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#BravoGenealogy: Meredith Marks's Jewish Pioneer Ancestry

We talk a lot about Whitney Rose and Heather Gay's Mormon pioneer ancestors (or at least I talk a lot about them!), but they aren't the only ones with pioneer ancestry in their family history among the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City cast.

Meredith (Rosenberg) Marks as a sophomore in high school in 1987.

Meredith Marks was born Meredith Rosenberg on 15 December 1971, presumably in the Chicago area. Her father, Gary, passed away last year (and his memorial was a major talking point in a recent episode).

Meredith's handsome father in his 1958 senior year photo.

Going back further into Meredith's patrilineal line, I landed on her 2nd great-grandfather, Aaron Rosenberg (c.1852 - 1921) as the earliest immigrant. His naturalization petition states he was born in "Shavil, Russia," which likely corresponds to the area of Šiauliai, Lithuania.

Screenshot from the go-to Jewish genealogy site JewishGen about Shavl.

However, it's important to note that Shavl (the Yiddish) could refer to the city or the district at the time (and perhaps our ancestors knew each other because my paternal grandmother's family was also from within the Shavl district.

Excerpt of naturalization petition for Aaron Rosenberg.

Oath of Allegiance for Aaron Rosenberg who became a United States citizen on 29 November 1910.

He appears to have immigrated around 1884 with his son Jacob (Meredith's great-grandfather) to Castle Garden (Ellis Island wasn't open yet) and went to Milwaukee before heading to Green Bay, Wisconsin. He started out as a "junk dealer" according to the 1900 U.S. Census, a fairly common occupation for Jewish immigrants at the time and became involved in hides and furs as a merchant. Meredith's 2nd great-grandmother, Blume (Americanized to Bessie), was noted for her charity work in her obituary.

Obituary of Blume (Miller) Rosenberg in 14 August 1906 issue of Green Bay Press-Gazette.

Aaron Rosenberg can also be found in quite a few newspaper articles as a Jewish pioneer to Green Bay, Wisconsin, noted as the likely first Orthodox Jew with a family to settle there. He and his children and grandchildren were also instrumental in developing the Jewish infrastructure within the community that continues today.

Article found in the 28 September 1951 issue of the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle.

Article on Meredith's ancestors found in the 14 June 1999 issue of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Jacob Rosenberg is Meredith's great-grandfather and Ben is her paternal grandfather.

I was totally engaged (see what I did there?) in Meredith's family history, and I think it adds another dimension to who she is and the rich tapestry of backgrounds within the #RHOSLC cast.


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