#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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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