Steve Carell

by ethnic on December 26, 2007

Birth Name: Steven John Carell

Place of Birth: Concord, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 16, 1962

*Italian, German (father)
*Polish (mother)

Steve Carell is an American actor, comedian, writer, director, and producer. He starred in the movie The 40 Year-Old Virgin and the television series The Office, among many other roles.

Steve is the son of Harriet Theresa (Koch) and Edwin A. Carell. Steve’s father’s original surname, Caroselli, was shortened to Carell. On his father’s side, Steve is of Italian and German ancestry. On his mother’s side, Steve is of Polish descent. Steve is married to actress, comedian, and writer Nancy Carell (born Nancy Ellen Walls), with whom he has two children.

While Steve has played many Jewish characters (including in three consecutive films), he is not of Jewish heritage.

Steve’s paternal grandfather was Ernest Caroselli (the son of Amanzio Caroselli and Marianna/Marsanina/Marcasciano Ricco). Ernest was an Italian emigrant, born in Bari, Apulia, Italy.

Steve’s paternal grandmother was Marie G. Egle (the daughter of August W. Egle and Mary A. Boullay). Steve’s grandmother Marie was born in New York. August was a German immigrant. Steve’s great-grandmother Mary Boullay was born in New York, the daughter of German immigrant parents, Nicholas Boullay and Jo Hanna.

Steve’s maternal grandfather was Zygmont/Zigmund/Zygmond/Sigmund Koch (the son of Joseph Koch and Crestene/Custene Pascoff). Zygmont is listed as born in Russia in one record and in Vilnius, Lithuania in another record, and was possibly of ethnic Polish descent.

Steve’s maternal grandmother was Frances Victoria Tolosky (the daughter of Tebfis/Tuffield Tolosky and Mary Brunnwyko/Burranaski/Burnak). Frances was born in New York, to Polish parents.

Sources: Genealogies of Steve Carell –

Marriage record of Steve’s paternal grandparents, Ernest Caroselli and Marie G. Egle –

Steve’s paternal grandfather, Ernest Caroselli, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Steve’s paternal grandmother, Marie G. Egle, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Steve’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Marriage records of Steve’s maternal grandparents, Zygmont/Zigmund/Zygmond/Sigmund Koch and Frances Victoria Tolosky –

Steve’s maternal grandparents, Zygmont/Zigmund/Zygmond/Sigmund Koch and Frances Victoria Tolosky, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Death record of Steve’s maternal grandfather, Zygmont/Zigmund/Zygmond/Sigmund Koch –

Steve’s maternal grandmother, Frances Victoria Tolosky, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Steve’s maternal grandmother, Frances Victoria (Tolosky) Koch –

Joe Seer /

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

bearboy November 1, 2017 at 7:29 pm

“CORRECTION’ He is 25% Italian, 25% German, 25% Polish, 25% Ashkenazi Jewish

bearboy November 2, 2017 at 6:09 am

According to records Sigmund Koch was Lithuanian Jewish.

follers November 2, 2017 at 9:15 am

Which “ records” state that he was Jewish, and how do they state it?

bearboy November 2, 2017 at 11:08 am

Now that I am looking at the record I realize I got the wrong Siegmund Koch. I got a hint under Siegmund Koch which was, “Munich, Germany, Nazi Documentation Regarding Jews, 1916-1946.” The hint was messed up because he was in the U.S. by that time. On a separate note, I don’t think Pascoff is an ethnic Polish surname.

andrew October 5, 2017 at 2:42 am

Bari -> Apulia

andrew August 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm
andrew August 21, 2017 at 4:26 pm
madman March 23, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Steve’s maternal grandmother’s parents were Rusyns (the 1910 census lists their birth places as “Rus Polish”).

His maternal grandfather was born in Vilnius. He spoke Polish on the 1920 census and Lithuanian on the 1930 census.

On the 1920 census his birth place was “Russia”, but the crossed out birth place of him and his parents is “Vilna”, which is the Rusyn spelling of Vilnius. So you might consider it evidence for Rusyn ancestry as well. Maybe they were from the same community as Sandra Dee’s grandparents.

follers March 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm

Bablah? We need your ruling on this.

madman March 23, 2017 at 2:25 pm

The number of Rusyn Americans seems to be greatly underestimated.

follers March 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Possibly. I myself tend to group in small Eastern European ethnic groups into larger and/or different ones (as the census did). So it is good to have the help of someone who is more of an expert than I am.

bablah March 23, 2017 at 2:50 pm

I’ll check this out later.
Rusyns, along with Jews had the smallest percentage of returnees to Europe from America (less than 10%, compare that to almost 50% of Italian emigrants returning to Italy). That’s one of the reasons why their numbers are so low even in Europe (other is assimilation, here in Bosnia the ratio of Ukrainians and Rusyns was 2:1 in 1910, and is 1:0 today).

madman March 23, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Figuring out how to view people’s mother tongue on familysearch has greatly improved that for me.

