De naam Oteman



The name " Oteman "


Up to now it is not yet absolutely clear where the name Oteman comes from. If it would be a Friesian name or a West-Friesian name, it could mean ‘ son of Otto’. Well-known Friesian names are e.g. Galema, Scheltema, Herema etc. The suffix „ ma (n) „ means son of.

And indeed in West-Friesland, north of Amsterdam, in the neighborhood of the township Grootebroek, the names Ootema and Ooteman do occur from 1600 on and their descendants still live for a great deal in North-Holland (province). They are like our family Roman-Catholics, but all of them spell their name with double o!


It is a known fact, that in the Duffelt, the region on the Lower-Rhine between Kleve (Germ.) and Nijmegen ( Netherlands.) and where our family have its roots, so called " broeckers" were "imported" from the Northern parts of Holland (province) by the Duke of Gelre to assist the locals in the Duffelt to drain and dike in the low- and wetlands along the Rhine. " Broekland" means in old Dutch wet, swampy land. (Cf.English brook!) The northern Dutch had a great reputation for draining and diking and the Duke granted a piece of that worthless land to these "helpers", who paid him of course duties after the land had become arable.

We might suppose that some of these " broeckers" was a West-Friesian, called Ottoma, Ootema or Ooteman, who stayed behind in the Duffelt and whose descendants in the course of the centuries came to spell their names in a later period with one ‘o’. I have tried to substantiate this theory by researching the present Ooteman family in the North in order to find any point of contact. Fortunately some pre-work had already been done by my cousin Will Oteman from Tegelen (Nl) and also by one Ooteman from Grootebroek in West Friesia, so that I did not need to do all that work by myself. We came as far as about 1650 to one Sijmon Ooteman and that’s the end of the journey into the past. We could not prove any sign of relationship with the Otemans in the Duffelt. This does not surprise me because our Christian names are quite different from theirs. We have names as Johan, William, Coen, Theodore and Henricus; they have typical Friesian or northern names like Sijmon, Lijsebeth, Aagje, Aaltje, and Klaas.

So we can safely abandon the theory that the Otemans came from the Ootemans in West Friesia.


In the middle ages some Turkish nomads roamed through Europe selling all kinds of articles such as e.g. carpets.

Turks were also called Ottomans and a carpet selling Turk was an Ottoman. On the internet you can find that name Oteman in Turkey. Maybe such an Ottoman settled here in Western Europe and we might be their descendants. This, however, is not very likely because of our religion, the ancient Dutch Christian names and the fact that at the time those oriental individuals were hardly admitted into our society.


Maybe the solution lies elsewhere, because we stick too much to the starting point of the present name Oteman(n). But in the deeds and certificates from 1700-1800 our name is spelled in more than 20 (!) different ways. Often an H is added e.g. Hoteman. Even in America I found immigrants from the period 1680-1750, who write their names as Hoteman and Oteman. Where they come from I do not yet know. From Switzerland comes a Calvinistic François Hotman who, at the French Court, advised Catharina de Medici in the 17th century.

The databases of the Mormons in USA show several Hotmans in Switserland and France in these periods.

1. In 1472 Duke Adolf, the feudal tenant of the Duffelt at the time, had a Thomas Hotman appointed to judge in the Duffelt and had taken his oath in the presence of his board and the assembled inhabitants of the Duffelt. We have found a seal of him.

Ilgen.Qu.Ila, nr.75: Item dyt ist ghone dat ich Thomas Hotman van gerichtswegen gedaen heb in de Duffel, synt to mail dat myn g.h & c. sijner gnaden vrunde op die heymstadt had inde bywesen der Duyffeler my Thomas vurser, mynen eyd dair staven lyet voir enen richter............'

10-1-1478 copy of the original,                         'Artist' interpretation of this seall
slightly worn out seal of                            
Thomas Hotman


2. In 1494 on March 17 there lives an Evert Hotman „upden Houwe" in the region of Cleve.

2. In 1500 a Johan Hotman lived in that region

4. In 1505 November 11 we have also a seal of a certain Henrik Hotman, who sold some ground to the church of Rindern . and in that same period (1500). Maybe they all were brothers.


