Birth Name: Mary Louise Streep
Place of Birth: Summit, New Jersey, U.S.
Date of Birth: June 22, 1949
*German, including Swiss-German (father)
*English, German, Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, remote French (mother)
Meryl Streep is an Academy Award-winning American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and has twice won the Academy Award for Best Actress, for Sophie’s Choice (1982) and The Iron Lady (2011). She is also famous for starring in the films Out of Africa, The Devil Wears Prada, and Mamma Mia!, among many others.
With her husband, sculptor Don Gummer, her children are musician and actor Henry Wolfe Gummer, actresses Mamie Gummer and Grace Gummer, and model Louisa Gummer.
Meryl is the daughter of Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a fine-artist and art editor, and Harry William Streep, a pharmaceutical executive. Her father was of German and Swiss-German descent, with his “Streeb” (later “Streep”) line going back to Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Meryl’s mother had English, German, Irish, Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), and remote French, ancestry, including some roots in Pennsylvania going back to 1600s settlers of that state.
Meryl’s paternal grandfather was Harry William/Wilbur Streep (the son of Frederick Streep and Elizabeth Amberger/Amsberger). Frederick and Elizabeth were both born in New Jersey, both of them to German immigrant parents. Frederick was the son of Gottfried/Godfrey Streeb and Christine/Christina Rosina Zeltmann/Zeltman. Elizabeth was the daughter of Konrad Amsberger and Elizabeth Sam.
Meryl’s paternal grandmother was Helena/Carolena “Lena” Huber (the daughter of Wilhelm “William” Balthazar Huber and Helena/Carolina “Lena” Fredericka Halter/Haltee). Wilhelm was Swiss (of Swiss-German background), born in Giswil, in the canton of Obwalden, the son of Felix Huber and Franziska Zurmuhle. Meryl’s great-grandmother Helena was the daughter of German parents, Henry/Wilhelm Halter and Regina Huff.
Meryl’s maternal grandfather was Harry Rockafellow Wilkinson (the son of Eleazer Twining Wilkinson and Margaretta/Margaret Scarborough Betts). Harry had English, some Scots-Irish (Northern Irish), and remote French, ancestry. Eleazer was the son of Samuel Twining Wilkinson and Julianna V. Simpson. Margaretta was the daughter of Stephen Betts and Letitia/Leticia Kinsey Hudnut.
Meryl’s maternal grandmother was Mary “Mamie” Agnes Wolf (the daughter of Henry Charles Wolf and Mary Agnes McFadden). Henry was born in Pennsylvania, to German parents. Meryl’s great-grandmother Mary Agnes was born in Ireland, to Manus McFadden and Grace Strain.
Meryl had believed that her paternal ancestry came from the “Streep” family, a Dutch family that was descended from distant Sephardi Jewish ancestors. However, when her ancestry was traced on the 2010 series Faces of America (with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.), Meryl found out that she had no Dutch nor Sephardi Jewish roots. Her genealogy was not connected to the “Streep” family of the Netherlands, because her father’s ancestors, who were German, were originally named “Streeb”, and had changed their surname to “Streep”. As of the 1910 U.S. Census, the surname was still spelled as “Streeb”.
In his 2010 book elaborating on the series, Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary People Discovered their Pasts, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. writes: “The Broad Institute’s testing of Meryl’s autosomal DNA revealed that she shares recent ancestral connections to Mike Nichols (of four million base pairs on chromosome 13) and to Eva Longoria (of five million base pairs on chromosome 2), as well as an extraordinarily close ancestral connection to Stephen Colbert. Indeed, Meryl and Stephen share thirty million base pairs – a huge stretch of identical DNA.”
Genealogy of Meryl Streep (focusing on her father’s side) – http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com
Meryl’s paternal great-grandparents, Frederick Streeb/Streep and Elizabeth Amberger/Amsberger, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Family history of Meryl’s paternal grandmother, Helena “Lena” Huber – https://mikeymike5289.wordpress.com
Meryl’s paternal great-grandparents, Wilhelm “William” Balthazar Huber and Helena “Lena” Fredericka Halter, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Meryl’s maternal grandmother, Mary “Mamie” Agnes Wolf, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
photo by lev radin / Shutterstock.com