Betsy Russell

Birth Name: Elizabeth Russell

Place of Birth: San Diego, California, United States

Date of Birth: September 6, 1963

*75% Ashkenazi Jewish
*25% mix of German and English

Betsy Russell is an American actress. She is known for starring in 1980s teen films, chiefly Private School and Avenging Angel, and as Jill Tuck in the Saw films.

She is the daughter of Constance and Richard Lion Russell, a stock analyst and financial writer. Her maternal grandfather was journalist and educator Max Lerner.

She has two children with her former husband, professional tennis player, poker commentator, and actor Vincent Van Patten. Vincent’s father was actor and animal welfare advocate Dick Van Patten.

Betsy’s father was of German Jewish, as well as English Jewish and Dutch Jewish, descent. He was from a family that, on some lines, had lived in the United States since the 1700s, largely in South Carolina, among the first major Jewish communities in the U.S. Betsy’s maternal grandfather was a Russian Jewish immigrant, and her maternal grandmother had German, and other, ancestry.

Betsy’s paternal grandfather was Harold Henry Jacobs/Russell (the son of Henry Hart Jacobs and Katherine/Kate/Katie Alexander Goldsmith). Betsy’s grandfather Harold was born in Washington, D.C., to Jewish parents who were born in South Carolina. Betsy’s great-grandfather Henry was the son of an English-born father, David Jacobs, and of a German-born mother, Rebecca Hollander. Betsy’s great-grandmother Katherine was the daughter of Abraham Alexander Goldsmith, who was born in South Carolina, and of Rose Hilzheim, who was born in Mississippi.

Betsy’s paternal grandmother was Hortense Russell, a novelist (born Hortense Maxine Lion, the daughter of Max Lion and Carrie/Carolyn Bowman). Hortnese was born in New York. Max was the son of German Jewish parents, Andrew Lion and Ester/Esther Yankauer. Carrie was born in New York City, also to German Jewish parents, Leon Bowman and Henrietta Wolbach.

Betsy’s maternal grandfather was Max Lerner (the son of Benjamin Lerner and Bessie/Basha Podel/Podbersky). Max was born in Minsk, Belarus, then in the Russian Empire, to a Jewish family, and moved to the U.S. with his parents in 1907.

Betsy’s maternal grandmother was Anita Marburg (the daughter of Edgar Marburg and Fanny Dulany Moncure). Anita was born in Pennsylvania. Edgar was born in Hamburg, Germany, and was the son of Herman/Hermann Eduard Marburg and Clara Bertha Jurgensen. Fanny was born in Louisiana, the daughter of John Conway Moncure and Fanny Dulany Tomlin. She had British Isles/English ancestry.

Sources: Genealogies of Betsy’s father –

Betsy’s father on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Betsy’s father –

Marriage record of Betsy’s paternal grandparents, Harold Henry Jacobs/Russell and Hortense Maxine Lion –

Betsy’s paternal grandfather, Harold Henry Jacobs/Russell, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Betsy’s paternal great-grandfather, Henry Hart Jacobs, on the 1870 U.S. Census –
Henry Hart Jacobs on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Betsy’s father (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Birth record of Betsy’s paternal grandmother, Hortense Maxine Lion –

Betsy’s paternal grandmother, Hortense Maxine Lion, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Betsy’s paternal great-grandparents, Max Lion and Carrie/Carolyn Bowman –

Betsy’s mother on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Betsy’s mother (focusing on her own father’s side) –

Obituary of Betsy’s maternal grandfather, Max Lerner-

Betsy’s maternal grandmother, Anita Marburg, on the 1900 U.S. Census –
Anita Marburg on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Betsy’s maternal great-grandfather, Edgar Marburg, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Betsy’s maternal great-grandmother, Fanny Dulany (Moncure) Marburg –

1 Response

  1. jackson9 says:

    Betsy’s ethnicity should read 75% Ashkenazi Jewish, 12.5% German, 12.5% English + Scottish.
    John Conway Moncure: the son of Richard Moncure and Mary Butler Washington Conway. Richard was the son of Alice Peachy Gaskins. Mary was the daughter of John Moncure Conway and Catherine Storke Payton. John was the son of Walker Conway and Anne Moncure. Catherine was the daughter of Valentine Payton and Mary Butler Washington.
    Frances Carter Tomlin: the daughter of Williamson Ball Tomlin and Ann Catherine Carter. Williamson was the son of Walker Tomlin and Priscilla Ball.
    To conclude her maternal grandmother was only half German descent.

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