Birth Name: Zachary Israel Braff
Place of Birth: South Orange, New Jersey, U.S.
Date of Birth: April 6, 1975
*father – Ashkenazi Jewish
*mother – Scottish, Irish, English (converted to Judaism)
Zach Braff is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. His roles include the films Garden State and Wish I Was Here, both of which he also directed and wrote, as well as Manhattan Murder Mystery, The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy, Chicken Little, The Last Kiss, The Ex, The High Cost of Living, Oz the Great and Powerful, In Dubious Battle, Percy, The Comeback Trail, Cheaper by the Dozen (2022), and Moonshot, and the show Scrubs. He has also directed the films Going in Style (2017) and A Good Person, having also written the latter.
Zach is the son of Anne Hutchinson (Maynard), a clinical psychologist, and Harold Irwin “Hal” Braff, a trial attorney. His siblings are writers Adam J. Braff and Joshua Braff. His step-sister is stand-up comedian Jessica Kirson, as his father married her mother.
Zach’s father was from a Jewish family that emigrated from Austria/Poland and Russia. Zach’s mother is of Scottish, Irish, and English descent; some of her genealogy traces back to Colonial America of the 1600s, in New England. Zach’s mother converted to Judaism when marrying Zach’s father; she likely had an Orthodox or Conservative conversion. Zach had a Bar Mitzvah ceremony in a Conservative synagogue.
Zach’s paternal grandfather was Joseph Nathaniel Braff (the son of Herman/Harry/Haiman Braff/Braf and Lina/Lena Larisch/Laurich). Joseph was born in Manhattan, New York Co., New York, to Jewish emigrant parents, from Galicia. Herman was the son of Aron Braf. Lina likely was born in Brzesko, Austria, now Poland. She was the daughter of Uscher Larisch.
Zach’s paternal grandmother was Lee/Lena Taner (the daughter of Louis Taner/Tanner and Sara F. Baron). Lee was born in New London, New London Co., Connecticut, to Russian Jewish parents.
Zach’s maternal grandfather was Howard Arthur Maynard (the son of Frederick/Fred Arthur Maynard and Eliza Agnes Clowes). Howard was born in Cranston, Providence, Rhode Island. Frederick was the son of Louis Aneclet Maynard, who was born in Canada, and of Mary Ann McKenna, whose parents were Irish. Elizabeth was the daughter of William Alfred Clowes, who was Irish, and of Eliza Amelia Lindsey, who was born in Foxborough, Norfolk, Massachusetts, to Scottish parents.
Zach’s maternal grandmother was Esther Lord Hutchinson (the daughter of Chester Arthur Hutchinson and Gladyse/Gladys Etta McMurray). Esther was born in Auburn, Androscoggin, Maine. Chester was the son of Fred/Frederick Everett Hutchinson and Georgianna/Georgia/Georgie Ann Lord. Gladys was the daughter of John Gregory McMurray and Octavia Elizabeth Grant, who were Canadian, from Charlotte, New Brunswick, with John being from St. Stephen and Octavia being from Milltown.
Through Zach’s mother, Zach is a descendant of Rebecca Towne Nurse (1621-1692), one of the women falsely accused of witchcraft and hung because of this, at Salem, Massachusetts. Zach is a ninth cousin of politician Mitt Romney. Both Zach and Mitt are the eight times great-grandchildren of Rebecca Towne, and of her husband, Francis Nurse.
Sources: Genealogy of Zach Braff – https://famouskin.com
Zach’s father on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Obituary of Zach’s father – https://www.legacy.com
Zach’s paternal grandfather, Joseph Nathaniel Braff, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Zach’s paternal great-grandparents, Louis Taner/Tanner and Sara F. Baron, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Birth record of Zach’s maternal grandfather, Howard Arthur Maynard – https://www.familysearch.org
Genealogy of Zach’s maternal grandmother, Esther Lord Hutchinson – http://worldconnect.rootsweb.ancestry.com
Zach’s maternal grandmother, Esther Lord Hutchinson, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Dax shepard’s lost brother.