This surname OSTREICH was a Jewish regional name for someone who came from Austria, from an older pronunciation of the Yiddish word ESTRAYKH (and from the German OSTERREICH) composed of the elements OSTAR (eastern) + RIHHI (kingdom). The name is also spelt ESTREICHER, OISTRAKH, OSTERREICHER and OSTERREICHER. Between 1880 and 1914, almost three million Jews left Eastern Europe, representing the most extensive migration in Jewish history since the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Most of the emigrants fled from Russia, where pogroms had raged, and where the laws of Czar Alexander III had oppressed Jewish life. Most of the emigrants departed from Hamburg and went to the United States, but some emigrated to Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. While the vast majority of the immigrants to America came through Ellis Island from 1907 to 1914 thousands of East European Jews participated in a little known episode in American Jewish history. They migrated through the port of Galveston, Texas and then were routed to towns throughout the Midwest where lodging and jobs awaited them. A notable member of the name was David Feodorvitch OISTRAKH (1908-74) the Russian violinist, born in Odessa. He studied at Odessa Conservatory, graduating in 1926. In 1928 he went to Moscow and began to teach at the Conservatory there in 1934, being appointed professor in 1939. He made concert tours in Europe and America and was awarded the Stalin prize in 1945 and the Lenin Prize in 1960. His son Igor, born in 1931, is also a noted violinist. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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