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The Ott family of Switzerland, South Carolina, and Louisiana
The Ott family
of Switzerland, South Carolina, and Louisiana.
Mention of the surname OTT can be found in Switzerland as early
as 1398. Several immigrants of this name appeared in the area
north and west of Charleston, South Carolina, in the early to
mid-eighteenth century. (Others, who may or may not have been
closely related, went to Pennsylvania and New York.) The
immigrant ancestor of my own Ott line, as well as of most Ott
descendants in the southern states, was almost certainly a
man named Melchior Ott, of the Oberhasli region of Switzerland;
but there may have been two Melchiors
who immigrated (and two more later on),
so the lineage is not as clear as it might be.
As if two Melchiors weren't bad enough, there were
nine Jacob Otts in 18th-century
Orangeburgh, South Carolina. Since most Otts from the southern
states claim descent from one of them, lineages can become
easily confused. Here is my attempt to straighten them out.
My Melchior and Jacob Ott research can be summarized in
this chart. Be forewarned, though,
that much of this is guesswork, and is likely to change at a whim.
As it turns out, the Ott family is surprisingly well-researched.
This appears to have been due to a single event in 1879: the
death of an Austrian millionaire named Martin Ott, who left no
heirs and no will. Suddenly, a number of Ott families found it
in their interest to establish some kind of link with the Martin
Ott estate. Here is an exchange of letters on the
Martin Ott influence, and an
example of how Siberia Ott's story
took on a life of its own.
You are visitor number to the
Ott page since 11 October 1999.