Italian Jewish

Leslie Bega

by stlucas on December 8, 2017

Birth Name: Leslie Rae Bega

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: April 17, 1967

*Sephardi Jewish (father)
*Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

Leslie Bega is an American actress.

Leslie is the daughter of Marlene Ruth (Feldman) and Izahar/Ezehar/Isahar Dick Bega. Leslie’s parents were Jewish; Leslie’s father is from a Sephardi Jewish family and Leslie’s mother is of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry.

Leslie’s paternal grandfather was Ghedit Isahar Bega. Ghedit was born in either Italy or Turkey, to a woman surnamed Abelda.

Leslie’s paternal grandmother was Rachel/Raechel Notrica (the daughter of Isaac Notrica and Sarah Mazalto Bardavid). Rachel was a resident of Rodos, Turkey (Rhodes, now Greece), and her nationality was listed as “Italian, Hebrew”.

Leslie’s great-grandfather Isaac was the son of Buhor Moshe Notrica and Sarah Notrica, who was also from Rhodes, Greece. Leslie’s great-grandmother Sarah was the daughter of Abraham “Abramachi” Bardavid and Rachel Israel.

Leslie’s maternal grandparents were Abraham “Abe” Feldman and Anne Heyman. Abraham and Anne were from Russia.

Sources: Birth record of Leslie Bega –

Marriage record of Leslie’s parents –

Genealogy of Leslie Bega (focusing on her father’s side) –

Leslie’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census –

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Tyler Young

by follers on November 1, 2017

Birth Name: Tyler Matthew Young

Place of Birth: Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

Date of Birth: December 17, 1990

*Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardi Jewish (mother)

Tyler Young is an American actor.

His mother is Jewish.

Tyler’s maternal grandfather was Donald Ratke (the son of Louis Ratke and Riwke Rose Bronstein). Donald was born in Wisconsin, to a Romanian Jewish father and a Russian Jewish mother. Riwke was the daughter of David Bronstein and Rebecca.

Tyler’s maternal grandmother was born Arline Selma Pirsch (the daughter of Jacob Jay Pirsch and Louise Melhado). Jacob was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents, Aron Solomon Pirsch and Rose Goldstein. Louise was born in Massachusetts, the daughter of English-born parents, Abraham Elias Melhado and Elizabeth Phillips, from Spitalfields, Middlesex, who were Sephardi Jews. Abraham and Elizabeth were both of Dutch Jewish descent, from Amsterdam, with some Italian Jewish ancestors. Tyler’s great-great-grandfather Abraham was the son of Elias Juda Melhado/Meljado and Leah Van Abraham Mendes. Tyler’s great-great-grandmother Elizabeth was the daughter of Philip Phillips, who was born in the Netherlands, and of Leah Abrahams.

Tyler’s matrilineal line traces back to a woman named Sarah, who was born, c. 1797, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Tyler’s brother once tweeted, “Just found out I’m exactly 50% Jewish.” He may have been referring to having taken a DNA test that showed him to be of 50% Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Tyler added, “And our grandfather speaks “Jewish”…”, perhaps referring to a census record that listed their grandfather’s language as “Jewish” (“Yiddish”).

Sources: Tyler’s maternal grandfather, Donald Ratke, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Tyler’s maternal grandmother, Arline Selma Pirsch, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Tyler’s maternal great-grandfather, Jacob Jay Pirsch, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Tyler’s maternal great-grandmother, Louise Melhado, on the 1900 U.S. Census –
Louise Melhado on the 1910 U.S. Census –


Josh Pais

by stlucas on August 30, 2017

Birth Name: Joshua Pais

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

Date of Birth: June 21, 1964

*Sephardi Jewish, Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*English, Irish, German, Swiss-German (mother, who converted to Judaism)

Josh Pais is an American acting coach, and film and television actor.

He is the son of Lila Lee (Atwill) and Dutch-born physicist and historian Abraham Pais. Josh’s father was born in Amsterdam, to Dutch Jewish parents of Sephardi (with roots in Portugal and Italy) and Ashkenazi (with ancestry in Germany and Ukraine) origin. Josh’s mother was an American of English, Irish, German, and Swiss-German descent, who converted to Judaism when marrying Josh’s father.

Josh is married to life coach and motivational speaker Marie Forleo. He is the father of actor Zane Pais, with his former wife, actress Lisa Emery.

Josh’s paternal grandfather was Isaiah/Jesaija “Jacques” Pais (the son of Abraham Pais and Naatje de Raaij). Abraham was the son of Jesaias Benjamin Pais and Rachel Meijer de Mark. Naatje was the daughter of Mozes de Raaij and Leentje Jonas Kloot.

Josh’s paternal grandmother was Kaatje P. F. “Cato” van Kleeff (the daughter of Levie van Kleef/Kleeff and Anna Swaab). Levie was the son of Isaac van Kleeff and Betje Hekster. Anna was the daughter of Machiel Samuel Swaab and Kaatje de Groot.

Josh’s maternal grandfather was Spurgeon Tennyson Atwill (the son of Lewis Franklin Atwill/Atwell and Rosetta “Rosa” Rowland). Lewis was the son of John Tennison Atwill/Atwell and Nancy Long. Rosetta was the daughter of William Thomas Rowland and Serena Arminta Billingsley.

