Birth Name: Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse
Place of Birth: Point Reyes, Marin, California, United States
Date of Birth: May 21, 1974
Ethnicity: German, English, distant Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Welsh, and Dutch
Fairuza Balk is an American actress, musician, and visual artist. She is known for starring in the films Return to Oz, The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick, Valmont, Gas Food Lodging, Imaginary Crimes, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, The Craft, The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), American History X, The Waterboy, Almost Famous, Deuces Wild, Personal Velocity: Three Portraits, Don’t Come Knocking, Wild Tigers I Have Known, Humboldt County, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans; and on television’s The Worst Witch, Ray Donovan, and Paradise City. She has released alternative/indie music under the name Armed Love Militia.
Fairuza’s father, Solomon Feldthouse (born David Earle Scaff), a folk musician, was originally from Pingree, Idaho, and had English, and smaller amounts of Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Welsh, and Dutch, ancestry. Fairuza’s mother, Cathryn Balk, a dance teacher, is from California, and is of half German and half English ancestry.
Fairuza has stated that her father had Romani and Cherokee Native American ancestry, and that her mother has Irish and French ancestry. Most, or all, of this statement is not accurate. Fairuza’s father, who was born under the surname Scaff and later changed his surname to Feldthouse, had no documented Romani or Native American ancestry; Fairuza’s nephew said of his grandfather, “he play[ed] it up that he [was] a gypsy but [was] probably just a wannabe.” Fairuza’s mother is not predominantly of Irish or French descent. The surname Feldthouse comes from a man named Harry Walter Feldthouse, an Illinois-born man whose parents were Danish immigrants; it appears that Harry was Fairuza’s father’s stepfather.
Her first name, Fairuza, is a Persian and Arabic name meaning “Turquoise,” “Victory,” or “precious one,” although she is not herself of Persian or Arabic ancestry.
Fairuza is a first cousin, once removed, of actress and singer Debra Monk. Fairuza’s paternal great-grandmother, Octavia/Tava Garnet Weaver, was also Debra’s paternal grandmother.
Fairuza’s paternal grandfather was David Stanley Scaff (the son of David Scaff and Octavia/Tava Garnet Weaver). Fairuza’s grandfather David was born in Ohio. Fairuza’s great-grandfather David was the son of William Littleton Scaff and Melcina/Melsena Jefferson. Octavia was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin/Frank Weaver and Anna Laura Greenslaite/Greenslate.
Fairuza’s paternal grandmother was Mary Lorraine Cole (the daughter of Earl Forest Cole and Vera P. Polston). Mary Lorraine was born in Missouri. Earl was the son of Amos Harley Cole and Mary Ellen Giddens. Vera was the daughter of Asa/Asel Marion Polston/Poulson/Polson and Mary Melissa Medlin.
Fairuza’s maternal grandfather was Frederick Franklin “Fred” Balk (the son of Alfred Balk and Emma Matilda Schmidt). Frederick was born in Illinois or Minnesota. Alfred was born in Illinois, to German parents, Dirk Balk and Harmke Hinrichs Lübben. Emma was born in Minnesota, also to German parents, Hermann Schmidt and Meleta.
Fairuza’s maternal grandmother was Lavergne Leoni/Leone White (the daughter of Wilson Bradford White and Leoni Irene Rolfe). Lavergne was born in California, and had English ancestry. Wilson was the son of Wilson Salmon White and Ella Virginia Tully. Leoni was the daughter of Amos Rolfe and Delight Blakeslee.
Sources: Fairuza writes about the persecution of the Roma – http://www.fairuza.com
Fairuza’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Marriage record of Fairuza’s paternal grandparents, David Stanley Scaff and Mary Lorraine Cole – https://familysearch.org
Marriage record of Fairuza’s paternal great-grandparents, David Scaff and Octavia/Tava Garnet Weaver – https://familysearch.org
Fairuza’s paternal great-grandmother, Vera P. Polston, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Fairuza’s paternal great-great-great-grandfather, Greenbury Polson/Poulson/Polston, on the 1850 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Marriage record of Fairuza’s maternal grandparents, Frederick Franklin “Fred” Balk and Lavergne Leoni/Leone White – https://familysearch.org
Fairuza’s maternal grandfather, Frederick Franklin “Fred” Balk, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Death record of Fairuza’s maternal grandfather, Frederick Franklin “Fred” Balk – https://www.familysearch.org
Fairuza’s maternal grandmother, Lavergne Leoni/Leone White, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Fairuza’s step-grandfather, Harry Walter Feldthouse, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Some notations on Solomon Feldthouse’s background – http://ofgraceandsin.tumblr.com