Many of the early settlers of Tazewell County emigrated from the Ostfriesland area of Germany. One of these settlers, Teis Smith, became a successful businessman in Pekin. He encouraged many other Ostfriesen families to migrate to central Illinois, providing employment in his wagon factory.
Ostfriesland, also called East Friesland or East Frisia, is an area in the northwest corner of Germany on the North Sea coast and includes the German islands in the North Sea. Ostfriesland is a region rather than any kind of administrative or political district such as a state or province.
Ostfriesland is contained within the German state of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). The approximate borders of Ostfriesland are the Netherlands to the west, south to about Papenburg, and east to Oldenburg.
The largest city in Ostfriesland is Emden. Other important cities are Aurich, Leer, Esens, Jever, Norden, and Wittmund.
Ortssippenbücher (OSB) and Ortsfamilienbücher (OFB) books contain important genealogical information for Ostfriesen researchers such as family names, social status; occupations; family relationships; and dates of births, marriages, and deaths for families found in a specific church in an Ostfriesen village.
The data in these books has been extracted from local church records and other village/city sources and is presented alphabetically by family surname and then chronologically by marriage date with references to further familial information.
OSB/OFBs are compiled by volunteers, some of whom have spent years writing them. The books are written in German and typically cover the time period from 1700 through 1900, depending on the available data.
Since the data has been extracted from the original records, please remember OSB/OFB books are only a secondary source. When possible, the data should be verified using the original sources.
These books are often the only available practical resources for researchers who cannot access the original records in German archives. However, some of the original church records may be available on microfilm from the LDS Church.
Ortssippenbüch (OSB) are published in Germany by the Upstalsboom-Gesellschaft (Genealogical Society of Ostfriesland). Ortsfamilienbüch (OFB) are privately published and sold. For all intensive research purposes, OSB and OFB books can be considered the same.
The value of an Ortssippenbüch is clear. Of course, not every village has an OSB/OFB, but when one is found, a researcher can gain a tremendous amount of information. New books are still being issued and are added to our collection as they are published.
Our OSB collection is currently thought to be complete and the largest in the State of Illinois. If it's not convenient to access our collection, many OSBs and OFBs are available for purchase from the Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America.
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Other Ostfriesland Resources in our Collection
|East Friesens in America||Newsletters - Ostfriesian Heritage Society of East Central Illinois (OHSECI) - Rantoul, IL|
|First Settlers of Moordorf (1767-1817)||North Germany to North America|
|Kopf Schatzung 1719 (census)||Ostfriesisches Geschlechterbüch (Band 212)|
|Newsletters - Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America (OGSA) - St. Paul, MN||Where did they stay? Boyken's Books
|Newsletters - Ostfriesen Genealogical Society (OGS) - George, IA||Where did they stay? Index|
|Newsletters - Ostfriesen Heritage Society (OHS) - Grundy County, IA|