Alyson Hannigan

Hannigan in 2011, image via Helga Esteb /

Birth Name: Alyson Lee Hannigan

Place of Birth: Washington, D.C., U.S.

Date of Birth: March 24, 1974

*Irish (father)
*Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

Alyson Hannigan is an American actress and television presenter. She is known for playing Michelle in the American Pie films, and for her leading roles in the shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and How I Met Your Mother.

She has Irish ancestry on her father’s side. Her mother is Jewish (her family was from Poland and Russia). Alyson is married to actor Alexis Denisof, with whom she has two children.

Alyson’s maternal grandfather was Jacob R. “Jack” Posner (the son of Samuel Posner and Goldie Grossfeld). Jacob was born in Maryland, to Jewish emigrants from Eastern Europe, either Russia or Poland, depending on the census.

Alyson’s maternal grandmother is Dorothy Mendel (the daughter of Hyman Noah “Herman” Mendel and Esther Pessie Freedman). Dorothy was born in Atlanta, to Jewish parents from the Russian Empire, with roots in Latvia and Lithuania. Hyman was the son of Abraham Mendel and Sara.

Sources: Genealogy of Alyson Hannigan (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Alyson’s maternal grandfather, Jacob R. “Jack” Posner, on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Jacob R. “Jack” Posner on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Alyson’s maternal grandfather, Jacob R. “Jack” Posner –

Alyson’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy Mendel, on the 1930 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

13 Responses

  1. rafa says:

    most people got some irish ancestry

    me too also english and spanish

  2. theWife(ofMaaRhyeahhfanboi) says:

    Oh. Being Irish in America in the 1840s….

    My husband has gratiously reminded me that I’m personally old enough to remember all the “Irish need not apply” signs.

  3. theWife(ofMaaRhyeahhfanboi) says:

    Yeah. Lotsa us Irishers out there. The Potato Famine and Upper Class ( landowners loved they could seize the farms) and English greed (no one English lost a meal) left one million dead and five million of us scattered all over the place. (Many of us writing the longest and confusedest paraparenthetical sentences).

    a.k.a. Alyson Denisof. She’s married to fellow Buffy / Angel actor Alexis Denisof and have a child together.

    Thanks to her the husband (Never capitalized) has the weirdest look whenever we pass the music store…

  4. Paul. says:

    Maybe it’s due to the fact that over a million Irish emmigrated to the US during the famine?

  5. Charlene says:

    Is it just me… or is everyone fuckin Irish…??? Get hold of yourself….. Ur just American… ! HAAAWWOOOW

    • Alice says:

      I think the name Hannigan is a clue to the Irish bit. I’ve read that Irish ancestry in the US is greatly exaggerated by a lot of people. There is a lot more English ancestry than declared.

      • Alice says:

        I’m Irish myself. It would be great if people would comment as I have read that Irish ancestry is greatly exaggerated in the States. The reason being that there was a lot more English that went to the US. Also if you look at population there are about 55 million people in England (not incl Scotland, Wales and NI) and only 6 million approx in Ireland (incl NI). I think a reason could be that people have mixed ancestry and will state the Irish but not English (possibly). I’m not trying to upset anyone just interested.

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