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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: German, Scottish

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.


The surname Oswald was 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.

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.


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.


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


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.


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 United States in the 17th Century

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

Oswald Settlers in 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 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 United States in the 20th Century

  • Henry Oswald, who arrived in Alabama in 1918

Oswald Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Mr. Atwood Oswald U.E. who settled in New Brunswick c. 1784

Oswald Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century

  • Friedrich Oswald, aged 33, arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902
  • Margaretha Oswald, who landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902
  • Regina Oswald, aged 28, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902
  • Rosina Oswald, aged 3, landed in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902

Oswald Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Ferdinand Oswald, aged 30, a merchant, arrived in South Australia in 1847 aboard the ship "Hermann von Beckerath"

Oswald Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Hugh G. Oswald arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Annie Wilson" in 1863
  • Sarah Oswald arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "British Empire" in 1880


  • Stephen Scot Oswald (b. 1951), former NASA astronaut with 3 shuttle missions and over 33 days in space
  • William L. Oswald, American politician, Member of New York State Assembly from Albany County 4th District, 1863-64
  • Maude T. Oswald, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Missouri, 1940
  • Louis William Oswald, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Illinois 11th District, 1946
  • Louis Oswald Jr., American Democrat politician, Candidate in primary for Michigan State Senate 24th District, 1950
  • 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
  • Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Julian Robertson Oswald (b. 1933), Scottish Royal Navy officer, Chief of the Naval Staff and First Sea Lord
  • Ian Oswald (b. 1929), Scottish psychiatrist, sleep researcher, and professor at the University of Edinburgh
  • James Oswald (1711-1769), Scottish composer and music publisher



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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  2. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  3. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  6. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  10. Scarlett, James D. Tartan The Highland Textile. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1990. Print. (ISBN 0-85683-120-4).
  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 11 March 2016 at 23:11.

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