Mayer Amschel Rothschild was born into a modest Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, Germany (then it was part of the Holy Roman Empire). They lived in Judengasse, which was a Jewish ghetto of the city. His father Amschel Moses Rothschild was an owner of a currency exchange and trading goods business. He and Mayer’s mother Schönche Rothschild had eight children. The surname Rothschild can be traced back to 16th century and it derived from the location of the house Mayer’s ancestors occupied in Judengasse (Rothschild means red shield).