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Commoners Ostertag

When considering the many Ostertags around the world, it is obvious that there are many different branches of Ostertag families today. The following branches (which existed some hundreds of years ago and still exist today) are known until now.

If your ancestors don't come from one of those branches, you can get further information about Ostertags from other places in the list of places.

  1. Nördlingen
  2. Poppenweiler near Stuttgart
  3. Waldviertel/Mittelfranken
  4. Täferrot and Lindach near Schwäbisch Gmünd
  5. Ellwangen
  6. Meiningen in Thüringen
  7. Executioners
  8. Nellingen on the Schwäbische Alb
  9. Giengen an der Brenz on the Schwäbische Alb
  10. Lonsingen/Gächingen/Dottingen on the Schwäbische Alb

Also in other countries the name Ostertag exists since many years, especially in the following regions:

  1. Alsace
  2. Emigrants to Switzerland
  3. Emigrants to the USA

1.: Nördlingen

This branch can be traced back furthest of all civil Ostertag branches, namely until 1389. In this year, „Hans der Ostertage“ appears as a servant of the masters of Lierheim in Nördlingen. According to Siebmachers famous book of coats of arms, the Ostertags from Nördlingen are descendants of the noble branches, but unfortunately this couldn't be proved until now.

For a part of the Ostertags, the so called elder branch of Nördlingen, Nördlingen has been the home town for more than 600 years. The Ostertags of the younger branch lived in Balgheim since the thirty years' war, but moved to Nördlingen more than 200 years ago.

The Ostertags of Nördlingen soon acquired standing and wealth and held the weaver's guild for hundreds of years. Many guildmasters and also several mayors of this town were Ostertags. In the year 1579, the guildmaster of the weavers' guild and mayor Georg Ostertag was conferred in a document the coat of arms for him and his descendants. This coat of arms is displayed in Siebmacher's book of arms and is mentioned there in the first place among the patrician coats of arms of Nördlingen.

The Ostertags of the younger branch founded the so called brewer's dynasty of Nördlingen. The majority of the breweries and inns in the region of Nördlingen at this time was a property of this branch of the Ostertag family.

Also the Ostertags from Täferrot and Lindach might originally come Nördlingen since their progenitor might be a Caspar Ostertag who was born in Nördlingen in 1599 and might have moved to Täferrot during the 30-years-war.

A peculiarity is a foundation which was started by the „Zeugverkäufler und Rathausbewohner“ Georg Ostertag in 1650 „for eternal times“. This foundation cared for poor children and widows, and existed until the beginning of World War two.

Today no male descendant is living in Nördlingen anymore, but numerous descendants are spread all over Germany and also in the USA.

family tree of the elder branch of Nördlingen as excel file

2.: Poppenweiler

The progenitor of the second eldest Ostertag branch we know is Cunradi Ostertag (born 1424), who was a farmer and member of the court in the little village of Poppenweiler. The first document which mentions this village speaks from „Bobbenwilare“ in 1122.Poppenweiler was independent until 1975, and then became a part of Ludwigsburg/Neckar.

The first five Generations of the Ostertag which lived as farmers in Poppenweiler are proved by tax books and other documents found in the state archives in Stuttgart. From the sixth generation (born 1570) on, there are entries in the parish registers. About 1630 Jakob Ostertag, a cobbler moved from Poppenweiler to the neighbouring Winnenden. His son was administrator for the clergy there.

There were made researches about two of his sons, one branch stayed in Hessigheim, another branch lived in Metzingen. In whole, there are 15 respectively 16 generations of Ostertags in Swabia. Only the last descendent of one of the branches left it and worked for the navy.

There is a book available concerning the Poppenweiler branch

seal of one of the Poppenweiler Ostertags

family tree of the Poppenweiler branch as excel file

3.: Emigrants from the Waldviertel to Mittelfranken

There is much information about the Ostertags which emigrated from the Austrian Waldviertel to Mittelfranken in Germany because of their religious creed. Alfred Ostertag did many researches about this branch.

The progenitor of this branch is Jakob Ostertag who emigrated from Gross-Schoenau in the Waldviertel to Rosstal in Mittelfranken. The researches of Alfred Ostertag concentrated on the descendants of this Jakob Ostertag in the region of Nürnberg and Franken. During his researches, Alfred Ostertag found over 350 direct descendants of Jakob Ostertag until the present time. A big part of them stayed resident in Franken and were farmers.

