Marilyn Monroe

by ethnic on April 23, 2009

Birth Name: Norma Jeane Mortenson

Date of Birth: June 1, 1926

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Death: August 5, 1962

Place of Death: Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh (mother)
*unclear biological father

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model, and singer. Her half-sister is author Berniece Baker Miracle.

Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Pearl (Monroe), had English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh, ancestry. A DNA test of a relative of Marilyn’s maternal grandfather established Marilyn as a descendant of a soldier from the area around Tain, Scotland, who was exiled to America after the English Civil War, in the mid-17th century.

Norma’s mother listed her ex-husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, as Marilyn’s biological father on her birth certificate, though they had been separated for some time. It is not clear if Martin was Marilyn’s biological father. Marilyn’s mother later told her that her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford. Marilyn talked about this in her autobiography My Story, published in 1974. Martin Mortensen was of Norwegian descent. Charles Stanley Gifford, who was from Newport, Rhode Island, had English, Scottish, French, and Irish ancestry. A genealogy of Charles can be seen here.

Monroe converted to Judaism before her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, in 1956. She practiced Judaism after their divorce.

Marilyn’s maternal grandfather was Otis Elmer Monroe (the son of Jacob Monroe and Mary E. Appleton). Otis was born in Indiana. Jacob was the son of William Monroe and Mary C. Marilyn’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of James Appleton and Elizabeth Jane Smith.

Marilyn’s maternal grandmother was Della/Delia Mae Hogan (the daughter of Tilford Marion Hogan and Charlotty/Charlotte Virginia “Jennie” Nance). Della was born in Missouri. Tilford was the son of George Washington/Willis Hogan and Sarah Ann/Anne Owen/Owens. Charlotty was the daughter of Levi Nance and Sarah Caroline Jones.

Sources: Book biography of Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, 2007 –

Article about Marilyn’s Scottish ancestry –

Article about Marilyn’s conversion to Judaism –

Genealogies of Marilyn Monroe –

Genealogy of Marilyn’s mother –

Find A Grave page of Marilyn’s possible biological father, Charles Stanley Gifford –
Genealogy of Charles Stanley Gifford –

Photo by gors4730/

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

savanna August 10, 2017 at 11:40 am

Article on Monroe’s Scottish ancestry:

“DNA research by the Clan Munro USA has found that Monroe was descended from a soldier from the area who was exiled to America after the English Civil War… It found a link to John Munro, a soldier from the area around Tain, who traveled to America in the mid-17th century.”

fuzzybear44 October 29, 2016 at 2:11 am

much respect to her, she did a great thing for another great lady

neiltennant August 29, 2016 at 9:10 am

im sure her father was jewish

savanna September 13, 2016 at 4:52 pm

Why’s that? Numerous Marilyn biographies have looked into the case of her biological father. Marilyn’s mother told her it was Charles Gifford and Marilyn made several attempts to contact Gifford to no avail, he had moved on with his own life and family. Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece (she and Marilyn have different fathers) wrote in her book that she asked their mother who Marilyn’s father was and she was told Gifford. Charles Gifford was not Jewish.

ses101 June 24, 2018 at 1:34 pm

If Gifford was his real name then that is another Scottish name. It originates not far from where I come from.

ses101 June 24, 2018 at 1:41 pm

EDIT: The name Gifford actually first originated in England. I stand corrected!

neiltennant June 26, 2018 at 12:45 pm

names dont mean anything

you know that Jews in the US changed their names

LARRY KING changed name

the three stooges were all Jewish

and the same with the fake anglo names like GILFORD etc.

andrew June 28, 2016 at 3:47 am
savanna May 7, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Please note in the article that Charles Stanley Gifford had French ancestry.

