Weinberg Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Weinberg Meaning

When Jewish people were obligated to take surnames in the early 19th
century, they often chose ornamental names.  The prefix Wein- meaning “wine” and the suffix
-stein meaning “mountain,”
were often used in these Jewish ornamental names.
Sometimes Weinberg was not the actual surname back home
and was simply chosen on arrival.

Weinberg Resources on

Weinberg Ancestry

emigrated to America
from a number of
countries, but in greatest numbers from Germany, Russia, and
Poland.   These countries were the main countries of Jewish
settlement and Yiddish culture in central and eastern Europe in the
19th century.   The Weinberg name became particularly prominent in Jewish
circles in the areas known as Dolyna in Ukraine and Dolina in Galicia
The name was invariably Jewish in
America but
not necessarily.

America.  Benedict
Weinberg came to Charleston, South Carolina from Westphalia in
1830 at the age of thirty.

“His reminiscences of his early life
often afforded much entertainment.  In 1814 when but fourteen
years of
age, he joined the Prussian army and was at the Battle of Waterloo and
would often relate details of that hard fought battle.  He was
also a schoolmate of Emperor William I.”

He lived on in America to the age of ninety one.

The peak years for
Weinberg immigration were from 1890 to
1910.  They came mainly to the cities of the East.  Among
these Weinbergs were:

  • Sidney
    , who was born to a poor Jewish family in Brooklyn
    in 1891.  He started at the bottom at Goldman Sachs and rose to
    the top.  Two of his sons and one of his grandsons also held high
    positions at Goldman Sachs.
  • Morris and Celia Weinberg, who arrived from Russia in 1893 and
    settled in Chicago.
  • another Morris Weinberg, also from Russia, who came via Glasgow
    in 1906 and settled in Brooklyn.  He was by trade a shoemaker.
  • and Harry
    , who came from Hungary as a young boy with his
    family to
    Baltimore in 1912.  He was a canny investor during the
    buying up under-valued assets, and later set up with his wife the Harry
    Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

Weinbergs have been in Galveston, Texas since at least 1860.  Otto
Weinberg and his family died in the Galveston flood of 1900.  In
1904 Fritz Weinberg bought the Rosehill farm
near Houston.  It is now run by the sixth generation of

South Africa.  Eli Weinberg had
come to South Africa from Latvia in 1929.  He and his
daughter Sheila were activists during the anti-apartheid years.  Another Weinberg from Latvia became one of
Africa’s top insurance salesmen in the years prior to World War Two.  Son Mark
made his fortune in life insurance in


Select Weinberg Miscellany. 

Weinberg as an Ornamental Name.  Weinberg contains two elements, the prefix Wein- meaning “wine” and the suffix -stein meaning “mountain,” used frequently in the ornamental names that Jewish people created when they were required to produce a surname.   Sometimes these names were chosen at Ellis Island or at another entry point to the United States on arrival.

Wein- -berg
Weinberg (wine mountain) Goldberg (gold mountain)
Weinstein (wine stone) Greenberg (green mountain)
Weintraub (wine grape) Rosenberg (rose mountain)
Weinberg (wine mountain)

Weinberg Origins.  Weinbergs immigrated to America from a number of countries.  The table below shows the numbers counted and from whence they came.

Country Numbers Percent
Germany   202    50
Russia   121    30
Poland    32     9
Elsewhere    45    11

Sidney Weinberg at Goldman Sachs.  Sidney Weinberg was born in 1891, one of eleven children of Pincus Weinberg, a struggling Polish-born liquor wholesaler and bootlegger in Brooklyn.  He was short, a “Kewpie doll,” as the New Yorker writer E. J. Kahn described him, “in constant danger of being swallowed whole by executive-size chairs.”  He pronounced his name “Wine-boig.”  He left school at fifteen. 

He had scars on his back from knife fights in his preteen days when he was selling evening newspapers on the street.  At sixteen, he made a visit to Wall Street, keeping an eye out for a “nice-looking, tall building,” as he later recalled.  He picked 43 Exchange Place where he started at the top floor and worked his way down, asking at every office:“ Want a boy?” 

By the end of the day, he had reached the third-floor offices of a small brokerage house.  There were no openings.  He returned to the brokerage house the next morning.  He lied that he was told to come back and bluffed himself into a job assisting the janitor for three dollars a week.  That small brokerage house was Goldman Sachs.

