This German surname of OATMAN was derived from the name ODO which was the name of the half-brother of the Norman Conqueror, archbishop of Bayeaux, who accompanied the Norman Expedition to England, and was rewarded with 439 confiscated manors. The German name ODO or OTTO was a hereditary name in the Saxon ruling house, as well as being borne by OTTO von Wittelsbach, who founded the Bavarian ruling dynasty in the 11th century, and the 12th century OTTO of Bamburg, apostle of Pomerania. This surname is of two-fold origin. It was derived from the Old German ODO a nickname meaning riches, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The name has numerous variant spellings which include OETGENS, OERTER, OETINGER, OTTEN, OTT, OTTSEN, OTTENS, OTTESEN, OTTOSEN, OTZEN and OTTLER, to name but a few. A notable member of the name was Christoph Friedrich OETINGER (1702-82) the German theosophic theologian. He was a leader of the Pietists and a disciple of Swedenborg and Bohme. Because of the close relationship between the English and German languages, some Germans are able to transform their names to the English form just by dropping a single letter. Many Germans have re-spelt their names in America. A great number of immigrants from Germany settled in Pennsylvania. After the start of the first World War, Germans in great numbers Anglicized their names in an effort to remove all doubt as to their patriotism. Afterwards some changed back, and then during World War II the problem became acute once more, and the changing started all over again, although not with as much intensity. German or Teutonic heraldry extended its sphere of influence over central Europe and spread into Scandinavia. It is most notable for its design and treatment of crests, most of which reflect the arms in the charge or tinctures (colours) or both, which is unknown in British heraldry. Teutonic Europe assembled many arms on a single shield, each bearing its corresponding crest on a helmet.
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