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Ginger Rogers Genealogy
(aka, Virginia Katherine McMath)Are You Related?

Ginger Rogers

Part of one of the most iconic dancing duos of all time, Virginia Katherine McMath--stage name Ginger Rogers--was born July 16, 1911, in Independence, Missouri. She took her stage name from a childhood nickname--Ginga, from a young cousin who had difficulty pronouncing Virginia--and took her surname from her step-father, though she was never formally adopted. Her mother was a writer and actress, and Rogers got the acting bug from watching her perform from backstage. After winning a dance contest, Rogers started touring the Vaudeville circuit. She was chosen to star on Broadway in Girl Crazy by the Gershwin brothers, which was choreographed by Fred Astaire. Hollywood soon beckoned, and in 1930, she signed a contract with Paramount and soon had her breakout role in 42nd Street. In 1933, she was paired for the first time with Astaire, with whom she went on to make nine films that revolutionized the Hollywood musical. She is considered by many to be his best dancing partner. Rogers went on to have a distinguished career on her own right, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress in Kitty Foyle and starring in a string of comedies, including opposite Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe in Monkey Business. Later in life, she renewed her career on Broadway in Hello, Dolly! and appeared on television shows like The Love Boat. She married and divorced five times--to Jack Pepper, Lew Ayres, Jack Briggs, Jacques Bergerac, and William Marshall--and died of a heart attack on April 25, 1995.

Ginger Rogers's last name, 'Rogers,' is an English name referring to someone who is a skilled soldier or spear-wielder. It was first found in Cornwall, England, shortly after the Norman conquest. Other spellings include "Roger" and "Rodgers." The first known Rogers to come to America was Bryan Rogers in Virginia in 1621.

Her real last name, 'McMath,' is a Scottish name from the Scottish Highlands and the Hebrides islands and means "son of Matthew" or "son of the bear." The name has roots from as early as the 13th Century, and the family was said to give their allegiance to the Clan MacDonald. Other spellings include "MacMathan," "MacMaken," "MacMaghan," "Mathie," "Mann," and "Mathieson." The first known McMath to come to America was Agnes S. McMath in 1897.

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