Jerusha Hess

Hess in 2013, photo by s_bukley/

Birth Name: Jerusha Elizabeth Demke

Place of Birth: U.S.

Date of Birth: July 12, 1980

Ethnicity: English, German, Norwegian, Swedish, Swiss-German, Scottish, Welsh, Manx

Jerusha Hess is an American filmmaker. Jerusha and her husband, Jared Hess, are filmmaking partners. They are known for their work on movies Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre, and Gentlemen Broncos, directed by Jared, and Austenland, directed by Jerusha.

Jerusha and Jared have four children. They were both raised in Mormon (LDS) families.

Jerusha’s paternal grandfather was Joseph Raymond Demke (the son of Ernst Franz Karl August Demke and Meta Mathilde Margaretha Zigahn). Joseph was born in Utah, to parents from Germany. Ernst was the son of Johann Heinrich August Demke and Henriette Friederike Ernestine Auguste Godau. Meta was the daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm Zigahn and Mathilde Minna Maria Fischer.

Jerusha’s paternal grandmother was Marian Reynolds (the daughter of George Sellers Reynolds and Maryan Rees). Marian was born in Utah. George was born in Utah, the son of Joseph Darnbrough Reynolds, who was English, and of Samantha Jane Sellers. Maryan was born in Utah, the daughter of Joseph Alexander Rees, who was Welsh, and of Christina Amelia Hessell, who was Swedish.

Jerusha’s maternal grandfather was Charles Hamlin Osborn (the son of William Wallace Osborn and Alice Mabel Hamlin). Charles was born in Utah. William was born in Idaho, the son of David A. Osborn and Nancy Thorn. Alice was born in Massachusetts, the daughter of Peter Hamlin, who was Swedish, and of Anna Octavia Tellefsen, who was Norwegian.

Jerusha’s maternal grandmother was Daphne Smart (the daughter of Lorenzo Smart and Nellie Elizabeth Schenk). Daphne was born in Utah. Lorenzo was born in Utah, the son of Thomas Smart, whose parents were English, and of Catherine Alvenia Hatch, whose mother was English. Nellie was born in Utah, the daughter of Friedrich Schenk, who was from Switzerland, and of Annie Rebecca Quibell, who was English.

Jerusha is a fourth cousin of actress Michelle Williams, and a fourth cousin, once removed, of actor Aidan Gallagher. Jerusha’s maternal great-great-great-grandparents, Samuel Schenk and Magdalena Aebersold, were also Michelle’s maternal great-great-great-grandparents and Aidan’s paternal great-great-great-great-grandparents.

Sources: Genealogy of Jerusha Hess (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Obituary of Jerusha’s maternal grandfather, Charles Hamlin Osborn –

1 Response

  1. andrewcoe says:

    She is also a third cousin to Elizabeth Smart, kidnapping victim and advocate.

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