This is still under construction, so many links won’t work yet... Sorry
My father had one son, his had one son who survived to have children. My grandfather was James Carson Ohlhausen Sr. He was from a large family who lived in mostly in Mason County Texas and nearby areas. Our immigrant Ohlhausen was Alexander Heinrich I von (Henry V) Ohlhausen. There are many Ohlhausen’s between, and before which I will try to explain in these pages. I have a lot of info on this family, and much of it will be left out of this site for many reasons. Most of what I am putting here is on direct ancestors of mine, and I am trying to not put anything about living people.
I have a little about the history of the origins of the name Ohlhausen, as well as the area they were from in Germany. Use the tabs above here to see some of that.
The earliest clue to human inhabitants in what is today Southern Germany dates back to a jawbone found dated at 700,000 old and a skull dated at 250,000 years old. The earliest clue to a tool using human in the area is a stone axe dating from the late Stone Age, and found in the 1950’s. Stone Ages are described roughly between 15 and 3 thousand years BC. Since this axe had a hole in it I would have to guess closer to modern times. The Ice Age was over in Northern Europe about 10,000 years ago, and the first ‘civilized’ society was possibly Celts around 800 BC. The Romans invaded the area now known as Germany in about 186 AD. One account from the late 1800’s says there was a Roman garrison in Jagsthausen from 138 or earlier to 250 AD. Many Celtics of Ireland were converted by the Romans and some became Monks, building Monasteries in the region. The Romans had an advanced post at Jagsthausen, and possibly a small station near what we now call Olnhausen. The Romans were ousted by the Alemanni, a fierce Suebian Germanic tribe from the Upper Rhine region. They expanded into Alsace after 260 AD and established the German language. Many of the names are still recognizable as they have the “ingen” suffix. The Franks, led by Clovis, conquered them along with a large part of the region in 496 AD (some claim 506) and the Alemanni were incorporated into Frankish dominions. During this rule, the names of places used the “heim” suffix. Later in the 7th and 8th centuries, the suffixes “hofen”, “weiler”, and “hausen” were used.
This is a little hard to decipher, but the best I can interpret the combined writings and translations follows:
A small Cloister in Baumerlenbach was given to the Cloister Lorsch by a Frua Wirdun from Olnhausen.9 In a second, and I think, unrelated event, On March 11th, of 776 or 778, Sigmar son of Ollan, and Glismut (husband and wife) of Ollanhausen gave to the Abbot Gundeland a gift of property in Olleimo, the Latin spelling for Ollheim. This was sworn to in the Lorsch Kloster. The documents of this transaction are the second or third copies, as the originals are not known, but the monks at the Lorsch Kloster have recopied documents over the years to preserve them and keep them in a current dialect. The theory is the Ollans were a group of people and the town was named accordingly, Ollanhausen. Which puts the “hausen” suffix in the 7th to 8th century where it was common (781). The Lorsch Kloster we see today is simply a gatehouse to what was an entire compound of buildings. This actual structure was built in the 9th century, as a part of the Lorsch Kloster, which was originally built as a private monastery by the Frankish Count Cancor and his widowed mother, Williswinda on their estate, Laurissa. His nephew, Chrodegang, Archbishop of Metz, governed it’s operations until he resigned as abbot and placed his brother Gundeland, in charge. Most of the damage to the Kloster took place before 1697. Many buildings were pulled down in 1621, and later French soldiers burned the abbey buildings. Most of the manuscripts (196 cases of them) ended up in the Vatican Library in 1623. A point of clarity, the Lorsch Kloster is not IN Olnhausen, it is some 20-30 miles to the west. That is where the documents originated ABOUT Olnhausen, and where they were stored for so many years. The only significance of this as far as our family is concerned, is IF Sigmar was the son of Ollan (hence Ollanhausen), and IF they gave the land to the church that Olnhausen was situated on. Other than that, the Lorsch Kloster is simply a fantastic story of history of the entire region.
Well, technically, not the actual origin, that is silly, this is simply the oldest known, documented people in our ancestry, and possibly the origin of their name, Ollanhausen.
It is a possibility that the Ollans were minor nobles of the larger Merovingnians. If they are the ones giving the property to the Lorsch Kloster, the son of Ollan, Sigmar, may have been a direct ancestor of ours, this will most likely never be remotely provable, yet interesting.
Then there is Heinrich von Olnhausen of 1388, who was sent on, and was rewarded for succeeding on a quest to Jerusalem for the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. The reward was to be the Golden Star Medal and a perpetual and hereditary assignment as Vogt of Adolsfurt, a state belonging to the Hohenlohes, for whom the crusade was for. The assignment as Vogt is easily confirmable, but the confirmation of the medal and the date it was awarded has not yet been confirmed. The same document also states that Heinrich von Olnhausen became Vogt of Adolsfurt in the year 1420. Then either Heinrich's assignment to Adolsfurt was delayed 22 years, or this Heinrich who became Vogt in 1420 was the son of the Crusader Heinrich! That is 2 possible Heinrichs. The 3rd possibility is Heinzele von Oettinigen, who accompanied Heinrich von Olnhausen on the Crusade as a trial rider and acted on each occasion in a knightly fashion so that he was finally knighted, and given the name of von Olnhausen.