About 80% of the Ostertags living in the region of Nuernberg today can be traced back to Jakob Ostertag. There were also a few people of this branch who emigrated to the USA.

For further information concerning this branch, please contact Alfred Ostertag

4.: Täferrot and Lindach

All the Ostertags from Täferrot and Lindach descend from Caspar Ostertag, a smith who came to Täferrot during the 30-years war and was perhaps born in Nördlingen.

Caspar had two sons; Georg stayed as smith in Täferrot and Michael moved to Lindach which is not far away from Täferrot and is the progenitor of the Lindach Ostertags.

From the church books of Täferrot we know all Ostertags in these vilages from 1650 to 1900. Only one of georg's sons stayed smith, and in the following generations, the descendants were mostly farmers, partly they took additional task in administration or church. Also one mayor of Täferrot was an Ostertag. More information can be found in the family tree (link below). The following pictures are from the church in Täferrot where you can still find today a pretty restaurated church seat of Jerg Ostertag from 1683.

chuch seats in the Täferrot church
church seats in the Täferrot church
church seat of Jerg Ostertag
church seat of Jerg Ostertag from 1683

Altogether there were (according to the family registers) about 50 Ostertag families in Täferrot and the neighbor villages from 1750 to 1900.

The descendants of Michael Ostertag in Lindach also wer mostly farmers. Today there are still some Ostertags in Lindach and the nearby city of Schwäbisch Gmünd. In 1845 one of Michael's descendants, Jakob Ostertag, married and moved to Schwäbisch Gmünd. One of his sons, Robert, studied veterinary science, worked as professor in Stuttgart and Berlin and became very famous in his field. He even was ennobled. There is a street in Schwäbisch Gmünd named Robert-von-Ostertag-Straße.

family tree of the Täferrot branch as excel file

5.: Ellwangen

Ellwangen is located in the East of Baden Wuerttemberg and has about 50.000 inhabitants.

There were Ostertags in Ellwangen from at least 1600, and there are still some in this region today. The family tree we have about this branch goes back to the 18th century. Also at least one member of the family emigrated to the USA.

family tree of the Ellwangen branch as excel file

6.: Meiningen

The northernmost of the old Ostertag branches is from the city of Meiningen in Thüringen

In Meiningen you can already find the name Ostertag in the oldest church books, which means in 1545. In this time the Ostertags there were probably weavers. The progenitor from the family tree we know is a Kaspar Ostertag (died 1594 in Meiningen). In the 16th and the beginning of the 17th century, Meiningen experienced a heyday thanks to the weavery and trade of cloth. Also the Ostertags at this time were rather wealthy.

But the 30 years war (from 1618 to 1648) finished this good time abruptly. The descendants of Kaspar Ostertag had to work as „council servants“ which meant that they had to do the night-watch, for example. The family tree we know ends with a Valentin Ostertag (born 1762 in Meiningen), but today there are still about 20 Ostertag families in this region.

For more information about the family tree from Valentin Ostertag to Kaspar Ostertag, please write us an email.

7.: Executioners

In some towns, there were Ostertags who were occupied as executioners. These were outsiders in the society at this time. Their job had to be done, but it was seen as unhonourable. So the executioners were proscribed by the people and were uncanny for them.

That is why the different executioner families married between them for generations, and it can be presumed that nearly all Ostertag executioner families are related to each other.

Until know, we know Ostertags who worked as executioners in Bonfeld, Dornstetten, Horb, Neckarrems, Muensingen, Pforzheim,Tübingen, Wildberg and also in the Alsace. The Tübingen branch can be traced back furthest, the progenitor of this branch is Veit Ostertag who was executioner in Tuebingen and Rottenburg around 1580. So you can assume that the other branches have come from the Tuebingen branch.

family tree of the Tübingen branch as excel file

8.: Nellingen

In Nellingen on the „Schwäbische Alb“ the name Ostertag already appears in the first church books from around 1550. The first known ancestor is a Peter Ostertag whose son Hans married in 1576 in Nellingen.

At least three following generations of Ostertags lived in nellingen, one of the descendants of Peter Ostertag was a baker. Probably there were Ostertags in Nellingen much longer since in 1786 a Creszentia Ostertag emigrated from Nellingen to Hungary.

