Heath Ledger

"I'm Not There" New York Premiere Presented by The Cinema Society, Hogan and L'Oreal - Arrivals

Ledger in 2007, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Heath Andrew Ledger

Date of Birth: 4 April, 1979

Place of Birth: Perth, Western Australia, Australia

Date of Death: 22 January, 2008

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

Ethnicity: English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, 1/16th Jewish [Ashkenazi and Sephardi] (matrilineal)

Heath Ledger was an Australian actor and music video director. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for The Dark Knight (2008). He also starred in the films 10 Things I Hate About You, Two Hands, The Patriot, A Knight’s Tale, I’m Not There, and Brokeback Mountain, among others.

Heath was the son of Sally (Ramshaw) and Kim Ledger. His father’s family established and owned the Ledger Engineering Foundry. He had a daughter with his former partner, actress Michelle Williams. Heath’s ancestry was English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and, from his matrilineal great-great-grandmother, Sephardi Jewish.

Heath was descended from the Solomons, a prominent family of early Jewish settlers in Australia. Through that line, Heath was a distant cousin of Mayor of Adelaide, Judah Moss Solomon, and Premier of South Australia, Vaiben Louis Solomon.

Heath’s paternal grandfather was Colin Francis Ledger (the son of Joseph Francis “Frank” Ledger and Gladys Muriel Lyons). Colin was born in Perth, Western Australia. Sir Frank Ledger Charitable Trust is named after Heath’s great-grandfather. Frank was the son of Edson Ledger, who was born in Kirkstall, Yorkshire, England, and of Annie Frances Sumner, who was born in Lincolnshire, England. Gladys was the daughter of Oliver Charles Lyons, who was of English and Welsh descent, and of Henrietta/Hetta Hatton, whose parents were English.

Heath’s paternal grandmother was Esma Kathleen McFarlane (the daughter of William McFarlane and Isabelle Mary Urquhart). Esma was born in Northam, Western Australia. William was the son of William Stephen Hamilton McFarlane and Margaret Duplex, whose father was from Co. Kildare, Ireland. Isabelle was the daughter of Louis Frederick Urquhart, whose father was born in Woolwich, Kent, England, and of Kathleen (Kit) Conway, who was born in Clare, Ireland.

Heath’s maternal grandfather was John Wharfedale Ramshaw (the son of Harry Wharfedale Ramshaw and Olive May Lang). Harry was the son of John Atkinson Ramshaw and Marie Louise Monk. Olive was the daughter of William George Lang and Georgiana/Georgianna Usher, whose parents were English.

Heath’s maternal grandmother is Jacqueline “Jackie” Campbell (the daughter of Wallace Ross Campbell and Reta Gwen Jackman). Wallace was the son of James Campbell, who was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and of Jessie Mary McKay/Mackay, who was also of Scottish origin. Reta was the daughter of Clement Jackman and Lillian May Solomon.

Heath’s matrilineal great-great-grandmother Lillian was Jewish, of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi background. She was the daughter of Joseph Samuel Solomon and Miriam/Mariam Solomon, who were both from Jewish families from London, England. Joseph’s father, Heath’s four times great-grandfather, was Emanuel Solomon, a businessperson and politician in the early days of the Colony of South Australia.

Heath’s matrilineal line can be traced to Sara Meijer Beek, who was born, c. 1790, in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Sarah was a Dutch Jew, and was the daughter of Meijer Mozes Beek and Rachel Abraham.

Heath was a sixth cousin, three times removed, of British actor and comedian Peter Sellers. Heath’s maternal eight times great-grandparents, Daniel de David de Mendoza and Esther Lopez, were also Peter’s maternal five times great-grandparents. Daniel and Esther were Sephardi Jews. Through his Mendoza line, Heath was also a relative of boxer Daniel Mendoza, who was boxing champion of England in 1792–1795.

Sources: Celebrities with Scottish roots – http://www.holyroodpr.co.uk

Genealogy of Heath Ledger – https://www.geni.com

Marriage announcement of Heath’s maternal grandparents, John Wharfedale Ramshaw and Jacqueline “Jackie” Campbell – http://trove.nla.gov.au

Genealogy of Heath’s maternal great-grandmother, Olive May Lang – https://www.wikitree.com

Genealogies of Heath’s maternal great-grandparents, Wallace Ross Campbell and Reta Gwen Jackman – https://www.findagrave.com

Cemetery record of Heath’s maternal great-great-great-grandfather, Joseph Samuel Solomon – https://www.familysearch.org

Cemetery record of Heath’s maternal great-great-great-grandmother, Miriam/Mariam Solomon – https://www.familysearch.org


Curious about ethnicity

26 Responses

  1. jonasbttencourt says:

    What a great young talent he was, so sad he’s gone. He had that classic British&Irish that is present in pretty much every white australian, with a Jewish spice in it. Anyway, hope his daughter is doing well….

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