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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: German, Italian

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.


The surname Otto was 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.

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


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 and printed products wherever possible.


Notable figures of the period with the name Otto were Otto of Nordheim (d. 1083), the Duke of Bavaria, who led the Saxon forces against king Henry IV following the excommunication of the German monarch (1076); Georg Otto (1550-1618), a German composer of sacred works, was Hofkapellmeister to...

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Otto Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Otto Settlers in 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 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 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

Otto Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Gottfried Otto, who landed in Canada in 1783
  • Mr. Johan Gottlieb Otto U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784

Otto Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Clifford Otto (b. 1948), American accountant and politician, Texas State Representative from District 18 (2005-)
  • John Otto (1900-1966), American cyclist at the 1920 Summer Olympics
  • John Otto (1929-1999), American radio talk show host in Buffalo, New York
  • John Otto (1870-1952), the first park custodian at Colorado National Monument
  • John E. Otto (b. 1938), American acting director of the FBI in 1987
  • Michael Everett Otto (b. 1983), American football offensive tackle for the Tennessee Titans (2007-2014)
  • William Tod Otto (1816-1905), American judge
  • Thomas Otto (b. 1938), American engineer, owner and founder of Thor Engineers, Leonia, N.J
  • Michael Otto (b. 1943), Polish-born, head of German Otto Group, the world's largest mail order company
  • Kristin Otto (b. 1966), German twenty-five time gold medalist, six-time Olympic swimming champion
  • ...

  • The Trummel Family, 1633-1989 and Related Lines Otto, Gurtner, Ehling by Eleanor Clary.

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    Other References

    1. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Hopeful Journeys German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
    2. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
    3. Siebmacher, J.J. Siebmachers Wappenbuch. München, Battenberg: 1975. Print.
    4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    5. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
    6. Kapff, Rudolf. Schwäbische Geschlechtsnamen. Stuttgart: Verlag Silberburg, 1927. Print.
    7. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
    8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    9. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
    10. Bentley, Elizabeth P. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York 1820-1829. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1999. Print.
    11. ...

    The Otto Family Crest was acquired from the 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 23 May 2016 at 05:04.

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