Claire Danes

19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Press Room

Danes in 2013, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Claire Catherine Danes

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

Date of Birth: April 12, 1979

Ethnicity: German, English, Northern Irish, Scottish, Irish, 1/32 Croatian-Italian-Austrian

Claire Danes is an American actress. She has starred on the shows My So-Called Life and Homeland, and in the films Little Women (1994), William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Brokedown Palace, The Hours, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Shopgirl, The Family Stone, Stardust, and Temple Grandin.

Claire is the daughter of Carla and Chris Danes. She is married to English actor Hugh Dancy, with whom she has three children.

A DNA test whose results were displayed on the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2023) stated that Claire’s genetic ancestry consists of:

*31% England + Northwest Europe
*27% Ireland
*19% Scotland
*18% Germanic Europe
*3% Sweden and Denmark
*2% Baltics

Genetically, she was found to have a common ancestor with singer, songwriter, and actress Alanis Morissette, through Alanis’s father.

Claire’s paternal grandfather was Gibson Andrew Danes (the son of Bert Allen Danes and Ruth F. Davison). Gibson was born in Starbuck, Columbia, Washington, and had English, Northern Irish, and Scottish ancestry. He was dean of the Yale School of Art and Architecture. He re-married to German Jewish painter and collagist Ilse Getz. Bert was born in Suamico, Brown, Wisconsin, to a father from Vermont, Andrew Burr Danes, and a mother from Maine, Elizabeth Elner “Lizzie” Decker. Bert had English ancestry, and many of his family lines had lived in the United States, and especially New England, since the 1600s. Claire’s great-grandmother Ruth was born in Westcliffe, Custer, Colorado, to a father from Northern Ireland, William S. Davison, whose own father was from Ireland and whose own mother was from Scotland; and a mother from Illinois, Jane M. Brown, whose own father was from Scotland.

Claire’s paternal grandmother was Claire Natalie Tomowske (the daughter of Ernest Tomowske and Elva May/Mae Bittner). Claire’s grandmother Claire was born in Spokane, Spokane Co., Washington. Ernest and Elva ran a national advertising business together. Ernest was born in New York, to German parents, Frederick M. Tomowske and Johanna/Johanne Warner; one census describes Frederick and Johanna as born in Poland-Russia, and it appears that they were ethnic Germans. Claire’s great-grandmother Elva was born in Oregon. Elva’s father, Henry I. Bittner, was born in Michigan or Canada, to German parents, from Darmstadt, Hesse; and Elva’s mother, Mary Elisabeth Kapser, was born in Illinois, to German parents.

Claire’s maternal grandfather was named John Stuart Hall (the son of Joseph R. Hall and Elizabeth). John was born in Paterson, Passaic, New Jersey. Joseph was born in England. Elizabeth was born in New Jersey, to Irish parents.

Claire’s maternal grandmother was Catherine Agnes Ebbert (the daughter of Peter William Ebbert and Marion H. Bradicich). Catherine was born in Glen Rock, Bergen, New Jersey. Peter was killed fighting in WWI in France, while his wife was pregnant with Claire’s grandmother; he had a distinguished military record. He was the son of Peter Shaefer Ebbert, who was born in Illinois, and had German ancestry, and of Julia A. Foy/Riley/Reiley, who was born in New York, to English parents. Claire’s great-grandmother Marion was born in New York. Marion’s father, Henry J. Bradicich, was born in New York, the son of Frances/Francis Bradicich, who was born in Fiume, Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Rijeka, Croatia, and likely had Croatian-Italian ancestry; and of Mary Francis Rahl, who was Irish. Claire’s great-grandmother Marion’s mother was Theresa Emelia Daisy Nestle, who was the daughter of Sebastian William Nestel and Elizabeth Louisa Dicker. Theresa had German ancestry.

Sources: Genealogies of Claire Danes –

Genealogy of Claire Danes (focusing on her father’s side) –

Claire’s paternal grandfather, Gibson Andrew Danes, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Claire’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth F. Davison, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Claire’s paternal grandmother, Claire Natalie Tomowske, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Claire’s paternal great-grandfather, Ernest Tomowske, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Claire’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Frederick M. Tomowske and Johanna/Johanne Warner, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Claire’s paternal great-grandmother, Elva May/Mae Bittner, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Claire’s maternal grandmother, Catherine Agnes Ebbert, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Claire’s maternal great-grandmother, Marion H. Bradicich, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Claire’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Henry J. Bradicich, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Death record of Claire’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Frances/Francis Bradicich –

22 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    So it turns out “Bradicich” family is ethnically Italian from Lussinpiccolo (see Michael Bublé and Dianne West, among others).

