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Oswald Family History

Oswald Surname Meaning

Scottish (Fife and Lanarkshire) northern English German and French (mainly Alsace and Lorraine): from an Old English personal name composed of the elements ōs ‘god’ + weald ‘power’. In the Middle English period this fell together with the less common Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr. The name was introduced to Germany from England as a result of the fame of Saint Oswald a 7th-century king of Northumbria whose deeds were reported by Celtic missionaries to southern Germany. The name was also borne by a 10th-century English saint of Danish parentage who was important as a monastic reformer. Veneration of Saint Oswald the king spread from the German lands to the neighbouring Slavic lands as well. The surname in the (German) spelling Oswald is thus also found especially in Czechia and Slovakia while in North America it also absorbed various Slavic forms (see 3 below). Irish (Down): adopted as an English equivalent of Gaelic Ó hEodhusa (see Hussey ). Americanized form of Slovenian Slovak and Czech Osvald Slovenian and Slovak Ožvald or Ozvald and probably also of Slovenian Ožbolt: from vernacular forms of the German personal name Oswald of Old English origin (see 1 above).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022


Similar surnames: Oswell, Ostwald, Ewald, Seward, Howard, Edward, Wald, Osland, Sale

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Where is the Oswald family from?

You can see how Oswald families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Oswald family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Oswald families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 224 Oswald families living in Durham. This was about 29% of all the recorded Oswald's in United Kingdom. Durham had the highest population of Oswald families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Oswald surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Oswald ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named Oswald. 16% of Oswald men worked as a General Labourer and 74% of Oswald women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Oswald were Colliery Hewer Below and Incapacitated. .

View Census Data for Oswald | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • General Labourer
    16%
  • Private Means
    9%
  • Colliery Hewer
    7%
  • Colliery Hewer Below
    7%

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
    74%
  • Private Means
    6%
  • Unpaid Domestic
    3%
  • Incapacitated
    2%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Oswald family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 88,000 census records available for the last name Oswald. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Oswald census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for Oswald

Passenger Lists

There are 16,000 immigration records available for the last name Oswald. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Australia, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 29,000 military records available for the last name Oswald. For the veterans among your Oswald ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Oswald lifespan?

Between 1946 and 2004, in the United States, Oswald life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1950, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Oswald in 1946 was 42, and 76 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Oswald

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