Rusyn for Bronson is, I think, far-fetched. Would Rusyns list their language as Lithuanian? Polish or Russian would be more understandable. And his father was from the Lithuanian countryside, which isn’t the most multiethnic area I can think of. I still think he was predominantly Lithuanian, even if some of his family names may be Polish in origin (some generations back possibly). The -avage suffix (as in “Butsavage”) seems to be Lithuanian as well.

follers March 23, 2017 at 2:31 pm

Perhaps Charles Bronson was Rusyn.

bablah March 23, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Rus Polish in the maternal grandparents case meant Polish from Russia.
See how the enumerator did the same in the other entries with Aust Polish etc.

bablah March 23, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Damn I’m dumb, haha.
Ruthenian was the official language of Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
Why didn’t I know this?

madman March 24, 2017 at 10:22 am

So what’s the conclusion? Polish?

bablah March 24, 2017 at 11:34 am

Yes, probably.

andrew June 19, 2016 at 3:26 pm
madman June 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

His mother seems to be Jewish

follers June 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Many of the names, as well as the location (around Buffalo), and many other details, clearly indicate a non-Jewish Eastern European background. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pre-1917 Eastern European Jewish immigrant to the U.S. named “Zygmont” (or, I think, “Victoria”). And of course, all the obituaries have Catholic services listed.

This is another case, like Charles Bronson, where some of the census records say Lithuania, but none of the names are Lithuanian. I wrote “Polish”, but it could be some other Eastern European ethnicity, like Belarusian. I’m not sure if Steve has commented on it.

madman June 20, 2016 at 1:56 am

“Koch” and “Pascoff” are at least not Polish names. Maybe Steve’s maternal grandfather was a convert to Catholicism who married a Polish Catholic.

follers June 20, 2016 at 5:28 am

There are some Polish Catholics with the surname “Koch”.

As for “Custene Pascoff”, it’s an odd name, but not necessarily a Jewish one. It’s probably a typo on the wedding index. The first name may have been “Christine”.

I don’t think the relative few Polish Jews who converted to Catholicism in Poland at the time would have been likely to move to the U.S. then. And if Zygmont was a Polish Jew who moved to the U.S. and converted to Catholicism there, he probably would have changed his name to something more British, not to something more Polish.

romanticcelt February 7, 2016 at 2:43 pm

“Boullay” is definitely French in origin.

Lateralus June 23, 2015 at 6:40 am

….everybody has some italian into themself ahaha

Capricious April 4, 2015 at 2:59 am

He’s got the most annoying face.

ShawntheGod July 27, 2014 at 4:37 am

Anglicized his name.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 3:05 pm

It’s more complex than the text’s surface: Koch is a German (and Ashenazi Jewish) name, while Boullay is a French name.

A German name of a person born in Russia or Lithuania means probably (but not necessarily) Jewish descent; Polish forenames don’t contradict that: it is typical for minorities in a country to chose names or name varieties of the country they live in, even (or the more) if they are not indigenious; so “ethnic Polish decent” may be (partly) wrong, but correct is: born in the state of Poland.

follers July 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm

“Koch” could come from ethnic German ancestry, or it could simply be a different spelling of a more ethnically Polish surname. Given their names, occupations, and other things, it’s unlikely Steve’s mother’s family had Jewish ancestry (almost all Polish immigrants to the U.S. at the time were either just Jewish or just Catholic).

I don’t know anything else about Nicholas Boullay, except his German birthplace.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Obviously I haven’t read this text careful enough …

“Nicholas” is also French. The German form is “Nikolaus”. mostly in the short form of “Klaus”. So one can suppose Nicholas was French or the son of French people living in Germany (or he was only born in Germany – I don’t know your sources).

