comes from a man named Harry Walter Feldthouse, whose parents were Danish immigrants; it appears that Harry was Fairuza’s father’s stepfather.

Her first name, Fairuza, is a Persian and Arabic name meaning “Turquoise”, “Victory”, or “precious one”, although she is not herself of Persian or Arabic ancestry.

Fairuza’s paternal grandfather was David Stanley Scaff (the son of David Scaff and Octavia/Tava Garnet Weaver). Fairuza’s great-grandfather David was the son of William Littleton Scaff and Melcina/Melsena Jefferson. Octavia was the daughter of Frank Weaver and Anna Greenslaite.

Fairuza’s paternal grandmother was Mary Lorraine Cole (the daughter of a father surnamed Cole and Vera Polston). Vera was the daughter of Asa Marion Polston and Mary M. Medlin.

Fairuza’s maternal grandfather was Frederick “Fred” Franklin Balk (the son of Alfred Balk and Emma Matilda Schmidt). Alfred was born in Illinois, to German parents, Dirk Balk and Harmke Hinrichs Lübben. Emma was born in Minnesota, also to German parents, Hermann Schmidt and Meleta.

Fairuza’s maternal grandmother was Lavergne Leone White (the daughter of Wilson Bradford White and Leoni Irene Rolfe). Lavergne had English ancestry. Wilson was the son of Wilson Salmon White and Ella Virginia Tully. Leoni was the daughter of Amos Rolfe and Delight Blakeslee.

Sources: Fairuza writes about the of the persecution of the Roma – http://www.fairuza.com

Fairuza’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Marriage record of Fairuza’s paternal grandparents, David Stanley Scaff and Mary Lorraine Cole – https://familysearch.org

Marriage record of Fairuza’s paternal great-grandparents, David Scaff and Octavia/Tava Garnet Weaver – https://familysearch.org

Genealogy of Fairuza’s paternal grandmother, Mary Lorraine Cole (focusing on her own father’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

Fairuza’s paternal great-grandmother, Vera Polston, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Marriage record of Fairuza’s maternal grandparents, Frederick “Fred” Franklin Balk and Lavergne Leone White – https://familysearch.org

Fairuza’s maternal grandfather, Frederick “Fred” Franklin Balk, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Fairuza’s maternal grandmother, Lavergne Leone White, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Fairuza’s step-grandfather, Harry Walter Feldthouse, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Some notations on Solomon Feldthouse’s background – http://ofgraceandsin.tumblr.com

profile by Dr. Epic and Ethnic

image via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Real880 August 16, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Btw I see this website going off of public record all the time.. you can’t always do that. Do you know how many times ppl changed their surnames or how many women’s surnames were lost after marriage? You don’t know who in her lineage is Gypsy. How about you ask her first, I don’t see a point in lying over ancestry…

bablah August 17, 2017 at 4:56 am

If we’re talking about Irish travellers, then yeah, it’s pretty much impossible to tell them from a regular Irish person. If we’re talking about Romany people, then you have to know that up until pretty recently (maybe some 100 years ago) the immigration was only allowed to “free white people”. Many Romany people wouldn’t be able to fit that category in America where people with 1/32 of African ancestry weren’t considered white. I did come across Romany people in U. S. public records (and noticed that many came via Latin American countries). Their race on a census varies from white to Native American to Mexican. The most telling sign is that their adress is most of the time “Gypsy camp”. Oh, and the language is often listed as Romanian (facepalm) even when country of origin is France. Off the top of my head I can remmember Costello and Nicolich families as being of Romany descent in the West Coast (of course since those are Irish and Serbian last names, not everybody who has them will be Romany). There could be some person on this site that has Romany ancestry that has been overlooked, but I doubt it’s Fairuza.

madman August 17, 2017 at 7:54 am

It would be interesting if anyone could find an American celebrity who is descended from a Romani immigrant.

bablah August 17, 2017 at 1:44 pm

I like finding those smaller ethnic groups/sub-groups. Yesterday I got one whole batch of just Arbereshe people, while I was indexing.

madman August 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm

I like enjoy seeing American celebrities with ancestry from smaller and/or rare ethnic groups being listed here.

Right now, this site need a Kurdish-American, a Faroese-American, and an Afghan-American celebrity. Maybe we already have a Georgian-American (but probably not) and a Tatar-American one (Glen Powell).

madman August 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Oh, and a Sami-American

bablah August 17, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Lisa Marie Varon is Tatar-American.

Real880 August 16, 2017 at 7:49 pm

I can see Gypsy in her. Many Germans have Gypsy ancestry…. I know someone who is White with a Syrian grandfather. She and Fairuza have a similar look..

neiltennant April 3, 2015 at 7:15 am

nice looks

she has a persian name.

White18 September 25, 2014 at 2:08 am

I’m German and can definitely see she has German ancestry. Just the smile alone I can tell this. But the this picture she looks sinister lol

WTF August 14, 2014 at 5:15 pm

she looks scary in this picture.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Correction (possible): “Alfred was born in Illinois, to German parents, Dirk Gerdes Gerhard Balk and Harmka/Harmke Hinrich Lubben.”

“Dirk Gerdes” is a complete name, Gerdes is a surname (“of Gerd”/”Gerd’s” (son)); Gerhard Balk is also a complete name; probably one name (Gerdes) is wrong. “Harmka” sounds more like a Czech name, “Harmke” is a typical Frisian/North German/Dutch name (female variety of Harm = Herman); the surname is written Lubben when Dutch and Lübben when German.

follers July 12, 2014 at 1:22 pm

The names are listed in different ways on different family trees, including as “Dirk Gerdes Gerhd Balk”, which might be a typo.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Hm… you have changed the text, haven’t you? O_o

One last correction (I promise! :D): “Emma was born in Minnesota, also to German parents, Herman Schmidt and Meleta.” When “Herman” was German and not of German descent with an anglisized name, he probably was written “Hermann”.

danielle April 2, 2012 at 1:34 am

wow never knew she had persian in her.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 1:05 pm

No wonder: She has not.

-> “I am not of Persian blood”

follers July 12, 2014 at 1:15 pm

She doesn’t have any Romani or Native American ancestry either.

liz November 1, 2010 at 9:25 pm

i definitely see the irish in her(pale complexion).

Robert August 21, 2011 at 10:44 am

That seems to be the domminant phenotype (the eye color as well.) The bone structure suggests Romany. Romany women are said to have very expressive faces.

awwww thats a cute name, to describe her eye color, turquoise? Thats a blueish green right:) July 19, 2010 at 11:06 pm

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