Rosenthal Surname Genealogy

Rosenthal in German and Yiddish has the meaning “rose valley.”
The German name, sometimes spelt Rosendahl, dates back to the 14th
century. It can be described as an ornamental surname in that,
though it translates literally as one who lived in a valley of roses,
that might not in fact have been the case.

Rosenthal Resources on

Rosenthal Ancestry

emigrated to America
in the 19th century from a number of
countries. The largest numbers have come from Germany, in
particular in northeast
Germany in what was once Prussia. One family account traces
Rosenthals in the town of Greifswald back to the early 17th century.

But other Rosenthals, mainly Jewish, have come from Russia and Poland
and from elsewhere in central Europe. Naftali Rosenthal, for
instance, was
one of the most important Jewish figures in 18th century Hungary.
these Jewish communities have disappeared and the Rosenthal numbers in
Germany are only around 8-9,000.

America. Early
Rosenthal arrivals from Germany came to the Midwest mainly.
William Rosenthal, for instance, came from what was then Prussia and
settled in Deerfield township, Minnesota in the 1860’s.

The Rosenthal name has loomed large in Cincinnati, Ohio for more than a
hundred years. Samuel Rosenthal started a printing company
there only three years after the ending of the Civil War. Son
David was an Impressionist painter. Samuel’s business remained
family-run until the death of the fourth generation owner, Tommy
Rosenthal, in 2006 at the age of eighty.

Meanwhile Edward
Rosenthal started F&W Publications – publishers of Farmer’s Quarterly and Writer’s Digest – in Cincinnati in
1910. Richard and Lois Rosenthal ran the business for more than
forty years until they sold it in 1999.

Another Rosenthal family, this time four Rosenthal brothers from Poland,
themselves up in the early 1850’s as lithographers in
Philadelphia. They produced many works depicting battle scenes
and encampments during the Civil War. Max Rosenthal, the
principal artist of the company, continued working in Philadelphia
until his death in 1918 and was followed there by his son Albert.

New York later drew many Rosenthals, such as:

  • Irving Rosenthal, who arrived with his family from Russia in
    1902. For
    a while he and his brother Jack worked as musicians and in odd jobs
    around the city.
    In 1934 they opened the Palisades amusement park on land facing New
    York City. It ran until 1971.
  • William and Ida Rosenthal, who also came to New York from Russia
    in the early
    1900’s. Ida Rosenthal started her dress
    shop Maidenform in 1922 and is
    often credited
    as being the inventor of the brassiere.
  • and Abe Rosenthal’s family, who came to New York in the 1930’s
    and his father found work as a house painter. Although his father
    and four of his siblings died of various ailments at that time, Abe
    just about survived and went on to become the
    managing editor of the New York Times.

Refugees from Nazi Germany included Berthold and Johanna Rosenthal who
arrived via Portugal in 1940. Berthold Rosenthal was a
well-respected Jewish scholar of his time.

Aaron Rosenthal had led a wandering life East –
to India, Sri Lanka and Australia – after leaving Prussia in 1844 at
the tender
age of 13. In Australia he married his
German-born wife Bertha and they moved to Canada in 1874, settling in
where Aaron opened a jewelry shop and was an early leader of the Jewish
community there.

“His firm became known as A. Rosenthal and Sons
Ltd. The shop was located in the beautifully ornate Rosenthal Building
Sparks Street that had been built specifically for the family. It was briefly the tallest building in

On Aaron’s death in 1909, his
four sons continued the business until 194

Rosenthal Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Rosenthal Names

Ida Rosenthal, a Russian
immigrant to America, started Maidenform in 1922 and is often credited
as the inventor of the brassiere.
Jean Rosenthal, born in New
York, has been a pioneer in theatrical lighting design.
Abe Rosenthal was the
much-esteemed editor of the New York
in the 1970’s and 80’s. He was born in Canada to a
Jewish family who had changed their name from Shipiatsky to Rosenthal.
Lefty Rosenthal ran illegal
betting shops in Chicago and Florida before moving to Las Vegas in 1968
and pioneering sports gambling there.

Select Rosenthals Today

  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 8,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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