Ansel Elgort

Target's "Falling For You" New York City Premiere - Arrivals

Elgort in 2012, photo by PR Photos

Birth Name: Ansel Holby Elgort

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

Date of Birth: March 14, 1994

*father – Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish
*mother – Norwegian, as well as English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and German

Ansel Elgort is an American actor, DJ, singer, and music producer. His DJ name is Ansølo. He is known for starring in the films The Fault in Our Stars, Baby Driver, and The Goldfinch. He is the son of Grethe Barrett Holby, an opera director, and Arthur Elgort, a fashion photographer. His sister, Sophie Elgort, is also a photographer.

Ansel’s father is of Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Ansel’s mother has English, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and German ancestry on one side, and Norwegian on the other.

On his surname, which is Russian Jewish, Ansel has said:

I think it’s Russian. His father was a Russian Jew who fled and was an immigrant in New York City and grew up in Washington Heights. My dad grew up in Washington Heights. I grew up in New York in Manhattan. So we’re purebred New Yorkers.

Ansel has released a song, To Life (2015), with a Bar Mitzvah theme, mixing electronic and klezmer music.

Ansel was named after photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams.

Ansel’s paternal grandfather was Henech “Harry” Elgort (the son of Samuel Shimel Elgort and Etel/Ethel/Etta Ushomesky Schumerska). Henech was a Jewish emigrant from Roternissel, Russia. Samuel was born in St. Petersburg, the son of Mottel Elgort and Bloom. Etel was the daughter of Tellig Ushomesky Schumerska and Thena Kiratt.

Ansel’s paternal grandmother was Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff (the daughter of Rafael Didimamoff and Katharine/Katherine/Katarzyna/Catherine/Katherina Kurtz). Sophie was born in New York, to a father from the Caucasus region and a mother from Lemberg, Austria, now in Lviv, Ukraine. Ansel’s grandmother’s exact heritage is not clear. She had a Catholic funeral (she re-married to a Catholic). It is not clear if she was of Jewish heritage, but it is possible, given her emigrant roots in Lviv and the surname Kurtz.

Ansel’s father attended a Jewish summer camp, Camp Windsor, c. the late 1940s. A picture can be seen here.

Ansel’s maternal grandfather was Warren Barrett Holby (the son of John Duncan Holby and Alice Quimby). Warren was born in Connecticut, and was a founding partner of Merritt & Holby, a housing development firm. John was the son of Frank Regnault Savoy Holby and Margaret Jane Duncan Avil, who was born in Iowa, to a father from England and a mother who lived in Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Ansel’s great-grandmother Alice was the daughter of Charles Linneaus Quimby and Kittie Moore.

Ansel’s maternal grandmother was Aase-Grethe Hall (the daughter of Wegard Hall and Margrethe Olsdatter Mauset). Aase-Grethe was Norwegian, born in Oslo; during World War II, she worked for the Resistance and the Norwegian government-in-exile, and helped save Jews from the Holocaust, including many children. Aase-Grethe was imprisoned in the Falstad concentration camp by the Nazis for these activities. She married Ansel’s American grandfather after World War II and moved to New York. In New York, she was a member of the American-Scandinavian Society Social Committee, and of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church. Ansel’s great-grandfather Wegard was born in Næs, Jodalen, Valdres, Oppland. Ansel’s great-grandmother Margrethe was born in Mausetgården, Surnadalsøra, Surnadal, Møre og Romsdal, the daughter of Ole Ingebrigtsson Mauset and Maria/Marie Engelsdatter Husby.

Sources: Family history of Ansel Elgort –

Genealogy of Ansel Elgort –

Ansel’s paternal grandmother, Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff, on the 1910 U.S. Census –
Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Sophie/Sophia Didimamoff on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Ansel’s paternal grandmother, Sophie/Sophia (Didimamoff) Elgort Bednarczyk –

Genealogy of Ansel Elgort (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Ansel’s maternal grandfather, Warren Barrett Holby, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Ansel’s maternal grandfather, Warren Barrett Holby –

Ansel’s maternal great-grandfather, John Duncan Holby, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Ansel’s maternal grandmother, Aase-Grethe (Hall) Holby –

35 Responses

  1. madman says:

    Margaret Jane Duncan Avil was born in Iowa, to an English father and an Irish mother. Since her mother’s surname was “Duncan”, she was likely of Scots-Irish Protestant background.

  2. ashash says:

    He’s a handsome man.

  3. bearboy says:

    Why did you tag him as “Eastern European?” The only ancestry he has from Eastern Europe is Polish Jewish and I keep getting told Jews have little to know ancestry from the places they most recently lived in.

  4. celebfan says:

    I knew he had Norwegian ancestry, but the brown eyes threw me off until I read about his father’s descent.

  5. cwm85 says:

    Knew had had Jewish ancestry with that surname.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.