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Origin of the name Ostertag

On the basis of the legends, we can consider how the origin of the name Ostertag really might have been.
The first two legends let us guess that the name Ostertag was only given once, and that all present day Ostertags are descanded from one person. But the third legend indicates that many children could be named Ostertag because of their birthday, and that the Ostertags today are descended from a number of progenitors. But which of these assumptions is right?

Unfortunately, this problem couldn't be solved until now, and probably we will never really find it out. On the one hand, from the great number of Ostertags you might conclude that there are many starting points for the different Ostertag families. But on the other hand, in Siebmacher's book of coats of arms there is mentioned an ancient Ostertag family, from which the noble families and later also the civil families have developed.

In the following lines, we will give some dates of the earliest appearances of the name Ostertag:
In the period of time when the name Ostertag first appeared there were no surnames yet, so the name was used then as first name. The oldest appearance of the name was an „Ostertag von Runistein“ about 950 (unfortunately, we don't know the source of this). Amongst the Nobles of Hohenzollern, the name appears several times, first with Friedrich called Ostertag the first who died between 1332 and 1333. Also one of his sons and two of his grandsons were given the name first name Ostertag. Already in 1389, „Hans der Ostertage“ the progenitor of the Nördlingen Ostertags was mentioned the first time. Several years later, in 1424, in a document in the village Poppenweiler near Stuttgart the name „Cunradi Oustertag“ can be found.

More information about early appearances of the name Ostertag can be found in an article of the name researcher J.K. Brechenmacher from 1942:
... So war nun auch Ostertag zuerst Vorname. ... 1356 ist zu Meßkirch ein Kaplan Ostertag Straßburger, 1366 zu Altheim ein Ruff (Rudolf) von Altheim und Ostertag von Altheim, sein Sohn, 1441 zu Rottweil ein Bürger Ostertag Speck. 1452 zeigt sich uns ein Ostertag von Lustnau, 1457 ein Ostertag von Bierlingen, 1469 ein Ostertag von Hirschau, 1495 zu Wildberg ein Bürger Ostertag Ferber usw. ... Mein ältester ist 1339 ein Johann Ostertag zu Winstein im Unterelsaß. 1384 wird zu Straßburg ein Pfaff Ostertag genannt, bei dem es indes ungewiß, ob es sich noch um den Vornamen oder bereits um den Zunamen handelt. Das gleiche gilt von dem Schreiber Ostertag aus Entringen, Kreis Herrenberg, der sich zum Jahr 1460 meldet. 1430 finden wir zu Herrenberg Gutlin und Kätherlin Ostertag, leibliche Schwestern. 1453 amtet zu Dettingen, Kreis Urach, ein Kaplan Heinrich Ostertag. ...


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