Amy Brenneman

"Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" Los Angeles Premiere - Arrivals

Brenneman in 2004, photo by

Birth Name: Amy Frederica Brenneman

Place of Birth: New London, Connecticut, U.S.

Date of Birth: June 22, 1964

*father – Swiss-German, German, English, Irish, Scottish
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

Amy Brenneman is an American actress, writer, and producer. Her roles include the films Heat, Fear, Daylight, Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her, Nine Lives, and The Jane Austen Book Club, and the series NYPD Blue, Judging Amy, Private Practice, and The Leftovers.

Her father’s ancestry includes Swiss-German (the origin of her surname), German, English, Irish, and Scottish. Her mother’s family was Jewish, from Germany, Russia, and Lithuania. While Amy has described herself as “half Jewish,” she is a practicing Episcopalian Christian. Her mother had joined a Congregationalist church as an adult.

Amy is married to television and film director Brad Silberling, with whom she has two children.

Amy’s patrilineal ancestry can be traced to Melchior Breniman/Bronimann/Brenneman, who was born, c. 1631, in Steffisburg, Bern, Switzerland.

Amy’s paternal grandfather was Russell Langdon Brenneman (the son of Charles Howard Brenneman and Laura Clarissa Heburn). Russell was born in Pennsylvania. Charles was the son of Charles Christian Brenneman and Mary Frances Brown. Laura was the daughter of Jake Heyburn and Clara Jane McNabb.

Amy’s paternal grandmother was Anita Marguerite Seeds (the daughter of Robert Lee Seeds and Anna Beatta Stearns). Anita was born in Ohio. Robert was the son of John Wesley Seeds and Mary Hoover. Anna was the daughter of Joseph Marion Stearns and Mary Jane Clark.

Amy’s maternal grandfather was Allen Shoenfield (the son of Abraham L. “Abe” Shoenfield and Belle Hoffstadt). Allen was born in Kentucky. Abraham was born in Kentucky, to German Jewish parents. Belle was born in Indiana, to German Jewish parents.

Amy’s maternal grandmother was Kate Friedman (the daughter of Joseph A. Friedman/Freedman and Bertha Mostovsky). Kate was a Jewish emigrant from either Russia or Lithuania.

Amy is a fourth cousin, once removed, of actor James Spader. Amy’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Jacob Nessly Brenneman, was a brother of James’s paternal great-great-grandmother Julia Brenneman.


Marriage record of Amy’s paternal grandparents, Russell Langdon Brenneman and Anita Marguerite Seeds –

Amy’s paternal grandmother, Anita Marguerite Seeds, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

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

Amy’s maternal grandfather, Allen Shoenfield, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Amy’s maternal grandmother, Kate Friedman, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

1 Response

  1. bablah says:

    She’s related to James Spader.
    Charles Christian Brenneman was the nephew of James’ great-great-grandmother Julia Anne Brenneman. That would make them fouth cousins once removed, if I’m not mistaken.

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