Max von Sydow

American Cinematheque Tribute to Max Von Sydow

von Sydow in 2007, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Carl Adolf von Sydow

Place of Birth: Lund, Skåne, Sweden

Date of Birth: 10 April, 1929

Ethnicity: Swedish, with some German, remote Scottish

Max von Sydow is a Swedish actor, who has taken on French citizenship. He is the son of Baroness Maria Margareta (Rappe), a schoolteacher, and Karl/Carl Vilhelm/Wilhelm von Sydow, an ethnologist and professor of Irish, Scandinavian, and comparative folklore. Aside from his Swedish background, he has some German ancestry, from both of his parents, and remote Scottish roots.

Max is married to Catherine Brelet. He has two children with Catherine, and two children with his former wife, actress Christina Inga Britta Olin.

Max’s patrilineal ancestry traces back to Christian Fredrik von Sydow, who was born, c. 1714, in Germany. He also has Scottish ancestry dating back to the 1600s.

Max’s paternal grandfather was Otto Ludwig/Ludvig von Sydow (the son of Daniel Peter von Sydow and Anna Charlotta Butsch/Butch). Otto was born in Halmstad. Daniel was the son of Nils Ludvig von Sydow and Engel/Engela Benedikta Heller. Anna was the daughter of Ambrosius Butsch and Urika Brink.

Max’s paternal grandmother was Göthilda/Götilda Rappe (the daughter of Gustaf Vilhelm/Wilhelm Rappe and Catharina Matilda Schmiterlöw). Göthilda was born in Mistelås. Gustaf was the son of Gustaf Johan Rappe and Hedvig Hammarskjöld. Catharina was the daughter of Henning Christian Schmiterlöw and Anna Matilda Palbitzki.

Max’s maternal grandfather was Adolf Fredrik Rappe (the son of Adolf Fredrik Rappe and Hedvig Helfrid Hermelin). Max’s grandfather Adolf was born in Strömsrum, Ålem, Småland. Max’s great-grandfather Adolf was the son of Gustaf Johan Rappe and Hedvig Hammarskjöld. Max’s great-grandmother Hedvig Hermelin was the daughter of August Söderling Hermelin and Ebba Sofia Ribbing.

Max’s maternal grandmother was Friherrinna Anna Sofia Margareta Hermelin (the daughter of Carl Maximilian Hermelin and Grevinna Carolina Christina Elisabet Mörner, af Morlanda). Anna was born in Säby. Carl was the son of August Söderling Hermelin and Ebba Sofia Ribbing. Grevinna was the daughter of Knut Stellan Mörner af Morlanda and Ulrika Christina Margareta Montgomery. Ulrika had distant Scottish ancestry from her surname, Montgomery.

Max’s matrilineal line can be traced back to Anna Margareta Holm, who was born c. 1721.

Sources: Genealogies of Max von Sydow –

Genealogy of Max von Sydow (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogies of Max von Sydow (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

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