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


Ottway is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Ottway family once lived in the region of Ottway. Ottway is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names. They were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads.

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The surname Ottway was first found in Westmorland where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Ottway family name include Otway, Ottway, Ottaway, Otaway, Otawa and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ottway research. Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1652, 1685, 1682, 1615, 1692, 1671, 1680, 1680 and 1693 are included under the topic Early Ottway History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 93 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ottway Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Ottway family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 197 words (14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Ottway surname or a spelling variation of the name include:

Ottway Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Ottway who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Thomas Ottway, who arrived in Virginia in 1623

Ottway Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Ottway arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839
  • Harriet Jane Ottway arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Buckinghamshire" in 1839

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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: Si Deus nobiscum quis contra nos
Motto Translation: If God be with us who can be against us?.

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  1. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  2. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  3. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  4. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  5. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Ottway Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Ottway 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 August 2015 at 08:36.

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