savanna May 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm

*French and Irish

savanna April 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Marilyn’s older half-sister Berniece Baker Miracle

savanna February 28, 2016 at 10:48 am

I just realized FamousKin has an Ahnentafel for Marilyn going back many generations (with French ancestry etc.):
– they have her father as Charles Gifford btw

follers February 28, 2016 at 11:02 am

There’s already a link to that site. The French must be on Charles Gifford’s side.

savanna February 28, 2016 at 11:18 am

Yep I know, I just realized their genealogy of Charles Gifford was more extensive than others I have seen. (those ones listing his more recent English & Scottish ancestors)

andrew February 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

she needs a picture!

savanna January 14, 2016 at 9:20 am

It should be noted that Charles Stanley Gifford was of English and Scottish descent.

celebfan January 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm

Is it possible for Marilyn’s DNA to be tested? I’m sure her estate wouldn’t mind.

savanna December 3, 2015 at 10:40 am

Martin Edward Mortensen was not her father. Her mother Gladys listed him on Marilyn/Norma Jeane’s birth certificate as her father AFTER they were divorced for a few years. She would later go by her first husband’s last name, Baker, as did Norma Jeane as a child. Gladys told Norma Jeane her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford. Marilyn talked about this in her autobiography “My Story”, the photo she had of Gifford reminded her of Clark Gable. It is not confirmed if he was actually her father, but it is the most likely.

savanna December 2, 2015 at 7:12 am
savanna November 29, 2015 at 6:32 pm
celebfan May 25, 2015 at 5:18 pm

It’s known where Marilyn Monroe and her possible fathers are. Why hasn’t anyone done a DNA test yet?

Holly12 November 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Ethni couldn’t you put a better picture of Marilyn Monroe up. That picture doesn’t show how truly beautiful she was at all! Thank-you! :)

ethnic November 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

how about this one?

Holly12 November 24, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thank-you for changing it Ethni, but how about a more HD photo of her, like this one >

Holly12 November 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm
ethnic November 24, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Those two are nice but Im not sure if they are protected by copyright

Petrarca May 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

There was always doubt whether he Norwegian father was her real father. So her Norwegian heritage is questionable.

smiley August 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Agreed, she venomously denied it and claimed that her mother told her that her real father was this man she was dating around the same time. She looks very Scottish anyways. I love pictures of her with her natural hair color.

smiley August 18, 2012 at 5:48 pm
poppy March 29, 2012 at 10:15 am

Beautiful woman anyway.

nnnnn May 12, 2012 at 3:21 am

I don’t mean she was beautiful. He just had good connections

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

She suffered from manic depression and used drugs as a way to medicate her mental illness.

Dare I say that she was a slut who hooked up with one of our presidents . . .

! January 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Her real hair color is dark red/brown. That with her light eyes and complexion make her look very Celtic/Scottish, though I see some Norweigan facial features.

Maria January 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

She was a very beautiful woman.

Carolina November 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I heard she was Italian (Sicilian) but they hushed it.

Jane November 18, 2011 at 4:46 pm

who cares she isn`t that pretty did you know she had sugeries to make her self look pretty. Also blond was not her real hair color she should never have been known as the blond bombshell because that is a lie Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot are beautiful white women. My boyfriends mother looks like Brigitte Bardot as a child and if we had a duaghter she wanted us to name her Brigitte the French spelling which I like better. Anyways Brigitte Bardot is the real blond bombshell she is so pretty and Elizabeth Taylor is pretty and is a great actress compared to monroe.

Mariposa December 28, 2011 at 8:10 pm

You’re insane. Look at her pictures from when she was a teenager and hadn’t dyed her hair yet, her face looks almost the same except the slight change in her nose. She is gorgeous! Her body was a coke bottle figure and didn’t need breast implants or fat transfer to her butt like celebrities do now. They also could never use photo shop on her. So what you’re saying is ridiculous because she’s absolutely gorgeous. Jealous?

MP March 6, 2012 at 11:21 am

Actually, she was born Platinum Blonde!! Makes perfect sense that she looked so damn good that way!

