Surname Saturday: Ortmann

"Ortman/Ortmann" was my father's name, and his father's, and his father's before him.  The name goes back to the Middle Ages.  Translated literally, it means "ort" = place, village, "mann" = man.  But in practice, it referred to someone who acted as an arbitrator or judge casting the decisive vote in the event of a tie, so "referee" or something along those lines.

Ortmann is most commonly found in Germany, including Prussia, Austria, and Russia.  The distribution in Germany follows this pattern:

The earliest Ortmanns arrived in the US in the 1700's.  Our ancestor Joseph Ortmann arrived in the early 1860's and served in the U.S. Navy in the Civil War. 

Here's an interesting fact:  One of the variations of Ortmann is "Erdmann," which in English translates to "Earthman."  My maiden name was Ortmann.  My (first) married name was Earthman.  Go figure.


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