Matthew McConaughey

McConaughey in 2008, image via Entertainment Press /

Birth Name: Matthew David McConaughey

Place of Birth: Uvalde, Texas, U.S.

Date of Birth: November 4, 1969

Ethnicity: Irish, Scottish, one eighth German, English, 1/16th Swedish, remote Welsh

Matthew McConaughey is an American actor, producer, model, writer, and director. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club (2013). He has starred in many films, also including A Time to Kill, Amistad, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Paperboy, Mud, Magic Mike, and Gold, among others. Matthew was selected People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2005.

Matthew is the son of Mary Kathlene (McCabe) and James Donald McConaughey, who played college football, for the Kentucky Wildcats and the Houston Cougars. His father was born in Mississippi. His mother is from New Jersey. He is married to Brazilian-born model Camilla Alves, with whom he has three children. His brother is television personality Mike ‘Rooster’ McConaughey. His ancestry is Irish, Scottish, one eighth German, English, 1/16th Swedish, and remote Welsh. He has Irish roots in the Cavan/Monaghan area. Matthew’s family moved to Longview, Texas, in 1980.

Matthew’s paternal grandfather was Hugh Richard/Donald McConaughey (the son of James Donald McConaughey and Frances Louise King). Hugh was born in New Mexico, and had Scottish and English ancestry. James was the son of James W. McConaughey and Albina Dandridge McRae. Albina’s brother was Dandridge McRae, a lawyer, court official, and Inspector General of Arkansas State Troops, who was a brigadier general in the C.S.A. during the American Civil War. Albina was a cousin of Democratic politicians Colin J. McRae and John J. McRae, who was Governor of Mississippi. Matthew’s great-grandmother Frances was the daughter of John Patrick King and Sarah H. Hazlett/Harlat.

Matthew’s paternal grandmother was Barbara Claire Maitland (the daughter of Robert Smith Maitland and Julia Barbara Westerling). Matthew’s grandmother Barbara was born in Louisiana. Robert was a Scottish emigrant, born in Aberdeen, the son of Robert Maitland and Jane McDonald. Julia was the daughter of Charles Westerling, a Swedish emigrant, from Gottinbourg, and of Anna Maria Nugent/DeNugent, an Irish immigrant.

Matthew’s maternal grandfather was Walter John McCabe (the son of Walter McCabe and Adele/Adela Selma Pack). Matthew’s grandfather Walter was born in New Jersey. Matthew’s great-grandfather Walter was the son of Charles McCabe and Elizabeth McClure. The surname McCabe can be both Irish and Scottish. Adele was a German emigrant; she was born in Elberfeld, Westphalia, Prussia, the daughter of Wilhelm Gustav Pack and Johanne Friederike Wilhelmine Fasbender.

Matthew’s maternal grandmother was Gertrude M. Maher (the daughter of William Maher and Julia Catherine O’Brien). Gertrude was born in New York, to Irish parents. William was the son of Jeremiah Maher and Mary Condon. Julia was the daughter of William O’Brien, from Cork, and of Mary Hennessy/Hennessey/Henrich, from Tipperary.

Sources: Family history of Matthew McConaughey –

Genealogy of Matthew McConaughey (focusing on his father’s side) –

The following genealogy incorrectly identifies Matthew’s maternal grandparents as George Glynn McCabe and Maxine Corrick –

Genealogy of Matthew McConaughey (though only his paternal grandfather is correctly identified) –

Marriage record of Matthew’s parents –

Genealogy of Matthew’s father –

Matthew’s paternal grandfather, Hugh Richard/Donald McConaughey, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Biography of Matthew’s paternal great-great-great-uncle, Dandridge McRae –

Matthew’s paternal grandmother, Barbara Claire Maitland, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Matthew’s paternal great-grandparents, Robert Smith Maitland and Julia Barbara Westerling, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Death record of Matthew’s paternal great-grandfather, Robert Smith Maitland –

Death record of Matthew’s paternal great-grandmother, Julia Barbara Westerling –

Matthew’s aunt (his mother’s sister), Barbara I. McCabe, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Matthew’s maternal grandfather, Walter John McCabe, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Matthew’s maternal great-grandmother, Adele/Adela Selma Pack –

Birth record of Matthew’s maternal grandmother, Gertrude M. Maher –

Matthew’s maternal grandmother, Gertrude M. Maher, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Matthew’s maternal great-grandparents, William Maher and Julia Catherine O’Brien –

Matthew mentions his Irish ancestry –


Curious about ethnicity

24 Responses

  1. ShawntheGod says:

    He annoys me…

  2. andrew says:

    Killer Joe

  3. Khail Jo says:

    This guy is definitely Irish, because his last name sounds Irish.

      • follers says:

        Yes, it probably comes from a Scottish ancestor way back in the day. That line has been in the U.S. for a while.

        • scott says:

          It is quiet clear to most ppl that he is mostly Scottish even the McCabe line is Scottish yet you call it Irish

          • follers says:

            WTF are you on about? He isn’t “mostly” Scottish because he definitely isn’t over 50% Scottish. His paternal grandmother was half Scottish, and his paternal grandfather had some degree of Scottish ancestry, but, like most many-generations Americans, not that much.

            As for Matthew’s mother, it appears that she’s from an Irish-German Catholic family from New Jersey. The McCabe line is hard to trace that far back, but Matthew’s great-great-grandfather, Charles McCabe, was the son of American-born parents. When I go to Rootsweb, I find 1543 Ireland-born “McCabe”s, and 304 Scotland-born “McCabe”s (which isn’t proof of anything, of course).

            So to put it in numbers, he’s a little over 1/8th Scottish.

          • ashash says:

            Can you please make a page for Nic Pizzolatto, the creator of True Detective, follers?

          • follers says:

            I put it up.

          • Alice says:

            McCabe is definitely Irish as well. The McCabes are a Gallowglass family who came to Ireland from the Western Isles in the 13th century. They were a Norse-Gael clan. The same for other Gallowglass families in Ireland like the McSweeneys and McDonnells. They would be heavily Irish now. A lot of Scottish and Irish names have a shared and intertwined history.

  4. Jasmine says:

    Both of his parents surnames (McCabe & McConoughey) are Scottish. There is a lot of connection between the Scots and the Irish though (I’m Scottish but my mother is half-irish on her dad’s side. Her dad has a name shared between scotland and ireland). I think he must be part scottish.

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