Marcus Surname Genealogy

and Markus are European surnames that have both
Christian and Jewish origins, the root in each case being the Roman
In the Christian case the name
became popular in medieval times because of Saint Mark or Sanctus
Marcus of the
Second Gospel.  It produced surnames such
as Marcus and Markus, as well the Italian and Spanish Marco and Marcos
and the
Russian Markowitz.
In the
Jewish case

where surnames were to be adopted later, the Marcus name was already
and was often used as the kinnui for
the Hebrew Biblical name Mordecai of the Book of Esther.
We find this in the progression of the 17th
century Hungarian Rabbi Mordecai Mochiah to his grandson the physician
Rofe known in Germany as Moses Marcus.
Select Marcus Resources on The Internet

Marcus Ancestry

Europe the Markus spelling is more common
today.  In Hungary there are some 10,000
of the name and a further 6,000 in Germany, with a smattering also in
Netherlands.  The majority of the Marcus and Markus that emigrated to
were Jewish and most adopted the Marcus spelling in

A number of entrepreneurial Jewish Marcuses came to America
or were
first generation Americans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  They were:

  • the
    Marcus family of Neiman Marcus
    in Dallas
  • the
    Marcus banking family in New York
  • Bernie
    Marcus from Newark, New
  • and
    Ben Marcus from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Joseph Marcus came to
Louisville, Kentucky in the 1870‘s where he
worked as a cotton broker, later moving to Dallas in Texas.  It was there that his son Herbert, together
with his daughter Carrie and her husband Abraham Neiman, founded the
store of Neiman Marcus in 1907.  Herbert’s
son Stanley made the store the famous store it is today.

Another Joseph Marcus, from
Germany but of Russian ancestry, came to New York in 1879.
He worked his way up from being a tailor, to
a garment industry business, to a banker. He founded the Public Bank in
and the Bank of United States in 1913:

  • his
    son “the fabulously wealthy” Bernard
    Marcus was at the helm when this bank collapsed in 1931 and he spent
    almost two
    years in prison for his role in the collapse.
  • while
    his grandson James went to
    work for Goldman Sachs and made his money there.  He
    was a noted New York philanthropist who
    served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Opera
    eight years.

Marcus was the son of Jewish immigrants from Russia who came
to Newark, New Jersey in the 1920’s.  His
father was a cabinet maker and they lived in a tenement.
Bernie worked his way through college and had
various retail jobs before co-founding The
Home Depot
in 1979. This store with its warehouse concept
the home improvement business and its founders became billionaires.

Finally, Ben
Marcus was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland who came to
Wisconsin in 1925.

Marcus was
fascinated by the movie business. In 1935, at the age of 24, he pooled
his own
money with some borrowed funds and bought an abandoned department store
downtown Ripon, Wisconsin for $15,000. He converted the building into
Campus Theatre, a single screen movie-house that served as the
foundation of the
Marcus Corporation and is still in operation today.”

The Marcus Corporation expanded into a
firm specializing in movie theatres, hotels, resorts and restaurants.

Marcuses who came to America were:

  • Mordecai
    Marcus and his wife Leah who arrived in New York’s Lower East
    Side from Romania in the 1890’s.  Their son
    a US attorney
    prosecuting gangsters in New York in the 1930’s and served as a US army
    assisting Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • Djoko
    Markus and his sister
    Ivanka from Hungary who came to America on the Graf
    in 1906.  Other family
    members followed a year
    later.  They made their home in a

  • while
    Abraham and Sarah Shevitz came to America from Russia in 1910, settling
    Worcester, Massachusetts.  Their son
    changed his name from Wolf Shevitz
    William Marcus
    when he enlisted in the US Army in 1914.

Ireland.  Among
the small
Jewish community in Ireland was the Marcus family from Lithuania that
escaped Jewish persecution there in the late 19th century.
The story goes that they were told that
they were arriving in New York when they stepped off the boat in Cork.  David and Louis, grandsons of the immigrants,
became well-known in Ireland as a writer and editor and as a
documentary film

England.  There were some Marcuses in England.  Philip Marcus, thought to be from Poland, had
made his home in the East End of London in the 1860’s where he acted as
shipping agent.  His son John emigrated
to South Africa in 1879 and founded an auctioneering business in Cape
which passed through three generations.

A more recent arrival was the Jewish Markus
family from Budapest in Hungary which fled
the Nazis in 1939 for England
.  Two
Markus brothers established an engineering works near Glossop in
Derbyshire to
produce machine parts for Spitfires.  A
son Robert became a distinguished ecclesiastical historian known for
writings on St Augustine and the history of the early Church.

Marcus Miscellany

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

Marcus Names

Mickey Marcus was
a US attorney prosecuting gangsters in New York in the 1930’s and
served as a
US army colonel assisting Israel in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. 
Stanley Marcus
was called America’s merchant prince
for the way he developed and
expanded the Neiman Marcus department store from the 1950’s to the
was the American businessman who co-founded The
Home Depot
in 1979 and was the company’s first CEO.  
Greil Marcus
has been an American author,
music journalist and cultural critic
focusing on rock music

Select Marcus Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 11,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)



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