Parker is of Ashkenazi Jewish, German, some French and English descent. Parker's father, a native of Brooklyn, is Jewish (from a family from Eastern Europe); his family's original surname was "Bar-Kahn" ("son of Kohen"). Parker's mother is of German, and some English, descent; through her mother, Parker is descended from Esther Elwell, one of the accused during the Salem witch trials.
Sarah Jessica Parker was born on March 25, 1965, in Nelsonville, Ohio to Stephen, an aspiring writer, and nursery school teacher Barbara. She was one of a total of eight children from her parents' marriage and her mother's second marriage; her full siblings include actors Timothy Britten Parker and Pippin Parker. Her parents divorced while Sarah was a baby and she and her three siblings were brought up by their mum. When Sarah was three Barbara married for the second time, to the man Sarah Jessica Parker now calls her father - lorry driver Paul Forste - and four half-siblings followed.
Sarah Jessica Parker helped support the family at a young age, bringing home paychecks from early dancing and singing gigs. Financially times were hard, but while her childhood was materially straightened it was culturally rich. "We didn't have much money, but my mother was really industrious and intrepid about finding out what was available. So we went early to the theatre and the ballet and the opera, because it was either free for children or very affordable," she recalls.