Birth Name: Mark-Paul Harry Gosselaar
Place of Birth: Panorama City, Los Angeles, California, United States
Date of Birth: March 1, 1974
Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish, German, Dutch, Indonesian
Mark-Paul Gosselaar is an American actor. He is known for playing Zach Morris on Saved by the Bell, and for his roles on the series NYPD Blue, Franklin & Bash, Pitch, The Passage, Mixed-ish, and Will Trent, in the films White Wolves: A Cry in the Wild II, The St. Tammany Miracle, Specimen, Kounterfeit, Dead Man on Campus, Heist (2015), and Precious Cargo, and in the made-for-tv movie She Cried No.
Mark-Paul is the son of Paula, a hostess for KLM, and Hans Gosselaar, a supervisor for Anheuser-Busch. His father is of half Dutch Jewish and half German descent. It is not clear whether Mark-Paul’s German ancestors were Jewish, too. Mark-Paul’s Dutch Jewish great-grandparents were murdered in the Holocaust, in 1943. Mark-Paul’s mother, who is originally from Bali, Indonesia, is of Dutch and Indonesian (Asian) background. Her maiden name, van den Brink, is Dutch. Mark-Paul has mentioned that he was at one time fluent in Dutch, as a child; his three older siblings were born in The Netherlands. Pictures of Mark-Paul with his mother can be seen here and here.
Mark-Paul is married to advertising executive Catriona McGinn. He has two children with his former wife, model Lisa Ann Russell, and two children with Catriona.
About his biracial heritage, Mark-Paul has said:
I didn’t have to deal, fortunately and unfortunately, with what a lot of my bothers and sisters who are mixed had to deal with because of the way I looked… But it still didn’t mean that I still didn’t have some form of issues with where I fit in in society.
Mark-Paul’s patrilineal ancestry can be traced to his four times great-grandfather, Jacob Nathan Gosselaar, who was born, c. 1733, in Rotterdam, and to his own parents, Nathan Jacob Godslaars/Gosselen/Gosselaar and Betje/Blommetje Israel Machiel/Machial/Livirden.
Mark-Paul’s paternal grandfather was Aron “Arie” Gosselaar (the son of Hartog “Herman” Gosselaar and Hester van Emden). Aron was a Dutch Jew, and was born in The Hague, in The Netherlands. Aron’s parents both came from old Dutch Jewish families, with traceable genealogy in The Netherlands going back to the 1700s. He also had more distant German Jewish, Danish Jewish, and Polish Jewish ancestry. Mark-Paul’s great-grandfather Hartog was the son of Nathan Gosselaar and Vrouwtje Hijman de Jong. Hester was the daughter of Clara van Emden. Mark-Paul’s paternal great-grandparents Hartog and Hester both died in The Holocaust. They were killed in the Sobibor extermination camp, in Nazi-occupied Poland, on April 9, 1943.
Mark-Paul’s paternal grandmother was Ida Ferdinande/Ferdinanda “Itty” Kosel/Kossel (the daughter of Johann Kosel and Maria Theodore Elisabeth Söte). Ida was German, and was born in Paderborn, Detmold, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is not clear if Ida was Jewish or not.
Mark-Paul is a ninth cousin of Dutch actor Michiel Huisman, through their shared Dutch Jewish eight times great-grandparents, Samuel/Salomon/Shlomo Zalman Jacob Speyer, who was born in Speyer, Germany, and Abigael Bele/Bonele Jacob Genzchen Levie, who was born in Amsterdam.
Sources: Mark-Paul mentions some of his background, in The Washington Post, 2008 – http://www.washingtonpost.com
Family history of Mark-Paul Gosselaar – https://www.hollywoodancestry.com
Genealogy of Mark-Paul Gosselaar (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com
Genealogy of the Jewish Gosselaar family in The Netherlands – http://www.vandenhaak.com
Marriage record of Mark-Paul’s paternal grandparents, Aron “Arie” Gosselaar and Ida Ferdinande/Ferdinanda “Itty” Kosel/Kossel – https://www.familysearch.org
Genealogy of Mark-Paul’s paternal grandfather, Aron “Arie” Gosselaar – http://levie-kanes.com
Genealogy of Mark-Paul’s paternal grandfather, Aron “Arie” Gosselaar (focusing on his own mother’s side) – http://www.genealogieonline.nl