Gemma Arterton

Arterton in 2011, Featureflash /

Birth Name: Gemma Christina Arterton

Place of Birth: Gravesend, Kent, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 2 February, 1986

Ethnicity: English, as well as one eighth Jewish (matrilineal), and small amounts of German and Scottish

Gemma Arterton is a British actress. She played the title role in the BBC’s four-hour version of Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Her sister is actress Hannah Arterton.

Gemma has English ancestry, as well as a Jewish great-grandmother (her maternal grandmother’s mother, who was of Polish Jewish, with more distant Dutch Jewish, Czech Jewish, and Sephardi Jewish, ancestry). Gemma also has a small amount of German and Scottish roots.

Gemma is married to Irish actor Rory Keenan, with whom she has a son.

Gemma’s paternal grandfather is Arthur Ernest Arterton (the son of Ernest Walter/William R. Arterton and Henrietta Louisa Hall). Arthur was born in West Ham, Essex, England. Gemma’s great-grandfather Ernest was the son of William Rivett/Clarke Arterton and Emily Cook. Henrietta was the daughter of George Thomas Hall and Lydia Cocking.

Gemma’s paternal grandmother is Nellie Christina Smith (the daughter of Arthur Smith and Amy Nellie L. Pouncett). Gemma’s grandmother Nellie was born in Gravesend, Kent, England. Amy was the daughter of Alfred Pouncett and Christiana, who was German.

Gemma’s maternal grandfather is Ronald S. Heap (the son of Edwin Stanley Heap and Elsie Smith). Ronald was born in Oldham, Lancashire, England.

Gemma’s maternal grandmother was Helen Marjorie Rosina Sarfas (the daughter of Albert Charles Henry Sarfas and Jean I. Lesley, born Jean I. Specterman). Helen was born in Pancras, London, England. Albert was the son of William George Sarfas.

Gemma’s matrilineal great-grandmother Jean was the daughter of Lazarus/Louis Specterman and Marjorie Elizabeth Spiers, who were both Jewish. Lazarus was the son of Marks Specterman and Rose, who were Polish Jewish immigrants. Marjorie was the daughter of Solomon Spiers, who was of Polish Jewish descent, and of Isabella Phillips; Gemma’s great-great-great-grandmother Isabella was born in Cardiff, Wales, the daughter of Moses/Moss Phillips, who was of Polish Jewish descent, and of Flora Kisch, who was also Jewish; Flora was the daughter of Abraham de Simon Kisch and Isabella Halevi.

Gemma’s matrilineal great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Beila b Simhah or Isabella HaLevy/Halevi, was born, c. 1799, in Middlesex, England, the daughter of Simchal Halevi and Hannah Moses.

Sources: Family history of Gemma Arterton (focusing on her father’s side) –

Genealogy of Gemma Arterton (focusing on her father’s side) –

Genealogy of Gemma Arterton (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Gemma’s maternal great-great-grandfather, William George Sarfas –


Curious about ethnicity

25 Responses

  1. madman says:

    as well as a Jewish matrilineal great-grandmother —> 1/8th Jewish (matrilineal)

  2. andrew says:

    Plenty of Persian women use cosmetic surgery to look more Western European.

  3. MettaWorkPlease says:

    I knew she was too pretty to be just English

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