Rachel Thomas November 6, 2011 at 4:55 am

Marilyn Monroe was probably of entirely British and Irish ancestry as Mortensen was not the biological father but a certain Stanley Gifford whose family emigrated from England. Marilyn always believed he was her father and it seems the mother was seeing him when she got pregnant with Norma Jeane. Her mother had British and Irish ancestry and she was even related to another blonde bombshell on that side of the family- Jayne Mansfield!

smiley December 30, 2012 at 11:39 am

Yes, I think it would make sense to put “possibly Norwegian” in the description rather than just “Norwegian” in the desciption. Marilyn always insisted her mother told her that Stanley Gifford was her biological father.


J July 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

She was born in Mexico, but her parents were definitely American…Her father worked on the Mexican railroads.

George November 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

when does it every say she was born in mexico?

Me July 16, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Could’ve sworn I read she was part French. Or maybe that had to do with not knowing who her biological father was? Because the man she considered her dad wasn’t biologically her father…or something like that.

Jason June 19, 2011 at 12:45 am
zorring March 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm

becky perez it finally came out the truth everyone tries to lie but birth certificates dont lie she was mexican, hispanic yes

.... March 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm

This one also states her real name is nancy cusumano.
It states their Italians

.... March 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm

This one states her maternal grandparents were working in mexico thats they her mother is born in mexico. they were not mexicans.

.... March 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Sorry for my grammar mistake for my last post.
read the last
I did my own research on the net, her mother was born in Piedras Negras but they were Americans who went there to work on the railways. Her mother had a broad round race, which could suggest many ethnic groups. Some sites suggest that she could be descended from Italians.

.... March 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm

This one shows her maternal grandparents birthplace
Husband: Otis Elmer Monroe
Born: 1866 at: Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN
Married: at:
Died: 22 Jul 1909 at: Patton, San Bernadino Co., CA
Father:Jacob Monroe
Mother:Mary E. Appleton
Other Spouses:
Wife: Della Mae Hogan
Born: 1 Jul 1876 at: Brusnwick, Chariton Co., MO
Died: 23 Apr 1927 at: Norwalk, Los Angeles Co., CA
Father:Tilford Marion Hogan
Mother:Jennie Nance
Other Spouses:

.... March 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm
Otis Elmer Monroe was born in 1874/5 in Indiana
Della Mae Hogan was born in 1877/8 in Missouri(Father Illinois, Mother Illinois)

Becky Perez February 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

I forgot to write correction. Mother born in mexico, came to california when she was 4

Becky Perez February 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

She was mexican-american, her mother was born in mexico. In her original birth certificate it’s states mothers birth place mexico. She was not raised with her mother, her mother came to california when she was four.

Anonymous October 1, 2010 at 10:41 am
Rex October 1, 2010 at 11:34 am

Francis Cooke, John Alden, Priscilla Mullins, William Mullins and Wife Alice. Also a descendant of Henry Howland, father of Mayflower Passanger, John Howland.

Cooke is English
Alden is English
Mullins is Irish
Howland is English

ethnic October 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

thanks anon and Rex.

Danielle August 25, 2010 at 5:42 pm

I’m also the same heritage because we are related. It’s said that she is related to the famous Munro, Monroe, Munroe clan of Scotland, that’s where the Scottish comes from.

BB August 25, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Truly an icon

izzy July 26, 2010 at 6:21 pm

what an icon love her :) R.I.P

Heather July 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

She had several plastic surgeries, look it up….she is undeniably pretty but I don’t think of her as beautiful, even with the surgery and hair coloring.

jess April 10, 2010 at 6:37 pm

her facial features really look norsk. so beautiful.

Lauren February 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm
aps February 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

I heard that she also had Jewish origin.

Anonymous February 22, 2010 at 5:00 am

She’s my idol.
I’m pretty sure she was one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood.

Kira July 26, 2010 at 7:36 pm

no lol there were many more beauties.

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