[/nerd mode]

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Be sure “Koch” is no Polish name. Germans and Polish lived together (or at least in the same region) for a thousand years, so there are still many people of German descent in Poland (and of Polish descent in Germany). But the Polish usually hate the Germans (nearly as much as they hate the Russians), so no Polish would accept a German-sounding name if it’s not his or her given/family name.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Of course it’s different when a German with a Polish name or a Polish with a German name is successful in sports … than he is “one of us”!

Nikki June 22, 2014 at 11:53 am

he looks nothing like a italiano

andrew June 22, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Of course, he doesnt look like a stereotypical mobster..

Sweetpea November 18, 2012 at 2:47 pm

He is very funny imo and cute for an older guy hehe

Brian September 23, 2011 at 12:35 am

Being Jewish IS a religion but it’s also an ethnicity of people. Steve sort of looks like my dad who is exactly half Polish, half German.

Trol October 3, 2011 at 4:32 pm

And what about the first christians and Jesus himself? They were born jews and became christians.
By the way in Israel there is also christians and about 20% muslims living there who are israelis

pookerella March 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

RACE? Do you even KNOW what RACE is? You are extremely ignorant. It is a ethnic group. NOT A RACE.

Freerk July 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I presume Brian is American and you are not … refering to my experience, Americans tend to state a different “race” in the case of any discernible difference – as colour of hair, shape of nose, number of eyes or shoe size …

But to be fair: I also read posts of Europeans who told about “the French race” and so on … :(

somad July 15, 2011 at 9:23 pm

he is polish

joey August 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

His mother’s family has unusual surnames.

dee August 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

He is half, yes.

robert September 7, 2011 at 5:11 am


zuzanna July 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Koch is Polish surname, of course he can be Jewish but I don’t think he is.

ethnic April 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Thanks Dave.

Dave April 8, 2010 at 4:26 pm

BTW, if you look at the family tree link, you’ll see that Steve Carell is only 1/4 Italian. His paternal grandmother was born in the US to a German-born father and an US mother.

Dave April 8, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Notice his mother’s father was named Stanley Koch, as was his mother’s brother.

First, there’s an Ashkenazi Jewish custom not to name your children after yourself, so that’s strike one.

But, most importantly, “Stanley” used to be an incredibly common Polish Catholic-American name. I would guess maybe as many as 1 in 5 Polish Americans had that first names back in that era.

It wasn’t a very common Jewish name, on the other hand. So I would guess his mother is just of Polish Catholic background.

KC March 26, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Steve Carell is Catholic.

No February 26, 2010 at 12:44 pm

“Why don’t people realize being Jewish is a religion not the Ethnicity.”

No, it is an ethnicity too.

tyler January 4, 2010 at 8:57 am

micheal hahaha!!

ethnic November 8, 2009 at 11:20 am

Thanks for the info Guy. interesting stuff there. I agree that it seems as though there was a movement of Jewish people from western Europe, including Germany to Eastern parts like Poland. Which could explain Steves mothers German family name.
Yep and she does have a similar bio to Ed Koch but Ed one difference being that he was born in the Bronx and moved to NJ later.

thanks for the comment


Guy November 6, 2009 at 11:12 pm

The reason I think his mother is probably Jewish is the combination of her German/Jewish surname, her roots in Poland, and the fact that she’s from New Jersey. She has almost the exact same bio as former NYC mayor Ed Koch (who’s Jewish):

As to Life’s comment about Poland being mostly Catholic: Of course, that’s true. But up until the Holocaust, it was also the main center of Ashkenazi Jewry, with the largest Jewish communities of the Diaspora:

ethnic October 23, 2009 at 11:58 pm

thanks Life, Yeh I agree that Carrel’s mother was most probably not Jewish. But I can see how people can mistake Steve as Jewish.

life October 23, 2009 at 7:39 am

there are plenty of polish catholics, just because someone is from there that doesn’t mean that they are jewish. most polish people are catholic anyway. according to the cia world factbook poland is “Roman Catholic 89.8% (about 75% practicing), Eastern Orthodox 1.3%, Protestant 0.3%, other 0.3%, unspecified 8.3% (2002)”

so i would bet that she is catholic

ethnic September 25, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Its not clear whether Carells’ mother was Jewish but she was definitely from Poland.

Chick September 25, 2009 at 11:47 am

Why don’t people realize being Jewish is a religion not the Ethnicity.

Guy August 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

His mother’s maiden name is Koch, and that side of the family comes from Poland. So I’m guessing Jewish, but can’t confirm.


ethnic August 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm

Thanks Guy, great link. Ill look into the Jewish thing.

Previous post:

Next post: