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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.

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