The grandson of the firm’s founder, Paul Sachs, liked him and installed him in the mailroom. which Weinberg reorganized.  After that his promotion within the firm was inexorable.  He became a partner in 1927 and head of the company in 1930, saving it from bankruptcy, and held that position until his death in 1969.

Harry Weinberg’s Rise.  Harry Weinberg’s father Joseph had come to Baltimore and sent for his
family to join him there in 1912.  One of Harry’s earliest
ventures was selling souvenirs for celebrations at the end of World War
One.  Growing up in a poor section of Baltimore, he had dropped
out of school in the sixth grade to help in his father’s auto repair

He sold newspapers on the street and during the Depression bought up
dilapidated properties in Baltimore.  He then renovated and sold
them on.  With the profits he bought bus companies in Baltimore,
New York, and Hawaii.  By the time of his death in 1990, this
tempestuous, highly opinionated immigrant had become Hawaii’s biggest
landowner and left $900 million in a charitable trust, one of the
largest in the United States.

Weinberg’s Rosehill Farm in Texas.  The Weinberg family has owned the land since 1904
and has been farming the same land since 1882 when Friedrich and Louise
Treseler moved to Rosehill from Galveston.  Their son Fritz bought
the farm in 1904.

Friz’s grandson Marvin Weinberg began running the farm in 1946 and he
and his wife Margaret still own the farm today.  The farm is now
run by their son, Marvin “Bud” Weinberg.  It is especially known
for its tomatoes.  At the beginning of the summer they will pick
1,000 pounds of tomatoes every day.  They also grow and sell
potatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplants, cantaloupes and
watermelons.  The produce is sold in their own market, in a large
farmer’s market in Houston, and to local restaurants.

Katie Weinberg, a senior at the Texas A&M University, represents
the family’s sixth generation of local farmers.

Mark Weinberg’s Journey from South Africa to England.  Mark Weinberg’s
childhood was blighted by the death of his Latvian-born father, an
insurance salesman in Johannesburg, when he was two.

Initially Mark showed no desire to follow his father and he read
law at
Witwatersrand University – being part of a close, liberal group there
included Joel Joffe, Nelson Mandela’s barrister.  But it was the
time of
Sharpeville and not a good time to be practicing law in South Africa.  He like a number of his contemporaries
decided to leave.

In London Mark
remembered his insurance roots and started Abbey Life insurance in 1961
on a
tiny budget with three of his South African lawyer friends.  He then built up two more insurance
companies, Hambro Life and Allied Dunbar, and became closely identified
the brash new hard-sell and aggressive marketing techniques that grew
companies and made him wealthy.


Weinberg Names

  • Noah Weinberg who died
    in 2009 was a Jewish rabbi and father of today’s baal teshuva movement.
  • Sidney Weinberg was the
    long-time leader of Goldman Sachs, nicknamed “Mr. Wall Street” by the New York Times.
  • Mark Weinberg from South Africa has been a leader in the life insurance industry in England.
  • Max Weinberg is an American drummer and band leader who has played with Bruce Springsteen and on the
    TV show.

Select Weinberg Numbers Today

  • 300 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 5,000 in America (most numerous in New York)


Select Weinberg and Like Jewish Surnames

The Jews were banned from England in 1290 and did not return there until the 1650’s, sometimes in the form of Portuguese traders.  They were to make their mark as merchants and financers in London and many families prospered.  There was another larger Jewish influx in the late 1800’s.

In America the early settlement of Sephardic Jews was in Charleston, South Carolina.  In the 19th century Ashkenazi Jews started to arrive from Germany.  Later came a larger immigration from a wider Jewish diaspora.  Between 1880 and 1910 it is estimated that around two million Yiddish-speaking Jews, escaping discrimination and pogroms, arrived from the Russian empire and other parts of Eastern Europe.

Some Jewish surnames reflect ancient Biblical names, such as Cohen and Levy.  Some have come from early place-names where Jews resided, such as Dreyfus (from Trier), Halpern (from Heilbronn) and Shapiro (from Speyer).  Many more surnames came about when Ashkenazi Jews were compelled by Governments to adopt them in the early 1800’s.  The names chosen at that time were often ornamental ones – Bernstein or Goldberg or Rosenthal for example.  Then the name could change on arrival in America at Ellis Island.  And finally anti-Semitism perceived could cause further changes to conceal Jewishness.

Here are the stories of some of the Jewish surnames that you can check out here.




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