Albert Einstein
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Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

Dr Albert Einstein
Born in Ulm, Königreich Württemberg, Deutsches Reichmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 6 Jan 1903 (to 14 Feb 1919) in Bern, Switzerlandmap
Husband of — married 2 Jul 1919 in Berlin, Germanymap
Descendants descendants
Died in Princeton, Mercer, New Jersey, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Jan 2009
This page has been accessed 14,666 times.
Albert Einstein has German ancestry.
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Notables Project
Albert Einstein is Notable.

Albert Einstein was a theoretical physicist best known for developing the Theory of Relativity, the Philosophy of Science, and his famous Mass–energy equivalence formula: E = mc2. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921 "for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect."[1]

Birth and Education

Albert Einstein was born in the city of Ulm in Württemberg, Germany, on 14 March 1879.[2][3] He was the son of Hermann and Pauline Einstein.[4][5] Six weeks after his birth, his parents moved the family to Munich, where Albert spent most of his early years and began his education at the Luitpold Gymnasium.[6] Albert's family moved later to Italy, and Albert continued his education at Aarau, Switzerland. In 1896 he entered the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Zurich and trained to be a teacher in math and physics.[6]
In 1901, Albert graduated from the Polytechnic School and gained Swiss citizenship, but wasn't immediately able to find a teaching position. He took employment as a Swiss patent examiner/technical assistant[6] in Bern.[7] In 1905, he received his PhD[6] from the University of Zurich.[8]


In Zurich, he received his first academic appointment in 1909, as Professor Extraordinary, in 1911 he was a Professor of Theoretical Physics at Prague and returned to Zurich in 1912 to fill a similar position. About 1914, he moved to Berlin and became a German citizen.[6] He held a research professorship there without teaching obligations at the Prussian Academy of Sciences,[7] at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut für Physik, a position he held until 1933.[9]
His 1919 confirmation of the Theory of General Relativity brought Albert fame and international recognition, which he used as a platform for social concerns.[7] In 1921 he made his first trip to the United States along with Chaim Weizmann to raise funds for the creation of the Hebrew University in Palatine.[7] He and his wife, Elsa, traveled aboard the Rotterdam, naming his "brother" "R. Einstein" as a contact in New York[10] (Albert didn't have a brother, so "R." was probably a cousin).
In 1922, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1921. The delay was due to a conclusion made by the Nobel Committee for Physics that the 1921 candidates had not "met the criteria outlined in the will of Alfred Nobel".[9] The committee argued over the merits of awarding the prize for the very complex and misunderstood Theory of Relativity, which they had trouble proving. They reached a compromise and awarded the prize for Albert's explanation of the photoelectric effect (a phenomenon in which electrons are emitted from a metal sheet only under certain illuminations), which he had published in 1905. The committee wrote to Einstein on 10 November 1922: "...the Royal Academy of Sciences has decided to award you last year's Nobel Prize for physics, in consideration of your work in theoretical physics and in particular your discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, but without taking into account the value which will be accorded your relativity and gravitation theories after these are confirmed in the future".[11]

Life in America

In 1933, when Hitler gained power, Einstein renounced his German citizenship for political reasons and took a position of Professor of Theoretical Physics at Princeton[6] at the Institute for Advanced Study.[7] At some point between 1935-1944, Albert's German nationality was annulled by the Nazi regime.[12] Albert and his second wife, Elsa, immigrated to the United States, sailing from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, New York on 3 June 1935 aboard the Queen of Bermuda.[3][13] They resided in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey when Albert made his declaration to become a US Citizen in 1936.[14]
In August 1939, Albert wrote a letter to US President Franklin Roosevelt, which "eventually led to the establishment of the Manhattan Project and the US development of the atomic bomb".[7]
On 1 October 1940, Einstein took the Oath of Allegiance, becoming a naturalized United States citizen,[3] while retaining his Swiss citizenship.[7] He was widower and resided in Princeton that year with his [step] daughter Margot, age 40, his sister Maja Winteler, age 58, and Helen Dukas,[15] (Albert's secretary).[16] In America, he was committed to the process of establishing and maintaining a homeland for Jews, emphasizing the need for equality of rights between Jews and Arabs. He also advocated for nuclear disarmament, world peace, and civil rights for all.[7]
After the World War II, Albert was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel, which he declined, although he continued his collaboration with Dr. Chaim Weizmann in establishing the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.[6]