Josh’s maternal grandmother was Helen Louise Clark (the daughter of Clifford Henry “Cliff” Clark and Grace Farmham). Clifford was the son of Henry Clark and Parley/Parlee/Paralee L. Wensted/Winstad/Winstead. Grace was the daughter of William Logan Farmham and Sarah Elizabeth Heltzell.

Sources: Genealogy of Josh Pais (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy and obituary of Josh’s maternal grandfather, Spurgeon Tennyson Atwill –

Photo by Joe Seer/


Robert Schenkkan

by stlucas on April 13, 2017

Birth Name: Robert Frederick Schenkkan, Jr.

Place of Birth: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 19, 1953

*Ashkenazi Jewish, Sephardi Jewish (father)
*English, Scottish (mother)

Robert Schenkkan is an American playwright, screenwriter, and actor.

Robert is the son of Jean Gregory (McKenzie) and Robert Frederic “Bob” Schenkkan, Sr. Robert’s nephew (brother’s son) is actor Ben McKenzie.

Robert’s father was from a Dutch Jewish family, and had both Ashkenazi and Sephardi ancestry, including more distant German Jewish, English Jewish, French Jewish, Italian Jewish, and Iranian Jewish, ancestors. He was, however, probably raised Catholic (his own parents, Robert’s paternal grandparents, likely converted from Judaism to Catholicism). Robert’s mother had English and some Scottish roots.

Robert’s patrilineal line can be traced back to Abraham Juda Schenkkan-Levie, who was born, c. 1781, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and to Abraham’s parents, Juda Eliaser Levie and Roosje Isaac, who were born in Stuttgart, Germany.

Robert’s paternal grandfather was Jozef/Joseph Schenkkan (the son of Levie Hyman Schenkkan and Roosje Ensel). Jozef was born in Amsterdam, to a Jewish family. Levie was the son of Hijman Abraham Schenkkan and Judic Levie Smit. Roosje was the daughter of Mozes Joseph Ensel and Sara Joseph Rimini, whose father was born in London, England.

Robert’s paternal grandmother was Flora/Flortje Josephine/Josefina Van Der Zyl/Zijl (the daughter of John/Izak/Isaac Van Deziel/der Zijl and Anna Eva/Theresia Wolf). Flora was born in Amsterdam, to a Jewish family. John was born in Groningen, the son of Jacob Comprecht van der Zijl and Carolina Pinias van der Velde. Anna was the daughter of Levie Wolf, who was born in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and of Rosette Levij, who was born in Koblenz, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

Robert’s great-aunt, Martha van der Zijl, died in Auschwitz (in 1943). Martha was the sister of Robert’s grandmother, Flora/Flortje Josephine/Josefina Van Der Zyl/Zijl.

Robert’s maternal grandfather was Francis “Frank” Clement McKenzie (the son of James E. McKenzie and Mary Anne Dahlia Sizemore).

Robert’s maternal grandmother was Alice Bell Beall (the daughter of William Joseph Bell Beall and Georgia Augusta Roberts).

Sources: Genealogy of Robert Schenkkan (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Robert’s father, Robert Frederic “Bob” Schenkkan, Sr. –

Obituary of Robert’s father, Robert Frederic “Bob” Schenkkan, Sr. –

Genealogy of Robert’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Hijman Abraham Schenkkan (through Hijman’s brother, Isaac Abraham Schenkkan) (focusing on his own mother’s side) –

Photo by kathclick/


Fiorello H. La Guardia

by andrew on January 14, 2017

Photo from Library of Congress

Birth Name: Fiorello Enrico La Guardia

Date of Birth: December 11, 1882

Place of Birth: Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Death: September 20, 1947

Place of Death: Riverdale, The Bronx, New York, U.S.

*Italian (father)
*Italian Sephardi Jewish (mother)

Fiorello La Guardia was an American politician. He served as Mayor of New York City, from January 1, 1934 to December 31, 1945. He was also a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York, from March 4, 1917 to December 31, 1919, and again from March 4, 1923 to March 3, 1933, and the 10th President of the New York City Board of Aldermen, from January 1, 1920 to December 31, 1921. He was a member of the Republican Party and, from 1924 to 1934, the Progressive Party.

Fiorello was the son of Irene Luzzatto (Coen) and Achille Luigi Carlo La Guardia. His father was an Italian composer, from Foggia, Apulia, and was a non-practicing Catholic. His mother was born in Rijeka, Austria-Hungary (now Croatia), and was of an Italian Jewish background. Fiorello’s parents married in Trieste, Austria-Hungary (now Italy).

Fiorello was raised an Episcopalian and practiced that religion.

Fiorello’s paternal grandparents were Raffaele La Guardia (the son of Pietro La Guardia and Colomba Ziccardi) and Rosa Di Maria/De Maria. Colomba was the daughter of Giacomo Ziccardi and Rachele Apicella.

Fiorello’s maternal grandparents were Abramo/Abram Isacco Coen and Fiorina Luzzatto. Fiorina was a member of the prestigious Italian Jewish family of scholars, kabbalists, and poets. She had among her ancestors the famous rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto. Fiorello was named after her.

Fiorello was a polyglot, being able to speak seven languages, English, Italian, French, German, Hungarian, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

Sources: Obituary of Fiorello and Fiorello’s parents –

Genealogy of Fiorello H. La Guardia –

Information about Fiorello’s father (in Italian) –

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