In the year 1671, Marx Ostertag, a great-grandson of Hans Ostertag, married to Laichingen, again on the Schwäbische Alb. Three or four of his sons married in Laichingen. In this town, the name Ostertag can be found over ten times today.

An other descendant of the Ostertags from Nellingen, Caspar, married in 1716 to the village Sulzfeld in Baden. His son Jakob stayed there until his death in the year 1760. We don't know anything about his descendants, but in sulzfeld there were no Ostertags anymore after him.

9. Giengen an der Brenz

You can also find the name Ostertag in the first church books of Giengen an der Brenz, a city in the Eastern part of the „Schwäbische Alb“. The first known ancestor Hans Ostertag was born around 1540 and was a glacier in Giengen. Also his son and grandson pursued this profession. For the great-grandson, the profession is stated as weaver and bass fiddler.

His son married to Hohenmemmingen, a small village near Giengen. There, the family was resident for at least two more generations. They had a decent life as small farmers. Possibly the poverty was a reason for Johannes Ostertag to emigrate to the USA in 1772. At this time, he was one of the first people named Ostertag in the USA. He had two sons, and there are many descendants in the USA today.

Unfortunately, we have no information yet about descendants in the area of Giengen.

10.: Lonsingen/Gächingen/Dottingen

The region of Germany which has the higest percentage of Ostertag families compared to its total population is the area between Münsingen and Reutlingen on the „Schwäbische Alb“. Particularly in the villages of Lonsingen, Dottingen and Gächingen the name can be found since the beginning of the church books.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been made any research yet which could give an overview of this lots of Ostertag families. But there are some family trees of single families. So, for example one family can be traced from Lonsingen over Gächingen, Unterlenningen, Bissingen/Teck to Kirchheim/Teck today.

Also in the internet (at www.familysearch.org) there can be found many dates to Ostertags from Lonsingen and Gächingen. If you have further information about Ostertags from this region please contact us.

11.: Alsace

Since the Alsace is the region where the noble Ostertag-families „von Winstein“ and „von Ramstein“ once lived, it's probable that the Ostertags living there today are descendants of the noble families. There can be found civil descendants of the noble families in the 15th and 16th century, but up to now, no connections to today's Ostertags could be proved.

Other Ostertags in Alsace were executioners, probably descendants of the Tübingen branch which have emigrated to Alsace in 16th or 17th century.

You can get further information about the Ostertags from Alsace in English on the homepage of Dominique Ostertag.

12. Emigrants to Switzerland

In switzerland, the name Ostertag appears already in the 16th century. Probably these Ostertags emigrated from South Germany or the Alsace to Switzerland.

Some of the Swiss Ostertags are descendants of the executioners. They emigrated to get rid of their bad reputation in Germany and to lead a normal life. The aims of their emigration were among others Luzern, Zuerich and Basel.
The emigrants got jobs, for which they needed the knowledge they had gained in their previous profession. They became smiths, ropemakers or butchers. The new jobs brought wealth, and some of the Swiss Ostertags now got their coats of arms. They differ from the old coats of arms which showed an Easter lamb holding a flag with across, and show the lamb with a rope maker's hook, for example. Soon, the Swiss Ostertags became citizens of their new home towns,this had been impossible with their old profession in Germany.

But there were also immigrants from other regions of Germany who came to Switzerland. One example for that are the following portraits of immigrants which were made around 1800(source: archives of the Kanton Solothurn):

Bernhard Ostertag, 38 years
Cajetan Ostertag, 90 years old (?), allegedly from Todtmoos, Baden
Catharina Ostertag, 17 years, daughter of Cajetan
Clemens Ostertag, 18 years, son of Cajetan
Johann Ostertag, 33 years, son of Cajetan
Ludwig Ostertag, 33 years
Magdalena Ostertag, 24 years, daughter of Cajetan

13. Emigrants to the USA

The bad living conditions, overpopulation and famines forced many people to leave their old home with all their properties, and to start new in a far away country. So, also many Ostertags emigrated to the USA. Some of them are still named Ostertag, but most changed their names into Easterday.

It is said that over one hundred different Ostertags emigrated to the USA. The first emigrants were Christian Ostertag, Martin Ostertag and Johannes Ostertag, who emigrated in the second half of the 18th century. Emigrants to the USA were for example found among the Nördlingen and the Waldviertel branches and the executioners. More information about emigrants can be found on the emigrants page

Today, there are about 350 Ostertags and 1000 Easterdays in the USA.

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