Based on the seal of Henrik Hotman, voogd te Rindern in 1505.

1505 November 11 (op Sente martenss daich in den wynter) 
Henrick Hotman, vaecht to Rynderen, verkauft s. Recht an gewyn 
und thynss an der caestat inghen Slyck genoempt, gel. einenends aen die
kerchoff to Rynderen, sonst ront om aen die gemeynre straten, 
an Arnt Myntken, kerckmester, zu Behuf der Kirche zu Rynderen. 
Der Bewohner der kaetstat muss dem Vogt nach alter Gewohnheit einen 
vaichtscepen halten.
- Siegler: der Vogt. O/Pergament m.S. in grünem Wachs.


5. In 1525 , Mai 29, a Hilleke Hotman, widow of Johann Pastoers, has a process , together with her mother in law Hillicken Pastoers, about the heritage of a „kaestede" (small farm)

6. In 1528, March , death of a Wesselus Hotman , canon in Xanten. He also has a seal or arm: two lions and two roses. Mentionned is: „For his morality and his intelligence he was beloved and worshipped by everybody."

7. In 1592 one Henrik Hotman is mentioned as a newcomer in Kranenburg (near Kleve in the Duffelt). Profession: wheelwright. Was he a descendant of Henrik Hotman of 1505? period?

9. On 16-12-1663 is baptized in the same Kranenburg Theodores, son of Henricus

Hottmans and Gerti Cornelisse. (Witnesses were: Guert Henrix and Elske Plongs.)Their

marriage was in 1633 .Was Theodore son or grandson of the Henrik of 1592?

10. In 18-11-1666 is baptized there Petrus Rottman, son of Henricus Rottman and Gerti
Derriks. (Witnesses: Marcus Bruins and Helena Rijmers.) Rottman might be Hottmans seen the similarity between the Christian names and the simularity of the way a H was written at the time.(See the seal of Thomas Hotman) and the Christian name of his wife .Is Peter the second son of Henrik and is he the grandfather of the one in the beginning of our established family tree?

11. On 13-08-1668 Theodores Hottman married Jacomina Lengen from Doornenburg (near Gendt). Was he a brother of Henricus Hotmans of 1630 ?

12. On 28-10-1669 Fredericus Strieth marries Joanna Hotmans.

13. On 24-02-1673 is baptized in Kranenburg Margaretha daughter of Rudz. Jansen and
Trineken Verheije and witness is Jenneken (?) Hodtman. Is she the above mentionned Johanna?

14. On 07-03-1678 Anna Rotten, daughter of Jan Rotten and Johanna Hotmans (Holtmans?)
is baptized. (Witnesses Alard Erkelens and Elisabeth Coenen) Is this a second marriage of Johanna ?

15. On 30-06-1678 we find a wedding of Derrick Jacobsen and Anna Jaspers and witnesses

are: Willem Hotman and Aleidis Hendrix.

16. On 17-07-1689 a marriage at Keeken (Duffelt) between Gerardus Otmans and Enneken
Shouck.(Schonk or Schenk?) (Witnesses: Gourt Damen custos Henderick de Guijt from Duffelward)

17. On 03-08-1689 is baptized at Keeken: Infans Liesbeth ex Gerhardt Oetmans (or
) and Enneken Shork (Schenk?) (Witnesses: Jan Damen, Margriet Luchtervort, Gertgen Steevens.

18. In 1692 in Keeken (Duffelt) birth of Ottemans, daughter of Gerrit Ottemans en Enneken

Schenk. (here Schenk well readable).
19. On 18-03-1696 Henricus Ootmanse, birth in Zevenaar (on the other side of the Rhine) filius Antoni Oottmanse et Margaretha Coningx, patrini Helena Wijzemans

20. On 1698 birth in Zevenaar of Margarita Oottmanse, filia Antony Oottmanse and

Margaretha Coninngx, patrini Jacob Frietz and Anna Jantgen

22. On 23-03-1702 in Zevenaar Theodorus Ootman, filius Tonnis Ootman et Margaretha,

patrini Lammert Lammerse and Dorothé Huls.

