Birth Name: Winona Horowitz
Place of Birth: Olmsted, Minnesota, United States
Date of Birth: October 29, 1971
*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*Belgian/Walloon, German, English, Irish (mother)
Winona Ryder is an American actress. A Golden Globe winner, she is known for starring in the films Beetlejuice and Little Women, among many others.
She was given her first name after a city near her hometown, in Minnesota. Her parents are Cynthia V. (née Istas), an author, video producer, and editor, and Michael D. Horowitz, an author and archivist.
Her father is Jewish (his family emigrated from Romania, Russia, and Belarus). Many of her father’s relatives died in the Holocaust. Winona’s mother’s maiden name, Istas, is found in Belgium. Winona’s mother is of English, Belgian/Walloon, German, and Irish ancestry.
Winona’s father is an atheist and Winona’s mother is a Buddhist. Winona has identified herself as Jewish, at least in an ethnic sense.
Winona’s paternal grandfather was Sol Horowitz (the son of Louis Jorge Tomchin and Mary Yetta Friedland). Sol was born in Minsk, Belarus, to Jewish parents. His family’s surname was changed from Tomchin to Horowitz. Louis was the son of Leib Tomchin.
Winona’s paternal grandmother was Ethel Frankel (the daughter of Joseph Frankel and Bertha Yuffe). Ethel was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Romanian Jewish parents, from Botoșani. Joseph was the son of Aaron Frankel and Gitza Rivka Godel. Bertha was the daughter of Avram Yuffe and Perla Weidenfeld.
Winona’s maternal grandfather was Everett Frank Istas (the son of William Paul Istas and Edna Frances Bennett). Everett was born in Shawno, Wisconsin. William was born in Wisconsin, the son of a Belgian father, Frank Alphonsius Istas, who had at least partial Walloon ancestry, and of a mother, Ida Zachou/Zachow, who was born in Wisconsin, to German parents, with her own mother being from Bergrade, Parchim, Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Winona’s great-grandmother Edna was born in Collingwood, Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, the daughter of English parents, Eli Brian Bennett, from Ringwood, Hampshire, and Frances Maria/Myva Halfred/Halford, from Ross, Herefordshire.
Winona’s maternal grandmother was named Margaret. Margaret was born in Illinois.
Sources: Interview with Winona Ryder about her Jewish background – https://jewishjournal.com
Genealogy of Winona Ryder – http://www.geni.com
Winona’s maternal grandfather, Everett Frank Istas, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Death record of Winona’s maternal grandfather, Everett Frank Istas – https://www.familysearch.org
Death record of Winona’s maternal great-great-grandmother, Ida (Zachou/Zachow) Istas – https://www.familysearch.org