Meryl Streep


Streep in 2009, photo by lev radin /

Birth Name: Mary Louise Streep

Place of Birth: Summit, New Jersey, U.S.

Date of Birth: June 22, 1949

*father – German, including Swiss-German
*mother – English, German, Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, remote French and Swedish

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 known for starring in the films Julia, The Deer Hunter, Out of Africa, Death Becomes Her, The River Wild, The Bridges of Madison County, Marvin’s Room, The Hours, Adaptation., The Devil Wears Prada, Lions for Lambs, Mamma Mia!, and its sequel; Doubt, Julie & Julia, It’s Complicated, Into the Woods, The Post, Little Women (2019), The Prom, Let Them All Talk, and Don’t Look Up, and television’s Holocaust, Angels in America, and Big Little Lies.

Meryl is the daughter of Mary Wolf (Wilkinson), a fine-artist and art editor, and Harry William Streep, Jr., 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. Her eight times great-grandfather, Lawrence Wilkinson, was one of the first Europeans to settle in Rhode Island. Her family was among the first purchasers of land in Pennsylvania.

Meryl is married to sculptor Don Gummer, with whom she has four children, musician and actor Henry Wolfe Gummer, actresses Mamie Gummer and Grace Gummer, and model and actress Louisa Jacobson.

Meryl’s patrilineal line can be traced to Johann Jakob Streeb, who was born, c. 1608, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

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/Christiana Rosina Zeltmann/Zeltman, who were born in Loffenau, Karlsruhe. 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 Zurmühle. 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 “Libby” Betts). Harry was born in Rushland, Bucks, 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/Cooper.

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 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:

*100% European

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.”

Genetically, she was also found to have a common ancestor with actress, writer, and director Pamela Adlon, through Pamela’s mother’s side.

Sources: Genealogies of Meryl Streep –

Genealogy of Meryl Streep (focusing on her father’s side) –

Meryl’s paternal great-grandparents, Frederick Streeb/Streep and Elizabeth Amberger/Amsberger, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Family history of Meryl’s paternal grandmother, Helena/Helen/Carolena “Lena” Huber –

Meryl’s paternal great-grandparents, Wilhelm Balthazar “William” Huber and Helena/Carolina Fredericka “Lena” Halter/Haltee, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Meryl Streep (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Meryl’s maternal grandmother, Mary Agnes “Mamie” Wolf, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Death records of Meryl’s maternal great-grandparents, Henry Charles Wolf and Mary Agnes McFadden –


Curious about ethnicity

41 Responses

  1. Daron says:

    She looks kinda Jewish or Eastern European. Germany had a large Jewish population for a long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had some Semitic ancestry.

  2. hesh123 says:

    She was smoking hot in the 70s if you’ll believe it

  3. passingtime85 says:

    Follers, I’ve seem to have run out of reply space for our conversation.

    Based on this “The centimorgan is also often used to imply distance along a chromosome, but the number of base pairs it corresponds to varies widely. In the Human genome, the centimorgan is about 1 million base pairs.”

    Then cross referencing that with charts found here –

    Nichols and Longoria should be between 4th and 5th cousins to Streep. Additionally Streep should be around a 3rd cousin to Colbert. I could be wrong, the articles could be wrong, but the fact Gates mentioned they’re cousins and the fact he said it’s within the past 250 years all seem to suggest the chart has legitimacy. Just saying.

    I think Gates established a DNA connection with Bacon and Sedgwick before going the traditional genealogical route. But I may be wrong I haven’t seen that episode in a while. I still think Lovato’s claim needs more explanation but seeing how it’s a direct quote from her, I guess it has to be accepted.

    Thanks for the info on Lindfors.

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