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, Scottish, remote French and Swedish (mother)
Meryl Streep is an American actress and philanthropist. 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 It’s Complicated, among many others.
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, Scottish, and remote French and Swedish, 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 Streeb/Streep and Elizabeth Amberger/Amsberger). Harry was born in New Jersey. Frederick and Elizabeth were 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/Helen/Carolena “Lena” Huber (the daughter of Wilhelm Balthazar “William” Huber and Helena/Carolina Fredericka “Lena” Halter/Haltee). Meryl’s grandmother Helena was born in New Jersey. Wilhelm was Swiss (of Swiss-German background), born in Giswil, in the canton of Obwalden, and was the son of Felix Huber and Franziska Zurmuhle. Meryl’s great-grandmother Helena was the daughter of German parents, Wilhelm/Henry Halter and Regina Huff.
Meryl’s maternal grandfather was Harry Rockafellow Wilkinson (the son of Eleazer Twining Wilkinson and Margaretta/Margaret Scarborough Betts). Harry was born in Pennsylvania, and had English, some Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Irish, Scottish, and remote French and Swedish, 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 Agnes “Mamie” Wolf (the daughter of Henry Charles Wolf and Mary Agnes McFadden). Meryl’s grandmother Mary Agnes was born in Pennsylvania. Henry was born in Pennsylvania, to German parents. Meryl’s great-grandmother Mary Agnes was born in Ireland, the daughter of Manus McFadden and Grace Strain.
Meryl had believed that her paternal ancestry came from the Streep family, a Dutch family that was said to be 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 or Sephardi Jewish roots. Her genealogy was not connected to the Streep family of the Netherlands, because her patrilineal 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.
A DNA test whose results were displayed on Faces of America stated that Meryl’s genetic ancestry is:
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/Helen/Carolena “Lena” Huber – https://mikeymike5289.wordpress.com
Meryl’s paternal great-grandparents, Wilhelm Balthazar “William” Huber and Helena/Carolina Fredericka “Lena” Halter/Haltee, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Meryl’s maternal grandmother, Mary Agnes “Mamie” Wolf, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org
Death records of Meryl’s maternal great-grandparents, Henry Charles Wolf and Mary Agnes McFadden – http://www.findagrave.com
photo by lev radin / Shutterstock.com