    It’s interesting also how Marion Bradicich other marriage was with an Italian man by whom had several children

    The Bradicichs remained on Lussino island were finally kicked out after WWII:

  2. bablah says:

    Claire’s maternal grandfather was named John
    >(the son of Joseph R. Hall and Elizabeth). John was born in New Jersey. Joseph was born in England. Catherine was born in New Jersey, to Irish parents.

  3. jonasbttencourt says:

    Her name is very brittish but i always thought that she would most likely be mostly german, given her facial features and bone structure. Great actress btw, too bad she screw up Homeland.

  4. madman says:

    “Marion’s father, Henry J. Bradicich, was born in New York, to Austrian parents, Frances Bradicich and Mary Francis Rahl”.

    This isn’t accurate. Frances was born in Austria-Hungary and Mary was Irish, as evident by the Geneanet-genealogy and every census except the one from 1910, which is the one that is linked.

    Due to the surname “Bradicich”, i’d write “1/32 Croatian or Slovenian” or something similar. The ancestor at least wasn’t Austrian.

  5. andrew says:

    Frederick Tomowske and Johanna Warner hardly were Ethnic Germans. Both are Polish surnames. Remember the Warnes Bros. were Polish-Jewish and Marylin Manson AKA Brian Warner is of Polish descent too.
    Bradichich is not an Austrian surname but it’s of Slavic (Slovenian, Croat) origin. Austria-Hungary was a blend of ethnicities back then

    • follers says:

      The Warner brothers’ original surname was something like “Wonsal”. Marilyn Manson’s paternal line goes back to Edward Warner and Rebecca Beft, who were born in Germany in the 1800s.

      The few Polish people named “Warner” I can find are Polish Jews. “Frederick” and “Johanna” are often German names. I can’t really find any other “Tomowske” families, but most censuses say this family was German.

      As for “Bradichich”, it’s also a rare name. The only thing I know is that the census says they were from Austria.

      • Freerk says:

        You both are right, in a way. It’s a question of decision between the origin of a name and the actual cultural/ethnic background.

        Linguistics: “Tomowske” is not originally a German name, the “-(s)ke” ending is not German(ic), but Slavic and often to find in Eastern Germany, probably a variant of the Polish “-ski” (but I’m not sure about that).

        History: Eastern Germany (and to some extent Poland) is a region originally settled by Germanic tribes (Goths, and others) where for nearly two thousand years several waves of Germanic and Slavic tribes settled. But the Germans dominated for the last thousand years, and the originally Slavic people were assimilated (resistance is not necessarily futile, but sometimes it makes no sense; assimilation is often an active decision).

        What we have is most probably someone with a Slavic surname/origin and a German ethnic identity and with “genetical” roots in both peoples.

        Similarly, “Bradicich” is a Southern Slavic name, regardless of where that special family settled over the times and how they identify themselves.

        • Freerk says:

          @ Andrew: The Warner Bros. may have been Polish Jews, but the name is nevertheless of German origin. Many Ashkenazim have names of German origin, even in Eastern Europe, sometimes formally adapted to the language of the country they migrated to:

          Portman, Edelman(n), Nathanso(h)n, (just the ending, of course), Landauer, Mühsam, Herzl, Zuckerberg, Zu(c)erman(n), Zucker, Rosenberg, Rosenthal, Kaufman(n), Bergman(n)/Berkman/Berman, Eisenstein (Polish-Yiddish: Ayzenshteyn, what sounds the same, but looks more Polish), Spielberg, Reich(-Ranicki – the last is a Polish part), Altschul, Hof(f)man(n), Gold(t)/Goldman(n), Ginsberg/Gintzburg etc., Li(e)berman(n), Weiss, Blum/Bloom, Blumberg/Bloomberg, Wein(berg/stein), Feldman(n) Mandelstam(m), Fried(la/änder), Koenig, Wolf(f)(sso(h)n) … just to name a little more than a few … sorry … I’m a bit of a nerd in this case …

          Btw,”Ashkenaz” is the old Hebrew/Jewish name for Germany, as a center of European Jewish life in the late Middle Ages.

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