Marilyn Monroe

Madagascar postage stamp of Marilyn Monroe, printed c. 1999, photo by gors4730/

Birth Name: Norma Jeane Mortenson

Date of Birth: June 1, 1926

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Death: August 5, 1962

Place of Death: Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.

*mother – English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh
*biological father – unclear

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model, and singer. Her half-sister is author Berniece Baker Miracle.

Marilyn’s mother, Gladys Pearl (Monroe), had English, as well as Scottish, Irish, and Welsh, ancestry. A DNA test of a relative of Marilyn’s maternal grandfather established Marilyn as a descendant of a soldier from the area around Tain, Scotland, who was exiled to America after the English Civil War, in the mid-17th century.

Norma’s mother listed her ex-husband, Martin Edward Mortensen, as Marilyn’s biological father on her birth certificate, though they had been separated for some time. It is not clear if Martin was Marilyn’s biological father. Marilyn’s mother later told her that her biological father was Charles Stanley Gifford. Marilyn talked about this in her autobiography My Story, published in 1974. Martin Mortensen was of Norwegian descent. Charles Stanley Gifford, who was from Newport, Rhode Island, had English, Scottish, French, and Irish ancestry. A genealogy of Charles can be seen here.

Monroe converted to Judaism before her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, in 1956. She practiced Judaism after their divorce.

Marilyn’s maternal grandfather was Otis Elmer Monroe (the son of Jacob Monroe and Mary E. Appleton). Otis was born in Indiana. Jacob was the son of William Monroe and Mary C. Marilyn’s great-grandmother Mary was the daughter of James Appleton and Elizabeth Jane Smith.

Marilyn’s maternal grandmother was Della/Delia Mae Hogan (the daughter of Tilford Marion Hogan and Charlotty/Charlotte Virginia “Jennie” Nance). Della was born in Missouri. Tilford was the son of George Washington/Willis Hogan and Sarah Ann/Anne Owen/Owens. Charlotty was the daughter of Levi Nance and Sarah Caroline Jones.

Sources: Book biography of Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed, 2007 –

Article about Marilyn’s Scottish ancestry –

Article about Marilyn’s conversion to Judaism –

Genealogies of Marilyn Monroe –

Genealogy of Marilyn’s mother –

Find A Grave page of Marilyn’s possible biological father, Charles Stanley Gifford –
Genealogy of Charles Stanley Gifford –


Curious about ethnicity

65 Responses

  1. savanna says:

    Article on Monroe’s Scottish ancestry:

    “DNA research by the Clan Munro USA has found that Monroe was descended from a soldier from the area who was exiled to America after the English Civil War… It found a link to John Munro, a soldier from the area around Tain, who traveled to America in the mid-17th century.”

  2. fuzzybear44 says:

    much respect to her, she did a great thing for another great lady

  3. neiltennant says:

    im sure her father was jewish

    • savanna says:

      Why’s that? Numerous Marilyn biographies have looked into the case of her biological father. Marilyn’s mother told her it was Charles Gifford and Marilyn made several attempts to contact Gifford to no avail, he had moved on with his own life and family. Marilyn’s half-sister Berniece (she and Marilyn have different fathers) wrote in her book that she asked their mother who Marilyn’s father was and she was told Gifford. Charles Gifford was not Jewish.

      • ses101 says:

        If Gifford was his real name then that is another Scottish name. It originates not far from where I come from.

        • ses101 says:

          EDIT: The name Gifford actually first originated in England. I stand corrected!

          • neiltennant says:

            names dont mean anything

            you know that Jews in the US changed their names

            LEJIBSON became LAWSON
            MATTOWICZ became MATHIEU
            LARRY KING changed name

            the three stooges were all Jewish

            and the same with the fake anglo names like GILFORD etc.

    • ses101 says:

      Neiltennant – Yeah , well there is no mention of this Gifford guy being Jewish. What is your obsession wth claiming so many people are Jewish?

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