Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America, Genealogical Society for Ostfriesen, Germany

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Ortssippenbucher (OSBs)
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1670 So Robert St, #333
West St Paul, MN 55118


Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America

Ostfrieslands Ortssippenbücher (OSBs)

Please note that many of the out of print OSB are currently being reprinted.
If there is a book that you would like, please contact
Lin@ogsa.us now!

  • An Ortssippenbuch (OSB) is a community lineage book listing all the families in a village using church records and other local records as the source. The information in OSBs typically spans a time period from the 1700s to about 1900 and includes names, occupations, family relationships, dates of birth, death, and marriage, and more. 

    An Ortsfamilienbuch (OFB) is the same type of book, typically privately published.  We are in contact with preparers of these books in Ostfriesland.  

    OSBs are written by volunteers, some of whom spend up to 14 years writing them.   OGSA also has a  pamphlet explaining the OSB.

    However, please remember that these records are secondary sources.  This data is transcribed from the original records and there are errors in some of the books.

    If your ancestor lived in a village that has a published OSB, you are in luck!  See the bottom of the page for OSB search request information.

You can order any of the OSB/OFB from OGSA. We can let you know if some of these books are still in print. We can also accept Visa & Mastercard.  Please contact us for prices and availability. Print out the OGSA order form or contact us at OGSA.  

Currently available OSBs Many of the out of print OSB are now being reprinted if there are 15 orders.  We have many OSB/OFB in stock, please contact us for more information.   Also reprinted is the 1719 Kopfschatzungsregister - one of the most valuable books for an Ostfriesen researcher! 

Copies of each OSB are available for research use in the Minnesota Genealogical Society library.  They cannot be checked out or removed from the premises.  If you are coming to use the facility, please check the MGS website for more information. 

Amt UPLENGEN - churches in this area include Remels, Hollen, Octenhausen, Firrel) Volume 17  included a list of all emigrants from this area who left for US.  It includes B, M & D information.  Call for more information.  These books are out of print, but are found in several libraries.  Contact us for more information.

  • Recently printed books include Weene (3 volumes), Greetsiel and Forlitz-Blaukirchen. 
    Carolinensiel will arrive in November 2012.   

OLDENBURG AREA - Varel, Berne, Barßel, Waddens, Wiefelstede, Rastede, and Jade.  These are entire community lineage books and the disks include pictures!   Ortssippenbücher on CD ROM are available and in stock. Cost is $59 with shipping and handling.  This is subject to change dependent on the value of the dollar vs. the Euro.

To order any book - please contact OGSA.  Books ordered from Germany arrive in approximately six weeks.  Many of these books are in stock at the current time!

OSB / OFB from Ostfriesland

(Community Lineage Books)

Amdorf, Ardorf, Arle, Aurich-Oldendorf, Asel, Baltrum, Bangstede, Barstede, Backemoor, Bagband, Baltrum, Bangstede,  Bedekaspel, Breinermoor, Bingum, Borβum, Breinermoor, Canhusen, Canum, Campen, Collinghorst, Detern, Ditzumerverlaat. Driever/Esklum, Eggelingen, Eilsum, Engerhafe, Filsum, Firrel, Forlitz-Blaukirchen, Freepsum, Gandersum, Greetsiel, Grimmersum, Groβefehn, GroβMidlum, Groβwolde, Grotegaste/Mitling Mark, Hatzum, Hesel, Holtland, Hollen (Amt Uplengen), Holtgaste, Holtland, Holtrop, Horsten, Ihrhove, Jemgum, Jarβum, Kirchborgum, Larrelt, Leer (Reformed, Catholic and Lutheran), Leerhafe, Leerort, Loga, Logabirum, Logumervorwerk/Nesserland, Loppersum, Loquard, Marienwehr, Middels, Midlum, Neermoor, Nendorp, Neuburg, Nortmoor, Nüttermoor, Ockenhausen, Ochtelbur, Oldendorp, Petkum, Pewsum, Pogum, Potshausen, Reepsholt, Riepe, Remels, Rorichum, Rysum, Siegelsum, Simonswolde, Spetzerfehn, Spiekeroog, Steenfelde, Strackholt, Suurhusen, Tergast, Timmel, Uphusen, Vellage/Halte, Victorbur- Moordorf, Visquard, Weene, Werdum, Westerbur, Westerende, Wiesens, Wirdum, Wolthusen, Woltzeten, Woquard, Wybelsum.  

