Sarah Paulson

2014 PaleyFest - Closing Night Presentation - "American Horror Story" - Arrivals

Paulson in 2014, photo by

Birth Name: Sarah Catharine Paulson

Place of Birth: Tampa, Florida, U.S.

Date of Birth: December 17, 1974

Ethnicity: English, one eighth Danish, German, Scottish, French, and Welsh

Sarah Paulson is an American actress, director, and producer. Her roles include the films What Women Want, Down with Love, The Spirit (2008), Martha Marcy May Marlene, Mud (2012), 12 Years a Slave, Carol (2015), Blue Jay, Rebel in the Rye, The Post (2017), Ocean’s 8, Bird Box, Glass (2019), The Goldfinch, and Run (2020); the series American Gothic, Jack & Jill (1999), Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, American Horror Story, The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, Mrs. America, Ratched, and Impeachment: American Crime Story, and the made-for-tv movie Game Change (2012); as well as many stage performances.

Sarah is the daughter of Catharine Gordon (Dolcater) and Douglas Lyle Paulson II. Her half-sister is actress Rachel Paulson. She was initially raised in South Tampa. Her parents divorced during her childhood. Her mother, who had been a debutante in Florida, moved with Sarah and her sister to Maine, then New York City, where she worked as a waitress to support them. Sarah lived in Queens, Gramercy Park, Manhattan; and then Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Sarah’s paternal grandfather was The Rev. Douglas Lyle Paulson, Sr. (the son of Frederick Albert “Fred” Paulson and Margaret Annie Chernault/Chenault). The Rev. Douglas was born in Virginia. Frederick was born in Wisconsin, to Danish parents, Hans/Hens Peter Paulson and Karen Maria Hansdatter. Margaret was the daughter of John James Chenault and Judith Lavalette/Lavalet Penick.

Sarah’s paternal grandmother was Mazie Gwendolyn Cook (the daughter of Walter Sherrard Cook and Mary Edith/Edythe Pugh). Mazie was born in Virginia. Walter was the son of Thomas Jackson Cook and Eliza Susan Ellenger/Ellinger. Mary was the daughter of Clarence Marshall Pugh and Susan Rita Alexander.

Sarah’s maternal grandfather was John Henry Dolcater, Jr. (the son of John Henry Dolcater and Julia Anna Waters). Sarah’s grandfather John was born in Florida. Sarah’s great-grandfather John was the son of William Chauncey Dolcater and Mary Susan Mitchell. Julia was the daughter of John Shaw Waters and Lucretia Elizabeth Bell.

Sarah’s maternal grandmother is June Unger (the daughter of David Sloan Maxwell Unger, Jr. and Catharine/Catherine Gordon Burgett). June was born in Alabama. David was the son of David Sloane Maxwell Unger and Athalie/Athaliea Evangeline Harrington. Catharine was the daughter of William Plumer Burgett and Eleanor Ella Sage.

Sources: Genealogies of Sarah Paulson –

Sarah’s paternal grandfather, Douglas Lyle Paulson, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Sarah’s maternal great-grandparents, John Henry Dolcater and Julia Anna Waters, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Sarah’s maternal great-grandfather, John Henry Dolcater –

Genealogy of Sarah’s maternal great-grandfather, David Sloan Maxwell Unger, Jr. –

4 Responses

  1. litzfranco says:

    I think she has more than just some german. Both her maternal last names Dolcater (Dahlk├Âtter) and Unger come from Germany according to

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