Select Goldberg Surname Genealogy

When Jewish people were obligated to take surnames in the early 19th century, they often chose ornamental names, such as names prefixed with "Gold" or "Rose."  Goldberg (or "gold mountain") was the most common “Gold” name.  Goldenberg is the Austrian variant of  Goldberg.

Sometimes Goldberg was not the actual surname back home and was simply chosen on arrival.  And sometimes the name Gold or its variant changed into Gould.

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Select Goldberg Ancestry

Goldbergs emigrated to America from a number of countries.  Germany, Russia, and Poland were the main countries of Jewish settlement and Yiddish culture in central and eastern Europe in the 19th century.   The Goldberg name is invariably Jewish in America but not necessarily.

America. The peak years for Goldberg immigration into the United States were from 1890 to 1910.  They came mainly to the cities of the East.  New York drew many Goldbergs, such as:
  • Hayim Goldberg, who came to America from Kovno, Lithuania in 1883 and settled in the Lower East Side of New York - where he and his wife raised eight children.
  • Abraham and Celia Goldberg, who came to New York from Bialystok in Poland with their six children in 1906.  Abraham died within the year but the rest of the family settled in Brooklyn.
  • Rube Goldberg, who arrived in New York from California in 1907.  He became well-known for his political cartoons, which were sometimes controversial during World War Two.
  • and Itche Goldberg, born in Poland, who grew up in Canada and then moved to New York in the 1920's.  He was a lifelong promoter of Yiddish culture and was generally on the left of the political spectrum.  He died in New York in 2006 at the age of 102. 
Some Goldbergs made it West.   David Goldberg left Russia in 1879 after the death of his father for America and initially to Cleveland.  He then moved west and settled in Butte, Montana where he bacame one of the town's prominent merchants.  Max Goldberg from Russia made it out to California by 1916.  It was said that he was killed there after having been hit by a horse and buggy. 

Israel Gelbart arrived from Poland with his wife Rebecca in the early 1900’s, changed his name to Goldberg, and settled in Charleston, South Carolina.  By the 1930’s he was well-established there, operating Goldberg's Men's Store on King Street, and his brother George joined him.  The family back in Poland, however, perished during the Holocaust.

Southern Africa.  
Goldbergs also made it to southern Africa. 

One family history traces back to Davis Goldberg from Poland who arrived in London with his family in the 1860's.  His children, however, soon uprooted themselves, took the steamer to South Africa, and eventually settled in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). 

Another Goldberg family who had made that journey had come from Riga to Dublin before deciding to head for South Africa in 1901.  Simon Goldberg did not care for the Cape Colony and set off for Rhodesia ten years later.  The family story was narrated in W.E. Arnold's 1980 book The Goldbergs of Leigh Ranch.   

Select Goldberg Miscellany

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

Select Goldberg Names

Itche Goldberg
, born in Poland, was a lifelong promoter of Yiddish culture in America.
Rube Goldberg was a creative American inventor and cartoonist.
Arthur Goldberg, born in Chicago, was an American statesman and jurist who served as the US Secretary of Labor, Supreme Court Justice, and Ambassador to the United Nations during the 1960's.
Denis Goldberg was a South African political campaigner who stood up against the apartheid regime.
Whoopi Goldberg, born Caryn Johnson, is a popular American comedienne and actress.

Select Goldbergs Today
  • 3,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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