Marriages and Children

Albert married first to Mileva Marić[6] on 6 January 1903.[17][18] She was the daughter of Marija Ruzić and Miloš Marić of Titel in Serbia.[19] Albert and Mileva had a daughter and two sons together:
Albert had started an affair with his cousin Elsa (Einstein) Löwenthal in 1912.[19] As a result, Albert and Mileva divorced in 1919[6][22] and he married Elsa on 2 June 1919 in Berlin.[5][23] Elsa was the daughter of Rudolf Einstein and Fanny Koch, born in Hechingen, Prussia in January 1876. She was Albert's first cousin through their mothers and second cousins through their fathers.[24] They emigrated to the United States together in 1935 and she died in 1936.[25]

Death and Legacy

Albert Einstein died 18 April 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey.[6] “He had left behind specific instructions regarding his remains: cremate them, and scatter the ashes secretly in order to discourage idolaters.” Against his and his family's wishes, the pathologist on call at Princeton Hospital removed Einstein's brain, later receiving his son's approval for the brain to be studied for scientific purposes only.[26]
Albert left a will dated 18 March 1950 leaving his written heritage to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, which is now showcased in the Albert Einstein Archives there.[27]


The majority of the information in the detailed timeline linked below comes directly from The Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem website.[25] Supplemental information such as awards he received, his published works, etc. are also included in the timeline and are sourced appropriately.
LINK: Life of Albert Einstein - Timeline