This list is subject to change!  Check the list of churches as there may be more. There is no guarantee that all of these books are in stock at any time.  These are the books that have been printed at one time, some are not currently in print. Once OSB are sold out, there is no guarantee that they will be reprinted.

Scheduled to be printed OSBs

Uttum, Dornum, Funnix

This is a list of only a few Ortssippenbuch Symbols and Abbreviations / Also check the GUIDE TO TERMS that can be downloaded and printed - a must for your research files!

As a guide to the novice and to give an indication of what the OSBs may contain, this article from the OGSA Newsletter is reprinted here.

Ortssippenbücher use symbols to designate specific events or pertinent information. Each book uses similar symbols for birth, marriage, death, etc. However, each OSB may add other information. The following are only a few of the symbols that are necessary to understand the basic records.  This list is in the process of being updated.


* Date of birth
Christening date
I First marriage (I may be in parentheses)
II Second marriage (II may be in parentheses)
o/o geschieden (divorced)
o-o Not married
+ Date of death
gef. Gefallen (fallen person — deaths in this category
will be limited to war years, i.e., 1870-1871, 1914-1918, 1939-1945)
or # Date of burial
*+ Died on day of birth
+* Born dead
o Confirmation
vorehel. Vorehelich (premarital agreement)
B. Bruder (brother)
E. Eltern (parents)
M. Mutter (mother)
Schw. Schwester (sister)
Gl Gulden (Dutch coin)
Rth Reichstaler/Ruthtaler
Sch Schaf (sheep)
S.d. Sohn des (son of)
T.d. Tochter des (daughter of)
V. Vater (father)
Wwe, Wwr Witwe(r) (widow, widower)
Hw Hinweis (Reference to)
s. siehe (see...)
S. Seite (page...)
vgl. Vergleiche (compare/see also)
procl. Proclamiert (Proclamation)
ki kirchlich (Ecclesiastical)
st standesamtl. (Registry Office for Marriages)
StAStaatsarchiv State Archive
landwirt Farmer
lgbr. Landgebraucher (Most likely a renter of tillable acres.  Landowners were "dikke Burren" (Platt) or rich farmers)
Posthum Nach  dem Todes des Vaters geboren Born after the death of the father.
Schatzung Assessment, estimation of value
P Pferde (horse)
O Ochsen (oxen)
K Kühe (cows)
E Enter (ducks)
C Confirmation
ppr Pauper / Arm (pauper - poor)
Rt Reichstaler (large small)
Sch Schap (small coin)
Witt Witten (very small coin)
St.A Standesamtliche Heirat (Marriage) (wedding as recorded in civil records)
vor Before
Dienstmagd Servant, female
Dienstknecht Servant, male
Bäcker Baker
Soldat Soldier
Weber Weaver
Arb. Arbeiter - day laborer (also called Tagelöhner)
Landadel Landed gentry
Landwirt Farmer, possible land owner
Kaufman Merchant, shopkeeper, trader
Kap. Kapitãn (sea captain)
Schiff Ship
Schiffer Sailor, boatman
Schiffseigner Ship owner
Warfsmann/Warfsleute Social status term; poor member of society with small dwelling with no voting status in the village.
You will also find references to:
KB Kirchenbuch (Church book)
OAL Ostfriesische Ahnenlisten / pedigrees submitted to Upstalsboom-Geschellschaft, Aurich.
Ortsfamilienbuch - community lineage book
Ortssippenbuch - community lineage book
QuF Quellen und Forschungen zur Ostfrieshen Familien- und Wappenkunde.
Genealogy quarterly published by the Upstalsboom-Geschellschaft, Aurich.
DGB Deutsches Geschlecterbuch — volumes of German Genealogy
information about the Bourgeois
translates to 42 years, 3 months, 2 days


OSB Research Requests

  • OGSA board members currently do not have the time or capability of doing research in the Ortssippenbücher for members or non-members.  Please note that some of the older OSB are out of print and not currently available for purchase.
  • Other OSB collections in the USA include the libraries in Tazewell County Genealogical Society, IL, Peoria, IL; George, IA and Wellsburg, IA and the St. Louis, Missouri County Library as well as the LDS Salt Lake City Family History Library.
  • We can do research for you, however, all research work must be pre-paid Nothing will be mailed to you before payment is received.  
  • We also have some members who can do translations.  Contact us for a listing.  You will have to arrange payment for their services.
  • Please contact OGSA for more information. Please include as much data as possible to narrow the search. info@ogsa.us or lin@ogsa.us.


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