Select Goldberg Surname Genealogy

Here are some Goldberg stories and accounts over the years:

Goldberg and Variants

The Gold surnames in America, in their ranking of frequency, are:
  • Goldberg (or "gold mountain")
  • Goldstein (or "gold stone")
  • Goldman (or "gold man")
  • Goldblatt (or "gold leaf")
  • and simply Gold.

Goldbergs in America by Country of Origin

Goldbergs emigrated to America from a number of countries.


Max and Rube Goldberg

Max Goldberg had emigrated from Prussia as a very young man, living first in New York during the Civil War and then working his way west to San Francisco.  There he prospered.  With his traditional Stetson hat from his days as a cattle-ranch owner in Arizona, he was a well-known character in San Francisco. The city thought of itself as young and vigorous, without the social and class restrictions of the more established East.  Max dealt in real estate, banking, and the turbulent frontier politics of San Francisco.  He ended up as the city’s police and fire commissioner. 

Son Rube was born in 1883, the second of three sons and one daughter of Max and his wife Hannah.   His mother died when he was a young man and Max, who never remarried, raised the four children himself, forging a close family unity that lasted all through their lives. 

At eleven Rube began taking art lessons and decided that he wanted to be a full-time artist.  But his father urged him to study something that would provide a good living.  He reminded his son that great artists, like Da Vinci, were trained as engineers first.  Rube consequently took up engineering studies. 

However, he had begun to draw cartoons and, forsaking engineering and against his father’s wishes, managed to secure a job as an art assistant with the San Francisco Chronicle.  From this base his work would soon became popular throughout the West Coast. 

In 1907, at the age of twenty four, Rube decided to try his luck in New York.  His father Max, now proud of Rube's work and reputation in San Francisco, backed his decision.  Success came quickly.  1909 saw the debut of his first widely acclaimed cartoon series, Foolish Questions.  He became a nationally-syndicated cartoonist and was soon said to be earning the huge sum of $100,000 a year from his drawings and books.

Itche Goldberg and Yidishe Kultur

In secular Yiddish circles, Itche Goldberg is best known as the editor of one of the longest-running journals of Yiddish literature, Yidishe Kultur. He served as editor from 1964 to 2004 when he published the journal’s final issue. 

He fought to keep Yidishe Kultur alive right to the end of his life.  In an interview in 2004 he said: 

“I only have two dreams.  One dream is that someone will knock on the door and I will open it and they give me a check for $150,000 for the magazine.  Second dream is that someone knocks at the door and I open it up and he gives me a corned beef sandwich. Those are my only two dreams. I’m not asking for much.  Really, I’m not.  And I think they’re both reachable.” 

He was soon to celebrate his 100th birthday.  In his honor, a group of Jewish musicians performed an adaptation of I. L. Peretz’s Oyb Nit Nokh Hekher (“If Not Even Higher”), with the libretto by Itche Goldberg. It was one of more than twenty works that he had written with the composer Moyshe Rauch.

Goldberg New York Bagels

The history of Goldberg’s New York Kosher Bagels dates back to the early 1900’s when a young Polish immigrant, Isadore Goldberg, opened a little bagel shop on the Lower East Side of New York.  Isadore’s son later moved the store to New Jersey.  

The Goldbergs no longer own the store.  But a modern version of the original bagel shop, Goldberg New York Bagels, can be found in the Jewish neighborhood of Pikesville just outside Baltimore.  In fact there are two versions of Goldberg New York Bagels as there is a rival branch in Rockville,  Maryland.

The Goldbergs of Leigh Ranch

Simon Goldberg was the pioneer who left the comforts of the Cape Colony with his family in 1912 to pastures new in Rhodesia.  With his family settled in a large, rambling house in Salisbury, he ran a store at Norton about twenty mites from town.  He loved the countryside and soon added a 3 000 acre farm to his store. 

Mick, his eldest son, joined a firm of wholesale merchants at seventeen and soon made his own mark in business.   
Mick Goldberg worked out at Penhalonga for them, later bought their business, and moved his mother, Esther, two sisters Sarah and Rachel and four brothers, Hymie, Maurice, Bennie and Jack out there. 

The family secured the mine concession and built up a very successful trading store and butchery business. Because of the concession, which meant that all the purchases by the African mine workers was to be deducted from their wages, the African name given to the Goldbergs was Magaboza, literally meaning “credit.” 

That was only the start of their entrepreneurial efforts.  When tobacco was introduced into Rhodesia in the 1930’s, the Goldberg brothers bought up vast areas of land and developed Leigh Ranch.  This for a time was the largest single unit producing tobacco in the world.

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