Oatney Family Genealogy

Oatney Family Genealogy
Home Urloffen, Germany Oatney Reunions Links

The purpose of this Web site is to share the results of the family history research with those who have a common interest or connection with the Otteni / Oatney / Otney / Ottney / Otteny families in the United States or Europe.

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Family Name Background

Over the years, there have been many different spellings of the family name. Besides the spellings used today, earlier variations included OTTNE, OTTENE, OTTINE, OTTINEY, OTTONI, OTTINI, and OATTNEY. However, the original spelling, found on German records and signatures on early land transactions in the United States, was OTTENI.

The vowel ending of the original OTTENI name suggests that the origin is other than German. As German family lore endorses, and the spelling indicates, the name and family most probably came from Italy. From the German book "Heimatbuch der Gemeinde Urloffen" (Home book of the community Urloffen), the author writes that the Otteni family settled in Urloffen Germany about 1676, indicating a move to this area of Germany.

There are many families in Germany that still spell their name OTTENI. However, there is one branch in Germany that spell their name OTTENY. In the 1800's, some descendants of Ignaz Otteni used the OTTENY spelling. Since this family moved from Urloffen, the variant spelling became the the formal spelling and the descendants of Ignaz Otteny kept the spelling. (View descendants on the OTTENY page)


Early Otteni Families in Germany

The earliest record found shows that Johannes Otteni was born in Urloffen, Germany on 9 Apr 1681 and that his father was Hans Georg Otteni. In all probability, Hans Georg Otteni moved to Germany just five years before Johannes birth.

Urloffen was the main settlement area for the Otteni's in Germany, however others lived in nearby Nußbach, and Renchen, Germany.

Four of Hans Georg Otteni's descendants are known to have immigrated to America during the 1800's. They were:

1. Benedict Otteni - 3 Great Grandson of Hans Georg Otteni
2. Theodor Otteni - 4 Great Grandson of Hans Georg Otteni
3. Anton Otteni - 2 Great Grandson of Hans Georg
4. Rudolph Otteni - 4 Great Grandson of Hans Georg Otteni




From the German church records available, there are many descendants of Hans Georg Otteni. Many of the descendants that did not go to America can be seen in a family chart called "Early Generations of Otteni Families in Urloffen starting in 1676".


Otteni/Oatney/Otney/Ottney Families in the U.S.

Most descendants of Hans Georg Otteni that live in the United States today spell the name OATNEY, OTNEY, OTTNEY and OTTENI.  They are the descendants of Benedict, Rudolph, Theodor, and Anton Otteni

Benedict Otteni (1793-1858), the progenitor of most OATNEY and OTNEY family members in the United States today, settled in Fairfield County, Ohio in the early 1830s. He and his wife, Christina Houser, raised 11 children.

Most of Benedict's children stayed in Ohio with the exception of sons Joseph and Andreas. Joseph settled in Kansas after serving in the Union Army during the Civil War. Based on the 1850 U.S. Census, it is believed that Andreas went to find his fortune gold hunting in California. 

Many descendants of Benedict still live in the Ohio area. Those family members using the alternate spelling of OTNEY live mostly in the Kansas area of the U.S. Some of the OTNEY families in Kansas changed their name to the OATNEY spelling when reconnected to the Ohio family. In most cases, the pronunciation is the same for either spelling.

The following are links to sketches of Benedict Otteni and his family as to how they lived and flourished. Each sketch is a collection of information found in public records.
Detailed information on each family branch is available
by clicking on the blue links below

Benedict Otteni (1793-1858) - an in-depth review of the life of Benedict Otteni

Children of Benedict Otteni & Christina

Maria Elizabeth Otteni Walt  (1815 - ?)

Franziska "Frances" Otteni Welker  (1816 - ?)

Maria Magdalena Otteni Stortz  (1819 - ?)

Theresia Otteni Flemm  (1820 - 1895) - PDF Descendant report included

Crescentia "Nancy" Otteni Wald (1822 - 1864)  - PDF Descendant report included

Joseph Oatney  (1825 - 1897) - PDF Descendant report included

Andreas "Andrew" Otteni  (1827 - 1850)

Moritz Otteni (1829 - 1831)

Emily Oatney Schefler (1831 - 1912) - PDF Descendant report included

John Oatney (1833 - 1897) - PDF Descendant report included

Louisa Oatney Thimmes (1836 - 1911) - PDF Descendant report included

Click on the following link to view information on all known descendants of Benedict Otteni to the present.  Some of the surnames included are: Powers, Shugert, Pearce, Brandt, Miller, Getz, Davis, Flemm, Bowes, Scheffler, Thimmes, Gundelfinger, Stover, Campbell, Yates, & Poston.

Descendants of Benedict Otteni (1793-1858)
- a privatized (dates & places of living people omitted) 9 Generation Descendant Book (PDF), starting with Benedict Otteni - 175 pages plus index.