One of these 3 was most likely our ‘way back’ ancestor, which one is also not provable at this time. Well, actually, the Heinrich that became Vogt in 1420 should then be our ancestor of earliest record. The next Olnhausen assigned as Vogt of Adolsfurt was in 1423, and from him we can be traced reliably. So this is the Heinrich von Olnhausen we will begin our more detailed, generation by generation, study with.
The first few generations of Ohlhausens were knights. Heinrich I was in the service of the higher noble family of the Hohenlohe's, whose head was a "Graf" or count. Heinrich I was a Vogt. Hanzelmann says he served as Vogt of Adolsfurt from 1423 to 1457. We do not know when or where he was born or whom he married, but we do know that he had only one son, Heinrich II von Ohlhausen. Heinrich I von Ohlhausen presumable died in 1457 for that is when his son became Vogt of Adolzfurt by hereditary right. In Heinrich I's time the Hohenlohe territorial rule extended over what is now southwestern West Germany and Alsace.
see also the tab above entitled ‘The Meaning of von’
Ok, so I traveled back in time with my tardis to 1423 and asked ‘ole Hans de Eldter what the heck Olnhausen meant. And this is what he said...
Yea, sure, if only it was so easy. Well, this is how it is, we get a few different answers, it depends on who you read or talk to. I will try to give, I hope, an unbiased view here on the different meanings. I don’t know if we will ever be able to collectively say “this is the right one”. The folks that have researched this in depth are some pretty intelligent people, and some have very strong opinions for their points. I only hope I can give a fair representation of the choices out there, without getting on anyone’s bad side. I have not gone and done this research, so I have to base my thoughts on their presentations.
In recent times our last name (in my family) has been spelled Ohlhausen, other spellings are listed at the top of these pages, but I think our line has pretty much been spelled Olnhausen, von Olnhausen and Ohlhausen and von Ohlhausen. Read the page on ‘The Meaning of von’ for info regarding that. I have some info on some people as to how they spelled the name, however much of the info on this site comes through other researchers and has been ‘standardized’ by them to a unified spelling; i.e. Ohlhausen. Since I don’t usually have a primary source document, I can not tell if the researcher has copied the spelling, or standardized it. I have thought long and hard over this issue, which is really an issue of accuracy. So throughout this site I will mostly standardize the last names, which goes against every bone in my body. In certain cases we DO know the person (or someone at that time) spelled their name a certain way, I will use that when I can, in the interest of accuracy. It is a fact however that Ohlnhausen is one of the earliest common ways to spell it. I just can not be certain how each of the ancestors spelled it themselves. Just for fun, below are some images from various old documents with different spellengs, many of these were written by persons other than Ohlnhausen’s.
“Olnhausen (alternative name: Ohlhausen; historical variants: Olnhausen, Ohlhausen, Olhausen, Ohlhaussen, Ahlhausen, Aalhausen, Aalhaus) is a town in Baden-Wurttemberg with an area of 4.57 km², in the district of Heilbronn, near Jagsthausen. Olnhausen has a population of about 300.”
Using Google Maps it shows about 45 minutes from Olnhausen to either Bockingen or Schwabish Hall for a reference.
both in the same document
The one on the left is in the earlier document from 1275, the one on the right was in the transcription of that document from 1751.
This is a transcription of a letter from Betty Lanelle Ohlhausen to a Professor Edward D. Ohlbaum regarding a letter from him (not in evidence). I wish I could read what he said that prompted this reply...
Edward D. Ohlbaum TEMPLE UNIVERSITY 1719 N. Broad Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122
July 3, 1996
Dear Professor Ohlbaum:
I truly appreciate your answer to my letter about the prefix OhI in our names. A cousin is correcting and updating a published history of the Ohlhausen family ("The Ancestors and Descendants of Alexander Heinrich I von Ohlhausen") and writing "A History of the Ohlhausen's of Mason County, Texas". The original history was researched and written by Dr. Sidney Gordon Ohlhausen of Houston, Texas, now deceased. The first record he located of the current spelling was Hans von Ohlhausen of Bochingen in 1640. The first documented name was in 1423, the first village named Olnhausen was in 781 A.D. and is a current spelling of that area. Various spellings using the Latin Olea as a prefix go back to 186 A.D. and they all seem to support your family's belief that the prefix deals with olive oil. His search in old church and village records in Germany suggests that "Ohlhausen" was a supply house or vendor area. Perhaps an early type of "post exchange" for Roman soldiers, who were stationed there, to receive their allotment of olive oil?
A German/English dictionary lists Ol as "oil" and Ol plus "baum" as "olive tree". This doesn't prove "Ohl" means "Ol" but it certainly appears to do so. The same dictionary lists Haus (house) plus en (dwelling). Since I wrote I have found the names Ohlberg and Ohlmeyer. And there is Olhausen.
