Keri Russell

FX's "The Americans" Season One New York City Premiere - Arrivals

Russell in 2013, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Keri Lynn Russell

Place of Birth: Fountain Valley, Orange, California, United States

Date of Birth: March 23, 1976

Ethnicity: English, along with German, Swiss-German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Manx/Isle of Man, Dutch, Danish

Keri Russell is an American actress and dancer. She is known for her roles in the films Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, The Curve, Mad About Mambo, We Were Soldiers, The Upside of Anger, Mission: Impossible III, Waitress, August Rush, Bedtime Stories, Extraordinary Measures, Goats, Austenland, Dark Skies, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Free State of Jones, Antlers, and Cocaine Bear, and on the shows Felicity and The Americans.

She is the daughter of Stephanie and David Harold Russell. Much of her ancestry is English, with smaller (to varying degrees) amounts of German, Swiss-German, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Manx (Isle of Man), Dutch, and Danish. Many of her ancestral lines trace back to New England of the 1600s, and to England before that.

Keri is married to Welsh actor Matthew Rhys. She has two children with her former husband, carpenter Shane Deary; and a son with Matthew.

Keri once stated, “I had all my Jewish grandmothers calling.” The reference was evidently humorous (with “all” her “Jewish grandmothers” referring to worried friends). Keri’s religious background is LDS (Mormon), with many Utah-born relatives.

Keri’s paternal grandfather was named Harold Edward Russell.

Keri’s paternal grandmother was Jewell Laverne Thompson (the daughter of John Asa Thompson and Belle/Bell H. Edwards). Jewell was born in Oklahoma. John was the son of Newton Washington Thompson and Sophia Elona Hawkins. Belle was the daughter of James Daniel/E. Edwards and Josephine V. “Josie” Tallent/Tallant.

Keri’s maternal grandfather was Kermit Sylvester Stephens (the son of George Walter Stephens and Harriett/Harriet Anna/Anne/Annie/Ann Colvin). Kermit was born in Arizona. George was born in Arizona, the son of William Adam Stephens and Temperance Susan Penrod. Harriett was born in Arizona, the daughter of William Wesley Colvin and Elizabeth Winsby, who was English.

Keri’s maternal grandmother was Emma Inez Fish (the daughter of Karl Joseph Fish and Mary Emma McNeil). Keri’s grandmother Emma was born in Lakeside, Navajo, Arizona. Karl was born in Pinedale, Navajo, Arizona, the son of John Lazelle Fish, whose grandfather was born in Hatley, Stanstead, Québec, Canada, to American parents, and whose mother was born in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland; and of Melvina Cheney. Keri’s great-grandmother Mary was born in Arizona, the daughter of Daniel/Dan McNeil and Emma Angenette/Angenett Hendrix/Hendries.

Keri’s matrilineal line can be traced to Erasma/Theresia Guillam, who was born c. 1783.

Sources: Genealogy of Keri Russell –

Keri’s paternal grandmother, Jewell Laverne Thompson, on the 1930 U.S. Census –
Jewell Laverne Thompson on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Keri Russell (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Keri’s maternal grandfather, Kermit Sylvester Stephens, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Keri’s maternal grandmother, Emma Inez Fish, on the 1920 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

2 Responses

  1. follers says:

    She reminds me of Natalie Portman.

  2. Jo says:

    where’s her picture? and all the comments?

    anyway, she is quite an attractive lady, and very natural-looking. I would have guessed part German.

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