Sofia Carson Descends from Colombian and Middle Eastern Ancestors
Updated: Mar 4
The 'Purple Hearts' actress and musician is descended from a rich history of immigrants to Colombia and the United States.
You probably know Sofia Carson from Disney's Descendants and her fantastic music. Sofia's most recent film, Purple Hearts, just started streaming on Netflix this weekend. Sofia has been all-in on this project — producing, acting, and performing her music in the film — which she spent several years bringing to the screen.
First-generation in the USA
Sofia Carson is herself a first-generation U.S. American born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her parents had earlier immigrated from Colombia to the United States. Through her mother, Sofia is related to the Char family of Colombian politicians. Sofia uses her stage name "Carson" which is her grandmother's surname and one of her mother's apellidos.
Said Carson of her Latin heritage:
"Your heritage can be exciting. I am American with Latin roots. It's part of me that I love and am very proud of. The Hispanic culture is full of people who have such a love and passion for life. There has been a big history of Hispanic trailblazers — powerful women who have made a really big impact and inspired girls like me."
In 2019, Sofia Carson was designated as the first Global Ambassador of the Latin GRAMMY Cultural Foundation.
Immigrants to Colombia
Sofia's ancestry is a fascinating one. Her ancestry in Colombia also includes immigrants from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine — lands that had been ruled by the Ottoman Empire.
On her father's side, Sofia's great grandparents were José Miguel Daccarett, born 28 July 1909, and Zoila Giha, born 3 Jan 1919. They were born and living in what was then the Ottoman Empire, which stretched from Turkey and across portions of the Middle East. The photo below appears to be one of Jose and Zoila visiting Bethlehem in the 1950s. The image appears in the book Arabs in Macondo, a posthumous work that brings together the essays of the writer Jorge García Usta, which chronicles Arab immigration in the Colombian Caribbean.
Sometime before 1938, they immigrated to Colombia and settled in Barranquilla, where their son (and grandfather of Sofia), René Roque Daccarett Giha was born on 15 November 1938.
Many immigrants like Sofia's ancestors came to Colombia from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine to escape the oppression and impoverishment they faced under Ottoman rule. In Colombia, Sofia's immigrant ancestors worked hard, established businesses, and founded families that intertwined with the Colombian culture, even finding their way into politics.
As a young adult, Sofia's grandfather, René, went to Brasil to study, as shown in the immigration document below. Other records show him visiting the United States in the 1950s, arriving in New York City.
Switching to her mother's side of the family, Sofia Carson can trace her Char lineage back to at least her Lebanese third great-grandparents: Abdo Char and Nazira Abouhadid, both apparently from Damascus.
Sofia's matriarchal great grandparents, Ricardo Char Zehlaqui (born 6 Aug 1902) and Erlinda Abdala Chadjur immigrated to Barranquilla, Colombia, arriving in 1926. Their son (Sofia's grand-uncle), Fuad Ricardo Char Abdala, was a senator in Colombia.
Immigrants to the USA
Generations after immigrating to Colombia and establishing successful businesses and families, Sofia's line immigrated to the United States. As a result of their immigration, today we are blessed in the USA (and the world) with Sofia Carson's incredible talent in music, acting, and producing.
Be sure to check out Sofia Carson's latest flick Purple Hearts on Netflix, where she stars with Nicholas Galitzine (Cinderella), both portraying a liberal musician and a conservative marine who fall in love despite the odds.
I got the amazing opportunity to be an extra in the crowd for three of Sofia's performances in Purple Hearts, which was absolutely incredible. Big thanks to Sofia for taking a moment to take this photo with me after filming in Whiskey a Go Go.
About the Author
Storytelling binds generations. Films and family history are both powerful forms of storytelling that do just that. Family history research has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. Having researched my own family tree extensively, I enjoy looking into the family trees of my favorite actors and entertainers. To see their roots and where they come from is always inspiring. I’m often left in awe of the experiences of their ancestors and how they connect to the present day. I hope to inspire others to research their own family trees and find out where they come from by sharing interesting insights from the family trees of notable figures.
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