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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: German, Italian

Where did the German Otto family come from? What is the German Otto family crest and coat of arms? When did the Otto family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Otto family history?

The German state of Prussia, which reached the zenith of its power in the late 19th century, is the glorious birthplace of the distinguished surname Otto. In the medieval era, after the fall of the Roman Empire, the German lands were inhabited by a variety of Barbarian tribes. The borders of the Barbarian kingdoms changed frequently, but the region that became known in Prussia was roughly divided between the areas of Brandenburg-Prussia, West Prussia, and East Prussia. The colorful history of Brandenburg-Prussia, provides a glimpse at the oldest origins of the Otto family.

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Spelling variations of this family name include: Otto, Ottos, Ottoe, Oto, Otoe, Autto, Auto, Auttoe and many more.

First found in Prussia, where the name Otto was anciently associated with the tribal conflicts of the area. They declared allegiances to many nobles and princes of early history, lending their influence in struggles for power and status within the region. They branched into many houses, and their contributions were sought by many leaders in their search for power.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Otto research. Another 171 words(12 lines of text) covering the years 1806, 1083, 1076, 1550, 1618, 1586, 1603 and 1656 are included under the topic Early Otto History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 171 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Otto Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Otto Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Heinrich Otto, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1739
  • Mathias Otto, who arrived in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania in 1740
  • John Matthew Otto, who arrived in New York, NY in 1750
  • Nicolaus Christian Otto, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753
  • Henrich Otto, aged 20, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1753


Otto Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Johannes Otto, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Johannes Otto, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Henry Otto, who landed in Maryland in 1828
  • Elisabeth Otto, who landed in America in 1839
  • Doroth Christiane Otto, aged 37, arrived in America in 1844


Otto Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Charles Otto, who arrived in Michigan in 1902
  • Charles Otto, who settled in Michigan in 1902 with his wife, Alette Swendsen, and their two children

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  • Thomas Otto (b. 1938), American engineer, owner and founder of Thor Engineers, Leonia, N.J
  • William Tod Otto (1816-1905), American judge
  • Nikolaus August Otto (1832-1891), German inventor, who was the co-inventor of the internal combustion engine and patented the four-stroke "Otto engine" in 1884
  • Frei Paul Otto (b. 1925), German architect and structural engineer
  • Gustav Otto (1883-1926), German aircraft and aircraft-engine designer and manufacturer
  • Lisa Otto (1919-2013), German operatic soprano
  • Jan Otto (1841-1916), Czech publisher and bookseller


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  • The Trummel Family, 1633-1989 and Related Lines Otto, Gurtner, Ehling by Eleanor Clary.
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  1. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial general by J. B. Rietstap 6 volumes in 3. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1976. Print.
  2. Nied, Edmund. Fraenkische Familiennamen urkundlich gesammelt und sprachlich gedeutet. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1933. Print.
  3. Preuss, Otto. Die Lippischen Familiennamen mit Berücksichtigung der Ortsnamen. Detmold: Meyer'sche Hofbuchh, 1887. Print.
  4. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  8. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
  10. Karlsruhe. Badisches Generallandesarchiv Baden Emigration lists 1866-1911. Salt Lake City: Microfilm of Card Index by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Print.
  11. ...

The Otto Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Otto Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 15 March 2014 at 15:43.

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