Select Rosenthal Surname Genealogy

Rosenthal in German and Yiddish has the meaning "rose valley."  The German name, sometimes spelt Rosendahl, dates back to the 14th century.  It can be described as an ornamental surname in that, though it translates literally as one who lived in a valley of roses, that might not in fact have been the case.  

Select Rosenthal Resources on The Internet

Select Rosenthal Ancestry

Rosenthals emigrated to America in the 19th century from a number of countries.  The largest numbers have come from Germany, in particular in northeast Germany in what was once Prussia.  One family account traces Rosenthals in the town of Greifswald back to the early 17th century.

But other Rosenthals, mainly Jewish, have come from Russia and Poland and from elsewhere in central Europe.  Naftali Rosenthal, for instance, was one of the most important Jewish figures in 18th century Hungary.  Today these Jewish communities have disappeared and the Rosenthal numbers in Germany are only around 8-9,000.

America.  Early Rosenthal arrivals from Germany came to the Midwest mainly.  William Rosenthal, for instance, came from what was then Prussia and settled in Deerfield township, Minnesota in the 1860's. 

The Rosenthal name has loomed large in Cincinnati, Ohio for more than a hundred years.   Samuel Rosenthal started a printing company there only three years after the ending of the Civil War.  Son David was an Impressionist painter.  Samuel's business remained family-run until the death of the fourth generation owner, Tommy Rosenthal, in 2006 at the age of eighty. 

Meanwhile Edward Rosenthal started F&W Publications - publishers of Farmer's Quarterly and Writer's Digest - in Cincinnati in 1910.  Richard and Lois Rosenthal ran the business for more than forty years until they sold it in 1999.

Another Rosenthal family, this time four Rosenthal brothers from Poland, set themselves up in the early 1850's as lithographers in Philadelphia.  They produced many works depicting battle scenes and encampments during the Civil War.  Max Rosenthal, the principal artist of the company, continued working in Philadelphia until his death in 1918 and was followed there by his son Albert.

New York later drew many Rosenthals, such as:
  • Irving Rosenthal, who arrived with his family from Russia in 1902.  For a while he and his brother Jack worked as musicians and in odd jobs around the city.  In 1934 they opened the Palisades amusement park on land facing New York City.  It ran until 1971.
  • William and Ida Rosenthal, who also came to New York from Russia in the early 1900's.  Ida Rosenthal started her dress shop Maidenform in 1922 and is often credited as being the inventor of the brassiere.
  • and Abe Rosenthal's family, who came to New York in the 1930's and his father found work as a house painter.  Although his father and four of his siblings died of various ailments at that time, Abe Rosenthal just about survived and went on to become the managing editor of the New York Times.
Refugees from Nazi Germany included Berthold and Johanna Rosenthal who arrived via Portugal in 1940.  Berthold Rosenthal was a well-respected Jewish scholar of his time.

Canada.  Aaron Rosenthal had led a wandering life East – to India, Sri Lanka and Australia - after leaving Prussia in 1844 at the tender age of 13.  In Australia he married his German-born wife Bertha and they moved to Canada in 1874, settling in Ottawa where Aaron opened a jewelry shop and was an early leader of the Jewish community there. 

“His firm became known as A. Rosenthal and Sons Ltd. The shop was located in the beautifully ornate Rosenthal Building on Sparks Street that had been built specifically for the family.  It was briefly the tallest building in Ottawa.” 

On Aaron’s death in 1909, his four sons continued the business until 194

Select Rosenthal Miscellany

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

Select Rosenthal Names

Ida Rosenthal, a Russian immigrant to America, started Maidenform in 1922 and is often credited as the inventor of the brassiere.
Jean Rosenthal, born in New York, has been a pioneer in theatrical lighting design.
Abe Rosenthal was the much-esteemed editor of the New York Times in the 1970's and 80's.  He was born in Canada to a Jewish family who had changed their name from Shipiatsky to Rosenthal.
Lefty Rosenthal ran illegal betting shops in Chicago and Florida before moving to Las Vegas in 1968 and pioneering sports gambling there.

Select Rosenthals Today
  • 2,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 8,000 in America (most numerous in New York) 
  • 1,000 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.

Click here for reader feedback
Click here for return to front page