Fairuza Balk

Balk in 2011, image via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

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 and musician. She is known for starring in the films Return to Oz, The Craft, and American History X, among many others.

Fairuza’s father, Solomon Feldthouse (born David Earle Scaff), a folk musician, is originally from Pingree, Idaho, and has 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 has 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, has no documented Romani or Native American ancestry (Fairuza’s nephew has said of his grandfather: “he plays it up that he is a gypsy but is 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’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 of 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

Genealogy of Fairuza’s paternal grandmother, Mary Lorraine Cole (focusing on her own father’s side) – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com

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

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23 Responses

  1. WTF says:

    she looks scary in this picture.

  2. Freerk says:

    Correction (possible): “Alfred was born in Illinois, to German parents, Dirk Gerdes Gerhard Balk and Harmka/Harmke Hinrich Lubben.”

    “Dirk Gerdes” is a complete name, Gerdes is a surname (“of Gerd”/”Gerd’s” (son)); Gerhard Balk is also a complete name; probably one name (Gerdes) is wrong. “Harmka” sounds more like a Czech name, “Harmke” is a typical Frisian/North German/Dutch name (female variety of Harm = Herman); the surname is written Lubben when Dutch and Lübben when German.

    • follers says:

      The names are listed in different ways on different family trees, including as “Dirk Gerdes Gerhd Balk”, which might be a typo.

      • Freerk says:

        Hm… you have changed the text, haven’t you? O_o

        One last correction (I promise! :D): “Emma was born in Minnesota, also to German parents, Herman Schmidt and Meleta.” When “Herman” was German and not of German descent with an anglisized name, he probably was written “Hermann”.

  3. danielle says:

    wow never knew she had persian in her.

  4. liz says:

    i definitely see the irish in her(pale complexion).

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