23. On 03-09-1702 in Zevenaar Antonius Oottmans quator puello sepulto. (after the fourth

son had been buried).
. On 23-07-1702 Wilhelmus Hooteman and Beatrice Henschenius are witnesses to the

baptism of Leonardus Marcellus, son of Godfried Marcellus and Margaretha Arnds.

25. On 15-05 1705 baptism of Petrus, son of Joannes Totemans and Hilleken Koppers.
Kleve/Uedem Taufe Ka..) (This Petrus might have been the same Peter 1705-1783,who married with Johanna Does. From this Petrus on, our tree is not anymore a hypothesis, but founded on evidence.
. In 1707 we find in an enumeration of functions of the city of Kleve the name of AbrahamOteman, beadle.

27. On 26-09-1723 baptism at Kranenburg of Joanna Oltmans

28. In 1738 in Kleve birth of Maria Johanna Borbeeck ex Johannes Borbeeck and Catharina.Otmans.

29. On 31-10-1777 deceased at Keeken a child of Antonius Hoeijman.

30. On 22-03-1789 Mevis gen.Koteman Theodorus 64 years, also born in 1725. (Death St. Martinus Ka. 1765- 1853 Wesel)

In the United States we find in the census of 1850 and 1860 – 40 years before William Oteman in 1891 emigrated to Little Church Wi. and created the American branch of the Otemans- several Otemans born in Germany (!) In view of their ages some of them must already have come to the States about 1750!

In Indiana 1850 Dearborn County, township Caesar Creek:

Dorothy Oteman, male, 59 years, born in Germany.

William Otemarse, born in Germany.

In Indiana 1850, Ohio County:

Frank H. Oteman, male, 40 years, born in Germany.

Eliza Oteman, female, 9 years, born in Germany.

William Oteman, male, 6 years, born in Germany.

Henry Oteman, male, 3 years, born in Germany.

This family must have come in between 1848 and 1850.

In Indiana 1850 2nd district:

Henry Oteman, male, 49 years, born in Germany

Mary Oteman, female, 35 years, born in Germany

Mary Oteman, female, 11 years, born in Germany

Henry Oteman, male, 3 years, born in Germany.
This family must have come in between 1848 and 1850, maybe together with the former one.

In Illinois 1860:

Josephine Oteman

In Ohio 1850, Licking County, Hannover township.

Joseph Oteman, male, 35 year, born in Pennsylvania!

Elisabeth Oteman, female, 75 years, born in Pennsylvania!

Liza A. Oteman, 15 years, born in Pennsylvania!

Martan Oteman, male, 10 years, born in Ohio.

Milton Oteman, 80 years, born in Ohio!

The parents of this family must have come in before 1770 and when they

were 20 years old; we come to the conclusion that about 1750 there were

already Otemans in America.

About 1787, a George (Benjamin, George, John, Johannes) Oatman was born ex Benjamin Oatman and Bethia Smith in Washington or Jefferson County NY. Dates of birth and death are unknown at the moment. He married Elisabeth Window.

In the Index of Awards on Claims of Soldiers of the War of 1812 we find George Oatman, who submitted a claim for military clothing and equipment used in service. $14, - allowed.

A George Oteman (!) is listed in 1810, Rodman, Jefferson County, NY. (family of 4 persons: one male under 10, one female under 10, one male 26-45, and one female 26-45)

The census of 1840 of Adams, Jefferson County: George Oatman. (family: one male 15-20. one female 10-15, one male 50-60 and one female 40-50)

If this is the same family, which is very likely, Elisabeth was dead by 1850, as in that census, George, age 63, born Vermont, a mason, is living in Adams, and with him is Pamelia Richards, 49, also born in Vermont.

The children of George and Elisabeth (Window) Oatman:

  1. Darius, born 13 Mar.1815 in St. Johnsburg. Niagara Co., NY, deceased 26 Feb.1888 in

    Adams Center, Jefferson Co., NY. He was married with Sylvia Ann Greene

    Did he have children? We can find that out if we can make a contact with: Major

    Clyde Oatman, US. Army.

