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. alexgxo says:

    If any of the moderators or people who do the write ups for people on here read this, Audrey once said she was”Half Irish/Half Dutch” when asked about her background. Though it seems like she doesn’t have any family origins in Ireland whatsoever.

    Here’s the article:

    Here’s the quote: “I’m half-Irish, half-Dutch and I was born in Belgium. If I was a dog, I’d be in a hell of a mess!” she joked of her background.”

  2. capagggez123 says:

    Keltic-Nordid with an Alpinoid-Cro-Magnon influence

  3. jaynedoe says:

    I understand that she isn’t half dutch, but to me she looks too dark to be dutch.

  4. capagggez123 says:

  5. madman says:

    I don’t see why her ancestors from Czechoslovakia are labeled “Austrian” just because the country was part of Austria-Hungary. I think they probably identified as Germans, and German-speakers from that part of the world are usually called Germans rather than Austrians.

    Also, “Belha” sounds like a Czech surname. It appears that more Czechs than Germans or Austrians carries it:

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