Fred Astaire was born Friedrich Emanuel Austerlitz on May 10, 1899 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Johanna "Ann" (née Geilus) and Frederic "Fritz" Austerlitz. Astaire's mother was born in the United States, to Lutheran German emigrants from East Prussia and Alsace. Astaire's father was born in Linz, Austria, to Jewish parents who had converted to Roman Catholicism.
After arriving in New York City at age 25 on October 26, 1893, and being inspected at Ellis Island, Astaire's father, hoping to find work in his brewing trade, moved to Omaha, Nebraska, and landed a job with the Storz Brewing Company. Astaire's mother dreamed of escaping Omaha by virtue of her children's talents, after Astaire's sister, Adele Astaire, early on revealed herself to be an instinctive dancer and singer. She planned a "brother and sister act," which was common in vaudeville at the time. Although Astaire refused dance lessons at first, he easily mimicked his older sister's steps and took up piano, accordion, and clarinet.
When their father suddenly lost his job, the family moved to New York City in 1905.