  2. Sophia, who married in 1830 James Green (e) in Jefferson Co. NY.


    1. Sheldon b. 16 May 1830 in Adams, Jefferson Co., NY

    2. Lyman b.9 Feb. 1833, Adams, Jefferson Co., NY

    3. Edward b. 29 Feb./Nov. 1836, Rodman, Jefferson co., NY

    4. Elisabeth, b. Jan 1838, Rodman Jefferson Co., NY

    5. Martha b. Apr. 1840, Rodman, Jefferson CO., NY

    6. Earl, b. 1843, Rodman, Jefferson Co. NY

    7. Rosetta, b. 1845, Rodman, Jefferson Co., NY


If one sees those different spellings of the name in the initial stage of our family tree and the century before– Hotman, Hoteman, Ootmanse etc.- it is more than likely that those persons were family and that name must have been something like Hotman and that the origin of the family could be fixed at some two centuries earlier, as in Emmerik, on the opposite side of the Rhine near Kleve, in 1400-1600 several Hotmans were found in the archives. Further research in that direction might give very interesting results.


Sometimes I meet with three different ways of spelling in one and the same certificate. In these certificates we find the following names: Oidtman, Odtman, Oitman, Oatman, Oeteman, Oetemans, Odeman, Otteman, Otemans, Oterman, Oortman, Ooitman, Ootteman, Hootteman, Hoiteman, Hoteman en Othemans.


All this is not so amazing. How many people nowadays spell our name in a wrong way! If we don’t pay attention our name is written as: Otteman, Automan, Otermans, Ooteman etc.


We must not forget that in those days most people were illiterates, could not write and they only knew their names the way they were pronounced in their family circles and local dialect. They were not aware what their names, orthographically, did look like. Only a few times in their lifetime they had to state their names viz. at baptism, marriage or death. The parish priest before the Council of Trente and long afterwards was mostly equally illiterate and they wrote down the names " by the ear"!

Anyhow the name sounded as a long O (like in over or Dover). To lengthen a vowel o (as in hot) into an o (as in hole) the medieval Dutch language, instead of using a double a or o as we do today, added another arbitrary vowel like an e or an i. That is probably the reason why we find Oeteman, Oiteman. It sounds the same as Oteman.

(We find this medieval habit in the old-fashioned spelled names of some Dutch townships like Aerschot, Oisterwijk and names like Daendels etc.) So we are sure that since the 18th century the O sounded long.

The r in Oteman might have eliminated, which is often the case in the Germanic pronunciation development. (elision of sounds.)

The consonant H before the name, if our name comes from Hotman, might have disappeared because in the southern parts of the Netherlands from Frankish origin, the consonant h was badly or not at all pronounced. (Nowadays in the Dutch province Sealand and in the Flemish parts of Belgium people can’t pronounce the H at all, nor can the French.

The first part of the name Ote(r), if not from Otto or Hotman, may be derived from the name of a place or dwelling.( See G.Gorissen 1981 Bürgerbuch von Kranenburg 1400-1735); Auszug der Namen der Bürgermeister und der Neubürger)


Od, Ot means in Germanic possession, wealth, inheritance and abbreviations might be derivations from this substantive.

In Old Gothic ‘audags’ means pretty; in Old High German ‘audhr’ means fortune.

The name might come in these hypotheses from ‘rich or powerful man’. However till 1700 nothing in our family gives any indication that we descent from well-to-do or noble people. On the contrary, our ancestors were relatively simple people, who had to work hard for their living and who only after several generations came to some prosperity.


Mostly, in this genealogy, I stick to the spelling Oteman, though the certificates often use one of the above mentioned ways.


As in many sciences like archeology, ethnology, geology etc. researchers make use of hypothesis or work model ,when there are not, or not yet, enough facts, in oder to facilitate the investigations. In the genealogy this can be very usefull as long as we don’t have all the data to make up an undisputable pedigree or family tree, like in our case with the Otemans (Hotmans) of 1472 ( Thomas Hotmans) ans 1705 ( Petrus Hoteman).

That hypothesis can be made on the base of the repetition of the Christian names, as children were often named after there grandfather or uncle, by estimating the births and marriage dates, by considering historical facts etc.

So we made a working model of eldest part of our family tree, from 1450 till 1705. A model, that reflects the most credible reproduction of our family tree in that period, but that can easily be adapted if new data come to our disposal in the future.

That’s what we did in the schedule show below.