(© K. H. Osterbuhr)

Welcome to the Osterbuhr' ancestor research


Here you can find the results of my research and findings concerning my ancestors, i.e. the roots of the families named Osterbuhr.

The origin of the name Osterbuhr is probably based on the fact, that the Osterbuhrs were those farmers, who lived at the east end (of the village) ("Buhr" is "Plattdeutsch" for farmer). Thus today thera are still some Osterbuhrs living at the eastern end of Strackholt - and some Westerbuhrs at the western end.

The picture on the right of this page is a Photo of my grandfather, the shipbuilder Karl Frerichs Osterbuhr (1880-1940).

(© K. H. Osterbuhr)

My ancestors --- and their origin

Based on the information I have today the persons and families named "Osterbuhr" and/or "Osterbur", living in Germany and the USA, descend from two progenitors who lived in East Frisia in the 17th century, southeast from Aurich. On the one hand there is Jacobus Janssen [489], who lived from approx. 1655 to 1739 in Strackholt and on the other hand there is Hinrich of Wiesens [745], who, as the name indicates, lived in Wiesens, not far away from Strackholt. No further data of him is known to me. However, his son Rolf Hinrichs [744] was born in 1697, so Hinrichs birth year must have been between about 1670 and 1680. The line "Janssen" is to be found today under the name "Osterbuhr", those coming from "Wiesens" are nearly all named "Osterbur" and are found almost exclusively in the US.

A grandchild of Jacobus Janssen, Jan Kobus (1757-1829) [73], forms the junction point of the Osterbuhrs of today.

The oldest son of Jan Kobus, Frerich Osterbuhr (1784-1871) [13], is my old-grandfather. Almost all of his descendants live in Germany today, only one grandchild (Johann [478], born 1869) is known to have emigrated into the US. However, he didn't call himself Osterbuhr anymore, but Johnsen instead (Johnson is an English form of Janssen, which means son of Jan).

The fourth-oldest son of Jan Kobus, Ehme Osterbuhr (1788-1860) [498] is the father of Onno (see below) and thus root of all Osterbuhrs in the USA - as far as the current data situation is concerned.

The general living conditions in general at that time (the 30-years-war didn't date back much) had (for the simple people) not been very pleasant and the area having been full of water and swamp did not improve the living conditions. The name Strackholt means that it must have been an area with a high tree density; however, the trees probably became a victim of the gradually upcoming "cultivation" process (transformation to grass- and farmland). Later the peat had to be decomposed, in order to serve as domestic fuel. The work in the swamp areas was hard. In the death registers you can read of deaths by weakening and consumption, also for humans in their best age. If the physical condition was not sufficient, one was doomed to failure and suffered even more from poverty and indigence.

Further information on Strackholt and its history you can find on the web site of Hans Juergen Adam.

Most of the German Osterbuhrs today still live in Strackholt and its surroundings. In the second half of the 19th century however a set of Osterbuhrs (like many other Germans at that time as well) searched their luck in the new world, left the moorland and emigrated to America. Today you can find more entries in the American phone directories (approx. 100) than in Germany (approx. 30). As an example two families are to be mentioned: Toenjes Osterbur [585] with his son Hinrich [587] emigrated to Flanagan, IL in the year 1876 and Onno Osterbuhr [511] emigrated with 10 children to Hildreth, NE in the year 1881. The states Illinois and Nebraska form the centre of the Osterbuhrs' settlements.

Geographical classification of the area of interest
Federal Republic of Germany (2005). The red frame indicates the area of ​​the Lower Saxony map   Detailkarte Strackholt The northwestern part of the state of Lower Saxony. The red frame indicates the area of ​​the Strackholt map

  The community Großefehn with the villages Strackholt, Spetzerfehn, Zwischenbergen, etc. Großefehn-Strackholt Zwischenbergen Großefehn-Spetzerfehn Großefehn-Bagband Großefehn-Moorlage Großefehn-Holtrop Aurich-Oldendorf Voßbarg Großefehn-Wrisse Ostgroßefehn Wiesens

Strackholt Branch
Jacob Coep (~1600-after 1653)
Coep Jacobs (~1620-after 1708)
Johan Coeps (~1640- ?)
Jacobus Janssen (1655-1739)
Ehme Kobus (1715-1778)
Jan Kobus (1757-1829)
Frerich Osterbuhr

74 known descendants
Ehme Osterbuhr

91 known descendants

Results in detail

In this available stock of data (approx. 1,300 persons, about 300 of them with the birth name Osterbuhr and about 240 with the birth name Osterbur) are all until early 2014 information known to me regarding the families Osterbuhr (and Osterbur) and her ramifications included.

The data of the branch Heeren/Coordes (my grandmother on my mothers side) are based on the research of one of her brothers, Heinrich Coordes from Esens/Ostfriesland.

The data of the branch Janssen/Folkers (my grandmother on my father's side) were gathered by my grand cousin Hans-Hermann Janssen.

Not all information that is known to me about individual persons can be seen here. Private information such as addresses etc. is deliberately faded out. Likewise birthdays of all living persons are suppressed and their first names are shortened to the initials to a large extent. Furthermore some branches of families are completely excluded from this publication.

Wiesens Branch
Hinrich von Wiesens
Rolf Hinrichs (1697-1774)
Hinrich Rolfs (1740-1818)
Tönjes Osterbuhr (1813-1902)
90 known descendants

What is still missing ?

My target still is to determine all persons named Osterbuhr and Osterbur in order to be able to produce one global family tree.

However in my stock of data are still more than 200 Osterbu(h)rs with unsettled origins. Whether all of them can be traced back on the two persons mentioned above, cannot be answered completely at the moment.

In the "Orphan"-Table ("orphan" has to be understood as missing data here, not as missing parents) those persons (from the USA) are listed, where I only know the name. It is quite possible that some names are entered twice.

For further assistance I would be extremely grateful !

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Note: Numbers shown in [... ] refer to the data sheets of the respective person, created by AhnMan, the Ancestor Manager