  1. Nobel Prize in Physics, 1921: Nobel
  2. Geburtenregister Ulm 1808-1888, Germany, Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Personenstandsregister jüdischer Gemeinden in Württemberg, Baden und Hohenzollern, J 386 Bü 596, Geburten 1808-1888 entry 7
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "New Jersey Naturalization Records, 1796-1991," database, (FamilySearch: 15 December 2020), Albert Einstein, 1935; citing Naturalization, NARA various NAID. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 - 2009, RG 21: includes image of his petition for naturalization, signed by Einstein.
  4. Familienbuch Ulm 1800-1926, Personenstandsregistern jüdischer Gemeinden in Württemberg, Baden und Hohenzollern (18. - 20. Jahrhundert), p.203. [translated: Family book Ulm 1800-1926, civil status registers of Jewish communities in Württemberg, Baden and Hohenzollern (18th - 20th centuries)]
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Berlin, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936" [database on-line with image]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Laufendenummer: 339. Ancestry Record 2957 #22154070 Free to view Ancestry link:
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 "Albert Einstein, Biographical" taken from Nobel Lectures, Physics 1901-1921, (Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Co., 1967). Online at, accessed 4 Jan 2021.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Schulman, Robert J. "Einstein, Albert" in The Oxford Companion to United States History. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001). Online at, page 218.
  8. Physics Today - Albert Einstein
  9. 9.0 9.1 Albert Einstein - Facts:
  10. "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924", database with images, (FamilySearch: 18 December 2020), Albert Einstein, 1921.
  11. Okun, Lev. "The Concept of Mass" in Physics Today, published June 1989, page 35. Online at Google Books, page 15.
  12. "Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944". [database/image on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Ancestry image.
  13. "New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957," database with images, (FamilySearch: 11 December 2020), Prof Elbert Einstein, 1935; citing Immigration, NY, NY, US, NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 National Archives: Declaration of Intention of Albert Einstein. See also: "United States, New Jersey, Naturalization records from various counties, 1905-1944", database, (FamilySearch: 29 July 2020), Albert Einstein, 1936 (same document).
  15. "United States Census, 1940," database with images, (FamilySearch: accessed 7 May 2017), Albert Einstein, Princeton Borough, Mercer, NJ, USA; citing ED 11-64, sheet 10B, line 66, family 267, 16th Census of the US, 1940, NARA digital pub. T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: NARA, 2012, roll 2357.
  16. Helen Dukas.
  17. str.25
  18. Transcription of the marriage record: Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, and Robert Schulmann (editors). The collected papers of Albert Einstein. Volume 5: The Swiss Years: Correspondence, 1902-1914. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1993. p 9
  19. 19.0 19.1 Gagnon, Pauline. "The Forgotten Life of Einstein's First Wife" in the Scientific American. (Dec 2016). Online at
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Wikipedia: Einstein Family
  21. Smith, Shawn. Albert Einstein, Mileva Maric: The Love Letters. Edited by Jürgen Renn and Robert Schulmann, (Princeton University Press, 1992). Online with subscription at JSTOR. Accessed 5 Jan 2021.
  22. Transcription of the divorce record: Diana Kormos Buchwald, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, Daniel J. Kennefick, & Tilman Sauer (editors). The collected papers of Albert Einstein. Volume 9: The Berlin Years: Correspondence January 1919-April 1920. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2004. pp 8-11
  23. Transcription of the marriage record: Diana Kormos Buchwald, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, Daniel J. Kennefick, & Tilman Sauer (editors). The collected papers of Albert Einstein. Volume 9: The Berlin Years: Correspondence January 1919-April 1920. Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 2004. pp 83-84
  24. Elsa Einstein, short life history:
  25. 25.0 25.1 Timeline: The Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
  26. Hughes, Virginia. "The Tragic Story of How Einstein’s Brain Was Stolen and Wasn’t Even Special" published online at, 21 April 2014, citing: Brian Burrell. Postcards from the Brain Museum. (New York, NY: Broadway Books: 2005) [not available online]
  27. Einstein's written heritage:
See also:
  • The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein at
* Volume 1: The Early Years, 1879-1902, John Stachel, David C. Cassidy, and Robert Schulmann, eds., DEU; translated by Anna Beck ENG: page 20, release from Wurttemberg citizenship; page 239, Swiss citizenship; page 241, Residency and good conduct for citizenship in Switzerland; pages 269-270, Questionairre for Swiss citizenship; 332-333, footnote on 333, Mileva gave birth to a girl January 1902; pages 370-377, March 1879-June 1902 timeline; page 381, lists marriage date and place 6 Jan 1903 in Bern, Jan 1902 birth of daughter Lieserl.
* Volume 2: The Swiss Years: Writings, 1900-1909, John Stachel, David C. Cassidy, Jürgen Renn, and Robert Schulmann, eds., DEU; translated by Anna Beck ENG: his writings.
* Volume 3: The Swiss Years: Writings 1909-1911, Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, Jürgen Renn, and Robert Schulman, eds., DEU; translated by Anna Beck ENG: his writings.
* Volume 4: The Swiss Years: Writings 1912-1914, Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, Jürgen Renn, and Robert Schulman, eds., DEU; translated by Anna Beck ENG: his writings.
* Volume 5: The Swiss Years: Correspondence, 1902-1914, Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, and Robert Schulmann, eds., DEU; translated by Anna Beck ENG.
* Volume 6: The Berlin Years: Writings, 1914-1917, Martin J. Klein, A. J. Kox, and Robert Schulman, eds., DEU; translated by Alfred Engel ENG.
* Volume 7: The Berlin Years: Writings, 1918-1921, Michael Janssen, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, Christoph Lehner, and Diana Kormos Buchwald eds., DEU; translated by Alfred Engel ENG.
* Volume 8, Part A: The Berlin Years: Correspondence 1914-1917, Robert Schulmann, A. J. Kox, Michel Janssen, and József Illy, eds., DEU; translated by Ann M. Hentschel ENG (1 vol.).
* Volume 8, Part B: The Berlin Years: Correspondence 1918, Robert Schulmann, A. J. Kox, Michel Janssen, and József Illy, eds., DEU; translated by Ann M. Hentschel ENG (1 vol.): page 5/713, deposition in divorce case.
* Volume 9: The Berlin Years: Correspondence January 1919-April 1920, Diana Kormos Buchwald, Robert Schulmann, József Illy, Daniel J. Kennefick, & Tilman Sauer, eds., DEU; translated by Ann Hentschel ENG.
* Volume 10: The Berlin Years: Correspondence May-December 1920 / Supplementary Correspondence 1909-1920, Diana Kormos Buchwald, Tilman Sauer, Ze'ev Rosenkranz, József Illy, and Virgina Iris Holmes, eds., DEU; translated by Ann Hentschel ENG.
* Volume 11: Cumulative Index, Bibliography, List of Correspondence, Chronology, and Errata to Volumes 1-10, A. J. Kox, Tilman Sauer, Diana Kormos Buchwald, Rudy Hirschmann, Osik Moses, Benjamin Aronin, and Jennifer Stolper, comp. vol. 11.
* Volume 12: The Berlin Years: Correspondence January-December 1921, Diana Kormos Buchwald, Ze'ev Rosenkranz, Tilman Sauer, József Illy, & Virginia Iris Holmes, eds., DEU; translated by Ann M. Hentschel ENG.
* Volume 13: The Berlin Years: Writings & Correspondence January 1922-March 1923, Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, Ze'ev Rosenkranz, & Tilman Sauer, eds., DEU; translated by Ann M. Hentschel & Osik Moses ENG.
* Volume 14: The Berlin Years: Writings & Correspondence, April 1923-May 1925, Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, Ze’ev Rosenkranz, Tilman Sauer & Osik Moses, eds., DEU; ENG.
* Volume 15: The Berlin Years: Writings & Correspondence, June 1925-May 1927, Diana Kormos Buchwald, József Illy, A. J. Kox, Dennis Lehmkuhl, Ze'ev Rosenkranz & Jennifer Nollar James, eds., DEU; ENG.
  • Einstein, Albert. Mein Weltbild [The World As I See It], 25th ed. (Frankfurt: Ullestein Verlag, 1993; orig. published 1932), translation by Eckhart Tolle. Preview online at GoogleBooks.
  • Smith, Dinitia. “Dark Side of Einstein Emerges in His Letters” in the New York Times, published 6 November 1996. Online at The New York Times.
  • Wikipedia:Albert Einstein.
  • Wikipedia: Annus Mirabilis Papers.
  • "United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942," database with images, (FamilySearch: 7 April 2016), Albert Einstein, 1942; citing NARA microfilm pub#M1936, M1937, M1939, M1951, M1962, M1964, M1986, M2090, &M2097 (Washington D.C.: NARA, n.d.): source for DOB.
  • Find A Grave, database and images (accessed 23 September 2018), memorial page for Albert Einstein (14 Mar 1879–18 Apr 1955), Find A Grave: Memorial #314; Maintained by Find A Grave: Cremated, Ashes scattered around the grounds of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
  • Non-immigrant trips to the United States: "California, Los Angeles Passenger Lists, 1907-1948," on FamilySearch (1931) and "California, Los Angeles Passenger Lists, 1907-1948," on FamilySearch (1932)

