Audrey Hepburn

Hepburn in trailer for ”Roman Holiday”, 1953

Birth Name: Audrey Kathleen Ruston

Date of Birth: 4 May, 1929

Place of Birth: Ixelles, Belgium

Date of Death: 20 January, 1993

Place of Death: Tolochenaz, Vaud, Switzerland

*father – English, Austrian and/or German, possibly Czech
*mother – Dutch [including Frisian], as well as 1/128th French, remote English

Audrey Hepburn was a Belgian-born, Dutch-raised, British actress, model, dancer, and humanitarian. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Roman Holiday (1953). Her films also include Sabrina, Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and My Fair Lady, among others.

Audrey’s father, Joseph Victor Anthony Ruston, was born in Úžice/Auschiz, Bohemia, and was of English and Austrian and/or German, as well as possibly Czech, descent.

Audrey’s mother, Ella, Baroness van Heemstra, was Dutch. Audrey’s mother was of almost entirely Dutch descent, including Frisian, and had some remote non-Dutch roots (Audrey’s mother had 1/128 French ancestry, as well as remote English roots on a similarly distant level).

Audrey had stated that she was of half Irish and half Dutch descent, though she was evidently not of Irish ancestry.

Audrey had a son, producer and writer Sean Hepburn Ferrer, with her former husband, American actor, director, and producer Mel Ferrer; and a son with her former husband, Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti. Audrey’s granddaughter is model and artist Emma Ferrer.

Audrey was sometimes said to have some degree of Jewish ancestry on her mother’s side. No Jewish ancestors have of yet been verified/documented for Audrey’s family.

Audrey’s paternal grandfather was Victor John George Ruston (the son of John Joseph Ruston and, evidently, of Barbara Victoria Belha). Audrey’s great-grandfather John was English, and is usually stated as having been born in London or in Poplar, near London, the son of John J. Ruston.

Audrey’s paternal grandmother was Anna Juliana/Julianna Franziska/Francisca Karolina/Carolina Wels/Wells/Welsová (the daughter of Antonius/Anton Wels/Wells and Carolina Schütz). Anna was born in Kovarce, south-western Slovakia, and was of Austrian and/or German descent.

Audrey’s maternal grandfather was Aarnoud Jan/Johan Anne Aleid, Baron van Heemstra (the son of Willem Hendrik Johan, Baron van Heemstra, and of Wilhelmina/Wilhelmine Cornelia de Beaufort). Aarnoud was born in Vreeland, Utrecht. He was a nobleman, jurist, and politician, who served as mayor of Arnhem, from 1910 to 1920, and Royal Governor of Suriname, twice, between 1921 and 1928. Audrey’s great-grandfather Willem was the son of Frans Julius Johan van Heemstra, Baron van Heemstra, and of Henriëtta Philippina/Philippine Jacoba, Baroness van Pallandt. Wilhelmina was the daughter of Arnoud Jan de Beaufort and Anna Aleida Stoop.

Audrey’s maternal grandmother was Elbrig Wilhelmina/Wilhelmine Henriette, Baroness van Asbeck (the daughter of Gerrit Ferdinand, Baron van Asbeck, and of Caroline/Carolina van Hogendorp/Hoogendorp). Elbrig was born in Almelo, Almelo, Overijssel. Gerrit was the son of Tjalling Minne Watze van Asbeck, tot Bergen en Munsterhausen, and of Elbrig Roos van Bienema. Caroline was the daughter of Graaf Dirk/Willem van Hogendorp/Hoogendorp and Marianne Cathérine van Hogendorp.

One of Audrey’s maternal six times great-grandfathers, Henri Collot D’Escury, was French. One of Audrey’s maternal eight times great-grandfathers, George Clifford, was English. Adurey’s mother had another line of English ancestry on a similarly distant level.

Audrey’s matrilineal line can be traced to her great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Clara Maria Christoffers.

Sources: Genealogies of Audrey Hepburn –

Information on Audrey’s paternal grandmother, Anna Juliana Franziska Karolina Wels/Wells/Welsová –

Baptismal record of Audrey’s paternal grandmother, Anna Juliana Franziska Karolina Wels/Wells/Welsová –

Genealogy of Audrey Hepburn (focusing on her mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

150 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Btw, a turnaround by People about her mother’s side: from “part Jewish” (article above) to Nazi supporter:

  2. FLASHP01NT says:

    Based on her appearance, IMO, Audrey Hepburn is at least 10-20% Jewish. It’s especially visible in her nose. Additionally, her face has many asian features: including a forward set eye and flat browridge, a lateral flare and a Mesorrhine nose. Based on her own comments: her extended family was of partial Jewish ancestry and her immediate family was forced to lie about their ethnicity to avoid persecution during the holocaust.

  3. jonasbttencourt says:

    I would put just german instead of this “Austrian and/or German” mess. Austrians have almost always been ethnically german, especially back in the day (in this case, Audrey’s recent ancestry). Austrians who are non-german ethnically are still a minority today, and were even smaller then. It’s the same case of the whole “northern Irish” business, it’s pretty much just scottish people living in Ireland. Austrians, for the most time, are just germans living in a smaller, cozier spot nearby their homeland.

    • andrew says:

      When will you stop trolling European citizens? Get back to the favela.

      • jonasbttencourt says:

        Ownn you are adorable, im afraid i can’t “go back to the favela” since i never been to one, see, if this was suppose to be a joke, i must they you that it did not worked, you just came across as an overly emotional, ignorant xenofobe who just can’t stand others outside your little echo chamber having the right to an opinion. You, and the other members of my fan club on this site can keep crying again, and again, and again. Nobody is gonna intimidate me or insult me out of this site, i will keep posting comments whenever i want. The completely gratuitous insults from you and others that i suffer on this site basically every time i post something mildly provocative (especially in regards to the “immaculate” europeans) really shows that i am not the troll here at all. This type of behavior serves as a remider of the everlasting prejudice that north america and europe always held against the lower half of the world. I only hope that you guys can read history a little more and try to be happier, instead of this bunch of bitter, aggressive, and bigoted young men.

      • md65 says:

        jonas says a lot of bull—-, but that’s xenophobia. tone down.

      • angiemorton says:


  4. Gavinboi says:

    Might be a better clearer to read if parent specific::

    *father – English, Austrian/German, possibly Czech
    *mother – Dutch [including Frisian], as well as 1/256 French, remote English

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