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Osterwalder Surname History



The distinguished German surname Osterwalder is composed of two elements: "Oster," meaning "east," and "wald," meaning "forest." Thus, the name can be literally translated as "eastern forest." It is likely that the progenitor of the name lived in a forest in the eastern part of a town, the eastern part of a forest, or one of several towns in North Germany called "Osterwald."


Early Origins of the Osterwalder family


The surname Osterwalder was first found in Lower Saxony, where the name is thought to have first emerged. It was a common practice of the time to refer to a new resident of a city by the name of his hometown; thus, it is likely that the first bearer of the name was a native of the town of Osterwald in Westphalia or the region of Hanover who had moved to another city. The earliest known instance of the name occurred in Hanover, where Dethar Osterwold was living in 1442. The young Osterwalder family was instrumental during this early period, playing a major role in the history of the region and contributing greatly to the development of medieval German society.

Early History of the Osterwalder family


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Osterwalder research.
Another 140 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1442, 1641, 1663, 1718, 1747, 1778, 1795, and 1831 are included under the topic Early Osterwalder History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Osterwalder Spelling Variations


Spelling variations of this family name include: Osterwald, Osterwold, Osterwaldt, Osterwoldt, Osterwald, Osterwalder and many more.

Early Notables of the Osterwalder family (pre 1700)


Another 41 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Osterwalder Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Osterwalder family to the New World and Oceana


Some of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants were: Johan Jacob Osterwald, who settled in Philadelphia in 1753; Caspar Osterwald, a mercenary from Brunswick who settled in Canada after fighting in the American Revolution, Fritz Osterwald, who sailed from Hamburg to New York in 1851.

Contemporary Notables of the name Osterwalder (post 1700)


  • Gottlieb Osterwalder (b. 1908), well-known German painter
  • Konrad Osterwalder (b. 1942), from Switzerland, is Under Secretary-General of the United Nations and currently serves as the Rector of the United Nations University

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