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Comments: 16

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Hi there profile managers!

We plan on featuring Albert alongside AJ Jacobs, the Example Profile of the Week, in the Connection Finder on January 6th. Between now and then is a good time to take a look at the sources and biography to see if there are updates and improvements that need made, especially those that will bring it up to WikiTree Style Guide standards. We know it's short notice, so don't fret too much. Just do what you can. A Team member will check on the profile Tuesday and make changes as necessary.

Thanks! Abby

posted by Abby (Brown) Glann
The inline sources on this profile are far from ideal: Wikipedia and Find a Grave. I'll try and add some better sources today and fix it up a bit, but can't promise a great result in one day. If anyone finds sources we can add, please add them in the profile comments as I will be editing until further notice.
posted by Traci Thiessen
Done (for now)! Albert's profile is in much better shape, as are many of his family members. Thanks to everyone who helped!
posted by Traci Thiessen
He spent some time working in the pattent office in Bern, Switzerland. During that time he spent a lot of time working on his own theories and would quickly hide his work whenever his boss came near his desk. He was sitting there at 28 when he had the thought of gravity. He then spent the next 8 years working it all out.


Meltzer, Brad, I am Albert Einstein, Ordinary People Change the World, Penguin

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
Many teachers, thought he was a daydreamer and one told him he would never amount to anything. Others, especially now, know he was a genius.

When he was in 6th grade they would have a medical student come for dinner on Thursdays. Max Talmud would come and visit and bring books to Albert to read. One of the best ones was a geometry book. It had about as much impact on Albert as the compass his dad had given him.

At 12 he was doing all different kinds of math, not only geometry but also algebra and others. He found it had the structure that made it logical, just like the music he loved.

In college he failed a physics class. This is ironic as he did so much in the field.

He continued his love for sailing and would sail a real boat, sailing when there was wind and writing notes when not.

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
He was born with a really big head and it scared his mom. She thought it was something wrong with him.

He grew up and everything had to be in his own time. He did not even speak until he was 3 years old, because he always thought in pictures instead of words. He also spoke differently so the maid called him "the dopey one".

He liked to play alone with puzzles, sailing his toy boat or feeding the pigeons. Just thinking was one of his favorite things to do.

At about 4 or 5 he got very sick and was in bed, when his father brought him a compass. It made a big impact on him and his life. He learned from it that everything had order and mystery.

Cards and blocks were turned into structures and tall buildings as he grew. He loved the violin and he saw the structure of the music.

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
Thank you, Lisa, for your added personal comments here about Albert's early childhood and unique personal characteristics. It is thought by many researchers that Einstein was on the Autistic spectrum, in particular having Asperger syndrome due to his childhood developmental delayed progress. (Autism Wiki, Many high-functioning Aspies are in the math/science/tech field, also musical prodigies such as Australian pianist David Helfgott. ( They contributed much to world human progress. Thanks again!
posted by Juliet (Adams) Wills
Hi hun, Yes I have heard that too. I can see where he probably did have it. I have an adult aspie daughter. While reading the information, I kept thinking how much it sounded like her.
posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
Oh, Lisa, I have an adult aspie grandson! So many of same characteristics. Many aspies have high I.Qs. The movie "Shine," about David Helfgott was outstanding.
posted by Juliet (Adams) Wills
There is a photo my grandfather took of Einstein speaking in Pasadena; probably at Cal Tech. He's very small in the photo, as it was taken from far away. If there's interest, I can see if my cousin can e-mail me a copy I could post.
posted by Alison Gardner
Thank you German Roots Project!

Einstein also spoke out on racial segregation and racism. Wouldn't it be good to add this to the timeline?

posted by C Ryder
... reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."

Meltzer, Brad, Heroes for my son, pgs 32-33, Harper Collins Publishing

posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
HE did not even speak until he was 3 and was the worst behaved student in school. He was fascinated by a simple compass that his father showed him when he was very sick while in grade school. He knew there was something invisible/hidden in how it worked. Everyone disagreed. He as called a foolish dreamer and they requested for him to drop out. He would hide pages with his thoughts on them when his bosses would go by him. he disagreed with the status quo and conventional wisdom. He knew everything was full of energy. His theory showed us the universe. He is quoted "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of ...
posted by Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy
1. I would question the marriage date for Albert and Elsa. He would not have been able to marry without a divorce degree, and he only got divorced in 1919. The generally accepted date in June 2, 1919.

2. Baden-Württemberg came into being only on March 9, 1952. Hard to have been born there in 1879. Ulm at that time was in the Königreich Württemberg, and that was part of Deutsches Reich.

posted by Helmut Jungschaffer
a small detail - declaration of intention to become citizen of USA says he married Elsa on Apr 6, 1917 in Berlin, Germany - different date from wikipedia entry

posted by Sheila x