The House of Rothschild: Genealogy Information Part I

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Unknown internationally till the beginning of the 19th cent., this family of millionaire philanthropists became the most famous Jewish group in the world. Their direct family and business associations were in London, Paris, Frankfort and Vienna, their commercial contacts were world wide.

Their success, the adherence of the men to Judaism and Jewish interests, the marriage of a number of the women to the highest nobility in Europe, and the striking fact that they were "kings amongst bankers" as well as "the bankers of kings" for five generations led to the proverb "as rich as Rothschild," and to a considerable literature of myth and fact relating to their rise and brilliant financial coups.

Moses Rothschild (b. Frankfort, 1550)

He was the lineal progenitor of the family. He had three sons (and a daughter who died in infancy). Of these the eldest Raphael was childless, the family of Elhanan died out in 1788.

Gumprecht Rothschild

He was the third son of Moses, had two sons. From one of these all the Rothschilds trace their common descent.

Naphtali Hirsch Rothschild

The eldest son of Gumprecht (d. 1648), had three sons who survived him.


Second son of Naphtali Hirsch (d. 1692) had a grandson, also named Moses (d. 1765).

Amachel Moses (d. 1754),

Third son of Moses, a small money changer and petty merchant in Frankfort, continued the line. He had three sons and two daughters.

Mayer Amschel (b. 1743; d. 1812)

 He studied banking in the then celebrated house of Oppenheim, in Hanover, and in 1760 returned to Frankfort and started in business for himself. He became general agent, and afterwards court banker to William IX, Land-grave of Hesse-Cassel whose great fortune was acquired by hiring his Hessian troops, as mercenaries, tot he British in the American Revolutionary war. Mayer Amshel's investments for the Landgrave were the foundation of the Rothschild fortune. The family had already for several generations lived at 152, the House of the Red Shield, in the Frankfort Judengasse. it was here that, in 1806, the Landgrave, having to fee from the French troops, deposited his fortune in specie and jewels amounting to $3,000,000 which was restored to him with profit in 1814.

Mayer Amschel married Gudela Schnapper (d. Frankfort, 1849, in her 96th year). She had 19 Children of whom 10 survived to adult age.

"The tiny form of a little old lady wearing a big cap that framed her face and hid her hair. Born long before the French great-grandmother would never leave her old home in the entreaties of her sons would ever induce her to move into a modern and brighter district...she lived in the simplest conditions. CONSTANCE BATTERSEA, Reminiscences, London, 1922.

Nathan Mayer (b. Frankfort, 1776; d. 1836)

Third son of Mayer Amschel, settled in Manchester, England, in 1798, and traded in cotton goods, and rapidly acquired a fortune. He became a naturalized British subject in 1804, and settled in London in 1805, where he soon established himself in new Court, St. Swithin's Lane, still the headquarters of the firm. He married Hannah Barent Cohen, sister of the wife of Moses Montefiore. The Hesse-Cassel fortune was invested in the gold of the East India Company and used to finance the British campaign in the Iberian Peninsula, and later for the campaign against Napoleon in Flanders. During the latter struggle Rothschild established a pigeon-post between England and Belgium, and thus obtained news of the victory at Waterloo within 48 hours of that decisive battle. Whether he gained from this advance information is a matter of dispute, but he hade a fortune out of the transfer of gold and credits during the war. The experience of the war taught the family the wisdom of establishing itself in various capitals. Nathan Mayer had seven children. Two of the daughters, Charlotte and Louisa married their Frankfort and Naples cousins.

The main line was continued through the elder son Lionel Nathan, Sir Anthony de Rothschild (b. London, 1810; d. there, 1876) was made an English baronet, married Louisa Montefiore and their two daughters became Constance, Lady Battersea, her sister, Annie marrying Hon. Eliot Yorke. Another son, Mayer Nathan (b. 1818; d. 1874) was the father of Hannah, Countess of Rosebery. Of Mayer Amschel's other sons.

Salomon Mayer (b. 1774; d. 1855)

He founded the Vienna house. His grandson Albert Salomon Anselm (b. 1844; d. 1911) who gave 35 million gulden in foundations in Vienna had five sons and one daughter, the parents of the Viennese Rothschild family, Mayer Amschel's youngest son.

James (Jacob) Mayer de Rothschild (b. 1792; d. 1868)

He founded the French house of Rothschild Freres in 1817, and made a large fortune in French loans. After 1830 the French firm under the leadership of Baron James became the dominant factor in the family, and in 1848 the Paris house was estimated to be twice as rich as all other Paris bankers put together. James married Betty, a Viennese Rothschild, their elder son was Baron Mayer Alphonse James de Rothschild (b. 1827; d. 1905) and the youngest son was Baron Edmond James de Rothschild.*

 For Eugene Delacroix, the painter, Baron James de Rothschild of Paris consented to pose as a beggar....Delacroix placed a tunic round his shoulders, put a stout staff in his hand and made him pose as if he were on the steps of an ancient Roman temple. In this attitude he was discovered by one of the artist's favorite pupils.....concluding the model had only just been brought from some church porch....he slipped a piece of money into the beggar's hand. Rothschild thanked with a look, and kept the money.....Shortly afterwards the young fellow received a letter stating that charity bears interest, and that the accumulated interest on his gift was....10,000 francs, which were at his disposal at the office in the Rue Lafitte__JAMES REEVES, The Rothschilds

Karl Mayer von Rothschild (b. 1788; d. 1855)

Another son of Mayer Amschel, became the head of the Frankfort and Naples firm, and two of his granddaughters married into the nobility of the Second Empire, Marguerite becoming Duchess of Grammont, and Bertha Marie, Duchess of Wagram.

Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (b. London, 1806; d. there, 1879), continued the business developed by his father in London. As a banker he was famous for the international character of his business. He financed the British participation in the Crimean War, funded the U.S. national debt; provided the cash needed by Disraeli to purchase the Suez Canal shares. During his lifetime his firm is said to have financed loans amounting to one and one-half billion dollars. He was active in Jewish affairs, was president of the Great Synagogue, London, but he is still better known for the part he played in the emancipation of the Jews in England.

In 1847 he was elected a member of Parliament by the City of London, but was not seated because the oath was still Christian in form. He was reelected, resigning and being reelected, five times, until in 1858 the disability was removed and on July 26, 1858, he took his seat, being sworn on the Hebrew Pentateuch on the faith of a Jew. The event was commemorated by the foundation of Commemoration Scholarships in various schools. He remained in Parliament till 1874, when he was defeated in the general opposition to the Liberal party program. Baron Lionel is the "Sidonia" of Disraeli's novels. He married a Viennese cousin, Charlotte de Rothschild who was affectionately known in the London community as "the Baroness." She was devoted to personal charity, and left a large bequest for sustaining the poorly paid Anglo-Jewish ministers. The couple had three sons; Nathan Mayer* who became the head of the house; Leopold and Alfred. Leopold married Miss Perugia, her wedding being attended by the Prince of Wales and Lord Beaconsfield. Her son Lionel Charles is the present head of the London firm.

(Continue Part II)


Website: The History
Article Name: The House of Rothschild: Genealogy Information Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of Books: The Encyclopedia of Jewish Knowledge In One Volume, Edited by Jacob De Haas; in collaboration with more than 150 scholars and specialists. Behrman's Jewish Book House New York, 1934.
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