Theodor Otteni (1844-1911) is the progenitor of family members in the U.S. spelling their name OTTENI. He and his wife Theresia Wörner (1846-1927) came to the United States from Urloffen, Germany in 1868. They settled in the northwestern part of Pennsylvania and engaged in farming. He and his wife raised 12 children with many descendants still living in the area. Theodor is a 2nd cousin (twice removed) of Benedict Otteni. Theodor and Benedict's common ancestors are Mathias and Maria Eva Schmidt Otteni.  (The link for Theodor Otteni includes a PDF Descendant report)

Anton Otteni (1786-1865) is the progenitor of the OTTNEY family members in the U.S. and Canada. Anton and his wife, Barbara Schneider, came to the United States in 1832. The family first settled in New York State but later moved to northwest Ohio. Anton is a 2nd cousin of Benedict Otteni. Anton and Benedict's common Great Grandparents are Mathias and Maria Eva Schmidt Otteni  (The link for Anton Otteni includes a PDF Descendant report)

Rudolph Otteni (1844-1903) is the progenitor of the OTTENI family members in the U.S.  Rudolph came to America in 1861 from Germany. He settled in Pennsylvania and moved to Delaware by 1891 where descendants still live. Rudolph is a 2nd cousin (twice removed) of Benedict Otteni. Rudolph and Benedict's common ancestors are Mathias and Maria Eva Schmidt Otteni. (The link for Rudolph Otteni includes a PDF Descendant report)

Other Otteni Branches in the U.S.



Francis X. Oteney (1807-1870) immigrated to America prior to 1843 from Germany. He is the progenitor of the OTENEY families in the United States. Francis lived in Ohio and Indiana before settling in Eaton County, Michigan. Connection to this line has not been documented but there are other OTTNEY families (descendants of Anton Otteni) living in Eaton County in the same time period. Current theory is that the connection goes back to Germany.  (The link for Francis X. Ottnei includes a PDF Descendant report) 


Francis Joseph "Frank" Amman Otteni, Henry Amman Otteni, and William Adam "Bill" Amman Otteni are the sons of Peter Amman and Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Pfeffer. Peter Amman died in 1892.  Lizzie then married Anton "Tony" Otteni, the son of Theodor Otteni and Theresea Frances "Theresa" Wörner.

Lizzie Pfeffer Otteni died in 1895. Anton Otteni then married Josephine Wingerter in 1898.

According to the 1900 and 1910 U.S. Census, Anton and Josephine raised Frank, Henry, and Bill. Because Anton Otteni was the only father all 3 boys really knew, they chose to use and go by his surname throughout life. (The link for Peter Amman is a PDF descendant report that includes Frank, Henry and Bill Otteni) 


Otteni Migration to Germany

In a 1985 interview with members of the Otteni family still living in Urloffen, Germany, family members maintain that early Otteni ancestors migrated from northern Italy.  Peter Otteni, born in Germany, related the following in an email in March 1998 regarding the Otteni migration:

Under the rigid anti-Jewish reign of Third Reich, it has been very popular to do some family research, especially for German citizens with a non-German family name. That's also, what my Grandfather, Theodor Otteni was doing.

It turned up that the church's records mentioned the name Otteni for the first time a little bit less than 500 years ago. Their origin appears to be Lombardian (the area around Torino, Italy) and that they have come to Germany as master stone carvers, along with the 'construction boom' of cathedrals at that times in southwestern Germany.

If you dig deep enough, you'll find the name Otteni also among the masters that have participated in the construction of the cathedral at Freiburg, Germany, among other sites.

The main settlement area for the Otteni's has been the towns of Renchen, Urloffen, Nussbach and Ulm (a nearby town, not the city of Ulm east of Stuttgart).

My father, the late Hermann Otteni, was born on Jan. 20, 1926 in Renchen, Germany, which is located only about 10 miles away from Urloffen.

The Lombardy region of Italy is approximately 200 miles south of Urloffen.

History also tells us that Europe entered a new age beginning about the year 1650. The Thirty Years' War of Religion had ended and with the break up of the medieval church. The medieval view of life and of the world began fading away. As R. R. Palmer and Joel Colton described in their book "History of the Modern World."

If the reader were to take a map of Europe, set one leg of a pair of dividers on the city of Paris, and the other leg describe a circle having a radius of five hundred miles, he would mark out a zone from which, since about the year 1650, a great deal of modern or "western" civilizations has radiated. 

This five hundred mile radius includes the Lombardy portion of northern Italy as well as all of France and England, most of Germany and Switzerland. With this "western civilization" environment, it can be speculated that movement at this time within this radius meant a chance for better economic opportunities. For whatever reasons, the Otteni family made the move and flourished, as confirmed by the number of descendants still living in Germany today. 

Family Connections

There are several family lines of ancestors
Detailed information on each family branch is available by clicking on the links below
Bowes---------------------- John Bowe(s) (1808-1854) to present
Coleman------------------- Michael Coleman (1740-1793) to present
Congrove----------------- George W. Congrove (Abt. 1813-1893) to present
Cook ----------------------- Joseph B. Cook (Abt. 1796-Aft. 1860) to present
Craiglow/Creiglow----- David Craiglow (Abt. 1802-Aft. 1850) to present
Gohn/Coon/Goan ----- Phillip Gohn (1680- 1774 ) to present
Hudnall-------------------- John Hudnall (1616-1659) to present
Hyme ---------------------- John Hyme (Abt. 1816-1884) to present
Lathey---------------------- John Lathey (Abt. 1750 - 1810) to present)
Mason---------------------- William Mason (Abt. 1770-Abt. 1840) to present
Moss------------------------ Samuel Griffith Moss (1825-1899) to present
Nininger/Neininger---- Mathias Nininger (1801-1877) to present
Neff ------------------------- Abraham Grim Neff (1817-1890) to present
Reed ----------------------- George W. Reed (Abt. 1810-Bef. 1840) to present
Reindl---------------------- Lorenz Reindl (1818-1907) to present
Salts ----------------------- Thomas Salts, Sr. (1759-1819) to present
Seymour------------------ Solomon Seymour (1879-1846) to present
Thimmes------------------ Mathias Thimmes (1781-1858) to present
Vining---------------------- Joseph B. Vining (1780-1870) to present

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Last modified: November 13, 2018