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

Origins Available: German, Scottish

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

Oswald comes from a place name. The roots of this Scottish place name; however date back to the great movement of the Norse Vikings. The ancestors of the Oswald family lived in Caithness. This ancient family claim descent from the Norse Asbaldr, but sometimes records show that the name may have been derived from the personal name Oswald which is made up of the Old English elements os meaning "god," and weald or "rule." Saint Oswald was a king of Northumbria who introduced Christianity to northeast England in the 7th century before being killed in battle.

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Spelling and translation were quite undeveloped in the Middle Ages. Consequently, the spelling of Scottish names was an inconsistent practice, usually governed by the unique ear of the scribe recording the name. Over the years, Oswald was spelled Oswald, Oswalde, Oswold, Oswolde, Oswell and others.

First found in Caithness (Gaelic: Gallaibh), the northern tip of Scotland, a Norse/Viking controlled region from the 9th century, which became the Earldom of Caithness, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Oswald research. Another 213 words(15 lines of text) covering the years 189 and are included under the topic Early Oswald History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Oswald Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Oswald family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 113 words(8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Opportunity and land greeted those who made it all the way. Some had the opportunity to solidify their new freedom by fighting in the American War of Independence, while others went or stayed north as United Empire Loyalists. Recently, the ancestors of those brave settlers have been able to recover much of their heritage through Clan societies and other patriotic organizations. A thorough examination of passenger and immigration lists has disclosed evidence of many early immigrants of the name Oswald:

Oswald Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Andrew Oswald, aged 22, landed in Virginia in 1684

Oswald Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Henry Oswald, who came to Philadelphia in 1732
  • Henry Oswald who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1732
  • Hendryk Oswald, aged 20, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1735
  • Henrich Oswald, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1735
  • Richard Oswald, who arrived in Georgia in 1751


Oswald Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Barbara Oswald settled in New York state in 1835
  • Cath Oswald, aged 28, landed in New York, NY in 1847
  • Jacob Oswald, aged 26, landed in New York, NY in 1848
  • Frederic Oswald, aged 31, landed in New Orleans, La in 1850
  • Vinzenz Oswald, who landed in America in 1853


Oswald Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Henry Oswald, who arrived in Alabama in 1918

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  • John Wieland Oswald (b. 1917), President of the University of Kentucky (1963-68), the Vice-President of the University of California (1968-70), and the President of Pennsylvania State University (1970-)
  • Rudolph Alfonsus Oswald (b. 1932), President of the Industrial Relations Research Association in Washington
  • Stephen Scot Oswald (b. 1951), former NASA astronaut with 3 shuttle missions and over 33 days in space
  • James Oswald (1711-1769), Scottish composer and music publisher
  • Ian Oswald (b. 1929), Scottish psychiatrist, sleep researcher, and professor at the University of Edinburgh
  • Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Julian Robertson Oswald (b. 1933), Scottish Royal Navy officer, Chief of the Naval Staff and First Sea Lord
  • Thomas Oswald (1904-1990), Scottish Politician, Member of the UK Parliament from Edinburgh
  • John Oswald (b. 1953), Canadian composer
  • Andrew Oswald (b. 1953), Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Forti favet coelum
Motto Translation: Heaven favours the brave

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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  4. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  6. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  7. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  9. Prebble, John. The Highland Clearances. London: Secker & Warburg, 1963. Print.
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Oswald Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Oswald 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 17 January 2014 at 14:24.

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