My family pronounced the name Awl' howz un. That suggests an earlier umlaut O. We now generally use a long O. It makes spelling easier!
Through the years people have suggested Alt (old) and Aal (eel) but the 'Ol (oil) definition seems to be the best.
Thanks for your informative letter. It caused us to do some bookwork!
Sincerely, Betty Lanelle Ohlhausen White 1700 Glenhaven Abilene, Texas 79603
This was included with Benjamin Halsted’s work entitled “Ohlhausen’s of Mason County, Texas”. I sounds like there is a little guessing going on, and I’m not too sure of the value of this for supporting the ‘Olive Oil theory’ without having the rest of the story... but it is an interesting option, with it’s own merits.
Yes, I’m serious, eels. This is a copy of a coat of arms I was sent from Wayne Fuller in Canada. You can certainly see the eel in his right hand, (yes we know it is an eel, not a snake, from old descriptions of the coat of arms) Also you can see what looks like a bundle of straw at the bottom of the water. That is an eel trap from years gone by. So, this brings a lot of creedence to the theory that eels played a part in our name. What part I do not know. Below is a picture of one Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall had commissioned to be built using an 18th century French design. He caught eels with it on the ‘Return to River Cottage’ episode 5. You can see the resemblance in design.
The meaning of von in a Germanic surname can either mean the family was from a particular place, or it can signify nobility. The question here is which applies to our von Ohlhausen’s. As of 1919 all the titles of nobility were abolished in lieu of Republican governments. In Austria that meant removing the von from the name as well. However in Germany many kept the von as part of their surname. So if the family was from Germany and they had ‘von’ preceding the surname it could either mean they had been a family from nobility, or they had always had ‘von’ as a particle denoting their origin. Apparently in the middle ages it was quite common to use the ‘von’ participle. The earliest Ohlhausen ancestors in Germany are found very near to Olnhausen, and are recorded to be born in and living in Adolzfurt, Bockingen, and Schwabish Hall in the 14 and 1500’s. This gives a lot of credibility to the idea that the ‘von’ in their name was simply showing they were from Olnhausen. The question comes when we are told the earliest of these recorded Ohlhausen’s are in a position called Vogt. Vogt being derived from Latin and having to do with an advocate / overlord, in other words, a titled position. So we have 2 opinions as to the origin / meaning behind our von Ohlhausen’s. I think either one seems credible from here, and since I have not the German vocabulary skills, nor the means to travel to Germany, I must rely on those that have done so. Which puts me still in the middle, and I can discount neither source, as they both have years of research to back them up.
“Ancient families distinguish themselves from newly ennobled ones by abbreviating von to v. This is also the traditional practice of nobles in North Germany.”
Which I did not realize, could this be why our immigrants did just that? There are quite a few of the Ohlhausen’s that simply used a v as their middle name since they were not allowed to use von, as it was seen as a title... Which is what we are told, by family lore if it was simply a name, they should have been able to keep it, wouldn’t you think? Maybe just a coincedence...
“A Vogt (from the Old High German, also Voigt or Voight or Landvoigt or Fauth); plural Vögte;”...” ultimately from Latin [ad]vocatus) in the Holy Roman Empire was the German title of a reeve or advocate, an overlord (mostly of nobility) exerting guardianship or military protection as well as secular justice (Blutgericht) over a certain territory. The territory or area of responsibility of a Vogt is called a Vogtei (from [ad]vocatia).”
And that seems to be exactly the position of the earliest recorded Ohlhausen’s according to Dr Sydney Ohlhausen’s works.
If you don’t see a map above here, right click the square and choose ‘Refresh’
I have corresponded at length with Wayne Fuller, of ohlhausen.ca, (whose mother is an Ohlhausen), and his thinking is that the von is simply a relation to the fact that the Ohlhausen’s were from Olnhausen. I certainly can not disagree with that, I just wonder if their positions as Vogt (through a few generations) might have elevated the ‘von’ to a title.
Wayne’s family has researched their Ohlhausen’s (and Olnhausen’s) for decades, both in North America and in Germany. They also have studied Dr Sydney Ohlhausen’s research (who says the von is a title) as well. So I most certainly give a lot of credit to what he says. It was through his prompting, (and my own curiosity) that I finally had a DNA test done. This test showed our line and his line of Ohlhausen’s were not connected. Even so, they have researched our side for clues to their own line, which seems like not only the logical thing to do, but the prudent thing to do. Lots of respect for our Canadian (maybe not so) cousins, lol. You can find my DNA results by clicking the DNA tab above.
Well, scratch the above comments from Wayne Fuller. He e-mailed me back and says this...
First I want to say that I was wrong when I answered your question below and in fact the 'von' in this case does mean a title but more than just a title .. it represents a Duke and Dukedom .... and is a very prestigious title in Germany and by extension around the world.”