Heroes and villains in Tom Hiddleston’s family tree

4-5 minute read

By Ellie Ayton | July 14, 2021

tom hiddleston

Popular Marvel actor Tom Hiddleston rose to global fame as Loki in Kenneth Branagh’s Thor and The Avengers, but are there any heroes (super, or otherwise) in his family tree? We explored our genealogy records to discover the family history of the Marvel star.

Tom already has an impressive acting resume. He’s worked with the likes of Chris Hemsworth and Robert Downey Jnr, Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Cumberbatch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beyond.

While researching the God of Mischief’s family tree, we discovered Scottish roots, soldiers and German links. Were his ancestors heroes or villains? Read on to find out.

How old is Tom Hiddleston? 

Tom was born Thomas William Hiddleston in 1981 in Westminster, London. His parents are Diana Patricia Servaes, and Scottish-born doctor James Norman Hiddleston, who were married in Suffolk in 1978

A German migration story 

Tom’s maternal line features well-to-do middle-class families, many of which could afford several servants. We traced the Servaes line back to 19th-century Germany, when Tom’s 3x great-grandparents settled in the Liverpool area of Lancashire.

Tom’s 2x great-grandfather Julius Maximus was born in 1863. We believe his parents Julius and Helene arrived in Britain between 1861 and 1863, given that the family doesn’t appear on the 1861 census, and Julius Maximus’ birth announcement being recorded in the local newspaper in 1863.

birth announcement of tom's ancestor

Julius Maximus’ birth announcement in the Liverpool Mercury, 18 September 1863.

He died in Ruthin, north Wales in 1947. Like his father, Julius Maximus was a cotton merchant. We found him in our passenger lists heading overseas to New York in 1926, aboard the Caronia. He travelled alone, most likely for work.

His father Julius was a well-respected member of the community and can be found in the local newspapers.

Tom's ancestor in the newspapers

Manchester Evening News, 15 January 1902.

He worked closely with the Liverpool Society of Friends of Foreigners in Distress and was even appointed vice-chancellor in 1899.

A military hero

Tom’s great-grandfather Reginald Maxwell Servaes had a long and distinguished military career. Born in Lancashire in 1893, Reginald was a midshipman in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Indefatigable in 1911. The ship would later be sunk during the Battle of Jutland in 1916.

Naval record of Tom's ancestor

Reginald’s Royal Naval Officers record, 1899-1919, detailing his promotions.

Reginald was promoted, and in his Navy record, we even see descriptions of his character. 

"‘a most efficient officer and lieutenant, an excellent leader with tact and good influence, pleasant personality’"

We wonder if Tom Hiddleston has inherited some of his great-grandfather's personality traits.

Tom's grandparents on their wedding day

The Tatler, 31 January 1945.

We also found a photograph of Reginald's son, William Reginald Servaes (Tom's maternal grandfather) and Patricia Vestey (Tom's maternal grandmother) on their wedding day in 1945.

A real-life villain?

Reginald’s mother Constance Violet Coltart was born in Ruthin, north Wales in 1865. Her father Joseph was a Liverpool ship owner. Constance was the only one of Joseph and wife Isabella’s children born outside of Liverpool. In fact, we also discovered Joseph in a Wrexham newspaper in 1865, when his servant Ellen Jones was charged with stealing from the family.  

Tom's ancestor in the newspapers

Wrexham Advertiser, 14 January 1865.

Tom’s maternal grandmother was Patricia Vestey. Her grandfather was Sir Edmund Hoyle Vestey, a food producer and importer from Lancashire. By 1939, he was listed as a ship owner with his second wife, Ellen.

Edmund Vestey in the 1939 Register.

Edmund Vestey in the 1939 Register

A spot of scandal preceded this. Edmund and Sarah, Tom’s 2x great-grandmother, divorced in 1925, on the grounds of his adultery according to the Westminster Gazette, 8 July 1925.

Tom Hiddleston's Scottish ancestors 

Tom’s father James Norman Hiddleston was born in Greenock, Scotland in 1939. His parents were Alexander Hiddleston and Margaret McCaula Forbes, who married in 1938. 

Alexander’s family were mainly farmers, with the Hiddleston name originating from Dunscore in Dumfriesshire. We traced the family back to the early 1800s with Tom’s 2x great-grandfather Alexander Hiddleston, and his parents, James and Susan.

Tom’s 2x great-grandfather and 3x great-grandparents on the 1861 census.

Tom’s 2x great-grandfather and 3x great-grandparents on the 1861 census

Alexander and his wife Rachel Steel Meikle had at least three children. One was Tom’s great-grandfather, James Hiddleston, born in 1890.

In 2011, Tom Hiddleston starred as Captain James Nicholls in the major film War Horse, based on the screenplay of the same name. It seems that Tom has his own World War 1 heroes in his family tree, with his 2x great-uncle Thomas Meikle Hiddleston, James’ brother. Born in Greenock, Renfrewshire, Thomas served in the Royal Field Artillery during the war.

Thomas Hiddleston’s signature on his military record.

Thomas Hiddleston’s signature on his military record

Sadly, Thomas died from a leg wound, possibly after fighting in the Battle of the Somme, on 28 August 1916.  He was 23 years old. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery in Rouen. By this time, his mother Rachel had died. 

Share your family tree heroes and villains with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Plus, discover the family trees of these Dunkirk actors.

Cover photo: Flickr

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About the author

Ellie Ayton, author at FindmypastEllie Ayton