Max von Sydow

American Cinematheque Tribute to Max Von Sydow

von Sydow in 2007, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: Carl Adolf von Sydow

Date of Birth: 10 April, 1929

Place of Birth: Lund, Skåne, Sweden

Date of Death: 8 March, 2020

Place of Death: Provence, France

Ethnicity: Swedish, with some German, remote Scottish

Max von Sydow was a Swedish actor, who had taken on French citizenship. He was 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 had some German ancestry, from both of his parents, and remote Scottish roots, dating back to the 1600s.

Max was married to Catherine Brelet, until his death. He had two children with his former wife, actress Christina Inga Britta Olin; and two children with Catherine.

Max’s patrilineal ancestry traces to Christian Fredrik von Sydow, who was born, c. 1714, in Germany. That line’s origin is in Pomerania, formerly part of Prussia, much of which was under Swedish rule from 1630 to 1815.

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

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.