Matthew Perry

Perry in 2010, image via Featureflash /

Birth Name: Matthew Langford Perry

Place of Birth: Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Birth: August 19, 1969

Ethnicity: French-Canadian, English, Irish, German, Swiss-German

Matthew Perry is an American and Canadian actor and writer. He starred on the show Friends and in the film The Whole Nine Yards.

His father, actor John Bennett Perry, who is American-born, has English, Irish, German, and Swiss-German ancestry. His mother, Suzanne Marie (Langford), who is Canadian-born, has English, Irish, and French-Canadian roots. She was a press secretary to Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Matthew’s stepfather is Keith Morrison, who was an investigative reporter for NBC Dateline.

Matthew’s patrilineal line can be traced to John Perry, who was born, c. 1588, in Hampshire, England.

Matthew’s paternal grandfather was Alton L. Perry (the son of Carl Schurz Perry and Mary Ann Gillick). Alton was born in Vermont. Carl was born in Readsboro, Vermont, and had English ancestry, the son of Crosby Alpheus Perry and Ida B. Cutler. Mary Ann was born in Massachusetts, to Irish parents, Patrick Gillick and Mary A.

Matthew’s paternal grandmother Maria Schaefer Bennett (the daughter of Ralph Stone Bennett and Lydia Hannah Schaefer). Matthew’s grandmother Maria Schaefer was born in New York. Ralph was born in Homer, New York, and had English ancestry, the son of Augustus Henry Bennett and Emma Gertrude Pratt. Lydia was born in New York, to a German father, Johannes Schaefer, and a mother, Emilie Schlachter/Schluchter, who was born in Lugano, Switzerland, of Swiss-German descent.

Matthew’s maternal grandfather was James Silas Warren Langford (the son of James Roy Warren Langford and Mary Ann Batterton). Matthew’s grandfather James was born in Ontario, Canada. Matthew’s great-grandfather James was born in Ironside, Hull, Québec, and had English and Irish ancestry, the son of Silas Samuel Langford and Emma Mary Rogan. Matthew’s great-grandmother Mary Ann was born in Ottawa, of Irish descent, the daughter of Thomas Batterton, who was born in County Wexford, Ireland, and of Mary Jane Barrett.

Matthew’s maternal grandmother was Marie Gabrielle Lucille Coupal (the daughter of Joseph Theodore Coupal and Bérangère Layeux). Marie Gabrielle was born in Québec, and was of French-Canadian ancestry. Joseph was the son of Amable Coupal and Marie Zoe Hebert. Bérangère was the daughter of Hormidas/Hormisdas Layeux and Eliza/Elisa Dallaire.

Sources: Genealogy of Matthew Perry –

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

Matthew’s paternal grandmother, Maria Schaefer Bennett, on the 1930 U.S. Census –


Curious about ethnicity

19 Responses

  1. cdonorab says:

    He also has a small amount of Native American ancestry. His great-grandfather Joseph Coupal was a descendent of Martin Prevost and Marie Anne Olivier Sylvestre whose father was a translator for Samuel De Champlain. Their marriage was first recorded between a European and a north american native.

  2. Nick says:

    Sorry to disappoint everyone, but Perry is not of English decent in the least. Perry comes from the Acadian root name “Poirier”. I live in PEI, Canada, in a small Acadian community, and we have many Perry’s and Poirier’s – all coming from the same family if you can go back far enough.

    Many Acadians, after our Deportation in 1755 and 1758, fled to the United States (or were deported there) … and a great deal went to (drum roll) Massachussetts.

    I haven’t been able to go as far back as I could with our beloved Friends’ star background, but I am determined to find it soon.

    Therefore, Matthew Perry, purely on his forefather’s side, is 100% Acadian (which people often misinterpret as loosely saying “French-Canadian”, which isn’t accurate)

  3. brighty says:

    his father’s family tree is approximately 75% english, going right back to early colonial times, and 25% german/swiss. His mother also has some english ancestors as well as irish. His maternal grandmother’s first name suggests a french connection too, but that’s just guesswork.

  4. asdfghjkl says:

    ohhh!!!! I love Matthew Perry! I seriosly loved him on the show “Friends”and I thought he was scottish…

  5. Dave says:

    Perry again another English surname

    • Liam O'Connel says:

      Alot of Irish people have English surnames

      • Alice says:

        A lot of Irish people have English surnames. Ireland was controlled by England for 800 years. It was part of the UK until 1922. There has been a lot of coming and going between the islands of Ireland and Britain. Also alot of Irish had to anglicise their names from Gaelic. An example is where a lot of McGowans became Smiths. Mac an Gabhain literally means “son of the smith”.

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