The Blumenfeld and Blennow families were circus owners and performers, based in Germany and performing in many European countries.

This site traces one branch of the immense Blumenfeld family: Simon (Levy) Blumenfeld (c.1829-1911) and his descendants, who were circus owners/performers and later vaudeville and Broadway performers primarily in Germany, England, and the United States. There are many circus researchers and genealogists tracing the Blumenfeld family, but most focus on other branches, and this site attempts to fill the gap.

There doesn’t appear to be much, if any, research on the Blennow family and circus, so again this site attempts to fill the gap!

In particular, I’m fascinated by the female performers — many of whom were trick riders, and quite famous in their day — in these two families.


Circus Blumenfeld

Circus Blennow

Family Tree

Doris Blumenfeld Van Cleave was my paternal grandmother.



  1. CarolBoyle · · Reply

    Hi my name was Carol Bloomfield. My great grand father was Herrmann the great and thats as much as I know.I think my father was born in Germany because he also went to New York with his uncles and learnt acting . Can anyone help me please .

    1. Hi Carol, I’ve just been going through the family tree with a relative and found that we’re descendants of the Blumenfelds. My great grandfather was William Oscar Blumenfeld but stage name was Stirling/Sterling. He married an actress known as “Edna Peckham” but we’re unsure whether her name is her true one or stage name. He died in Kentucky roughly in 1972. I know that he lived in a flat in New York. We are currently waiting for more info to find out more about the family history. If you have some extra information we don’t know then I’d love to hear it.

      1. Phil Sterling (Bloomfield) · ·

        Hi Sonya
        Your great grandfather, my grandfather was William Othelle Samson Blumenfeld, his stage name was Oscar Stirling. He was born in Brighton west sussex and died in Connecticut in Old Saybrook. I have photos of him and theatre programmes. He made one tv film in the early 50,s titled DrSeracold. I,m not sure how or if we are related to the Circus Blumenfeld family but I do know that Circus Blumenfeld once came to the UK and only performed in Brighton.
        Phil Sterling (Bloomfield/Blumenfeld)

      2. Phil, that’s interesting about the Brighton connection, since I know that Simon Blumenfeld & family were in Brighton at one time, and his sister Mina/Miena married & lived there. When was William Othelle Samson born?

      3. Jeanette Chapman · ·

        I have only recently discovered this web page and found out so much information about my family. My grandfather was Julius Moritz Kottaun and his mother, therefore my great grandmother was Miena Blumenfeld. Julius lived in Brighton, East Sussex and up until today I did not realise that the circus actually came to here! I know that Julius’s father and mother lived in Brighton.

  2. Phil Sterling (Bloomfield) · · Reply

    Hi carol
    I don,t think we,ve ever met not sure how we are related. My name is Philip Bloomfield and now known as Phil Sterling. I was always told about Herrman the great. I now know most of the family story.

  3. Holly Nester · · Reply

    I am Holly Nester now in North Carolina. My adopted mother was Virginia Beatrice Alice Blumenfeld Nester of Miami, FL (cousin to Doris). Her mother was Beatrice Alice Daniels Blumenfeld (sister of Gertrude and many more) married to William Blumenfeld, a member of the Blumenfeld Circus. Thank you for all this research in gathering of information.

  4. Phil Sterling (Bloomfield) · · Reply

    Hi demode
    I think William Samson was born around 1889.

  5. Thurold · · Reply

    I sel always. Bennevant,Acrobat and clown.

  6. Fiona Magee · · Reply

    I have an original wedding certificate from when my great grandfather, Egon Blumenfeld, married my great grandmother, Teresa Parnham in Hull in 1887. It states his place of residence was Brighton.

    I wondered how that could be, but it makes sense if the circus was in Brighton,

    1. Hi Fiona — there also was a branch of the family that lived in Brighton. Check out this page and look for the Kottaun family:

  7. Jeanette Chapman · · Reply

    Hi my great grandmother was Miena Blumenfeld, which I have only found out from looking at this website, so thanks very much. I was born in Brighton where I believe she lived with my great grandfather Thomas Kottaun. Now trying to trace other members of her family, who I now believe came from Germany. Any help or information would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Paul Kottaun · · Reply

      Hi , my name is Paul Kottaun , my Greatgrandfather was Ceilian Kottaun son of Thomas Kottaun who was married to Meina Blomenfeld .

  8. Dawn Bloomfield · · Reply

    Hi, my name is Dawn Bloomfield/Blumenfeld. I am also directly related to Egon Blumenfeld through my father, Walter Bernard Bloomfield/Blumenfeld – Egon being my Gt Gt Grandfather too.

  9. Dawn Bloomfield · · Reply

    Correction: Egon would be my Gt Grandfather.

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