Meg Ryan

Ryan in 2009, photo by miromiro/

Birth Name: Margaret Mary Emily Hyra

Place of Birth: Fairfield, Connecticut, U.S.

Date of Birth: November 19, 1961

*father – half Rusyn/Ruthenian, half Polish
*mother – Irish, one quarter German

Meg Ryan is an American actress, director, and producer. She is known for her roles in Sleepless in Seattle, When Harry Met Sally…, Joe Versus the Volcano, Courage Under Fire, When a Man Loves a Woman, I.Q., You’ve Got Mail, Top Gun, Innerspace, and Amityville 3-D, among other films.

Meg is the daughter of Susan, an actress and English teacher, and Harry Hyra, a math teacher. Her father is of half Rusyn/Ruthenian and half Polish ancestry. Her mother is of approximately three quarters Irish and one quarter German descent. Meg was born Margaret Mary Emily Hyra, and took on Anne as a confirmation name. Her brother is singer, songwriter, and musician Andrew Hyra. Meg has a son, actor Jack Quaid, with her former husband, actor Dennis Quaid; and a daughter, that she adopted from China.

Meg’s paternal grandfather was Michael Orest Hyra (the son of Orest J. Hyra and Anna “Annie” Durniak). Meg’s grandfather Michael was born in New York, of Rusyn/Ruthenian descent. Meg’s great-grandfather Orest was born in Galicia, Halychyna, the son of Georgi John Hyra and Katarzyna Mary Fylak. Anna was born in Pennsylvania, to immigrant parents.

Meg’s paternal grandmother was named Mary Helen Jackowitz (the daughter of Michael Jackowitz/Jackiwicz/Jackewicz and Petronella). Mary Helen was born in Connecticut, to Polish parents, from Kaunas, Lithuania.

Meg’s maternal grandfather was William Edwin Duggan (the son of Michael John Duggan and Matilda Dolz). William was born in New York. Michael was born in Ireland, the son of Denis Duggan and Johanna Kellaher. Matilda was born in New York, to German parents, George Dolz and Mary Elizabeth Franck.

Meg’s maternal grandmother was Margaret Mary Ryan (the daughter of Thomas Timothy Ryan and Emily Louise McManus or O’Connor). Margaret was born in New York. Thomas was born in New York, to Irish parents, Timothy Ryan and Johanna Luby. Emily was born in New York, the daughter of Phillip H. McManus, who was born in Ireland, and of Ann/Ana Thomas, who was also born in the British Isles.

Sources: Genealogy of Meg Ryan (focusing on her father’s side) –

Meg’s paternal grandfather, Michael Orest Hyra, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Meg’s paternal grandmother, Mary Helen Jackowitz, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Meg’s mother on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Meg’s maternal grandfather, William Edwin Duggan, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Meg’s maternal great-grandparents, Michael John Duggan and Matilda Dolz –

Meg’s maternal grandmother, Margaret Mary Ryan, on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Margaret Mary Ryan on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Meg’s maternal great-grandparents, Thomas Timothy Ryan and Emily Louise McManus or O’Connor, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

25 Responses

  1. madman says:

    What reasons are there to assume that Ann Thomas wasn’t English?

    • follers says:

      I see now that the 1910 U.S. Census lists both of Emily McManus’ parents as having been born in Ireland, but it could be wrong. Other censuses list England.

      Between her last name, which is Welsh, her apparent English birthplace, and the Irish Catholic family she married into, I’m unsure of her background. She could have been of English, Welsh, and/or Irish descent.

  2. bablah says:

    Orest Hyra and his wife are liste as speaking Ruthenian, not Polish. Ruthenian can mean either Rusyn or Ukrainian, but I doubt that a Ukrainan would use that word in the 20th century, so Rusyn is more likely.

  3. cwm85 says:

    Absolutely polish. With her head shape… polish have those round heads… its distinctive…

  4. zombiecop says:

    she is also probably of Hungarian ancestry.That surname Hyra is Hungarian.

    • follers says:

      It can easily be an ethnic Polish name. Meg’s great-great-grandfather, Georgi Hyra, was the son of a Teodor/Teodozy Hyra. His parents were apparently Gregori Hyra and Ahaphia Agafia Wowko.

    • follers says:

      Hollywood’s hidden Pole! I don’t think she has ever talked about being Polish. She is either one quarter or half. I am betting on half.

      She may be the most famous Polish-American actor in history.

      Steve Carell and John Krasinski are both half Polish, too, but curiously I think neither has ever talked about it.

      • andrew says:

        Cate Blanchett is listed in Actors and Actresses of Polish Descent here

        I’ve found another one, Pola Negri, who was a big star in silent movie industry

        • follers says:

          Well, Pola was a Polish-born actress who worked in the U.S. for a time. I don’t think she is more famous than Meg.

          Blanchett isn’t Polish as far as I could trace. Her father’s family were Anglo-Texans, her mother’s Anglo-Australians.

          • andrew says:

            yes, none of us can remember her. But Meg isn that famous/interesting to the audience of this site if she hadn’t comments (the same for other stars of some years ago). You can get from this aspect (along with the lackness of sense in the comments) how the public is made by underage teens with poor education

          • follers says:

            I agree that Meg isn’t that interesting to the audience of this site. But this site isn’t always interested in the biggest Hollywood stars.

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