from the family book edited in July 2002

Coats of arms
'Scharfrichters' Executioners

In genealogy, a researcher's aim is to trace back as far as possible in the time the lineage of his ancestors. If in the top of that he found a noble lineage among them, his joy is especially increased. The ulterior research is indeed often greatly simplified, because nobles had more often left written traces than the common people. However, the wish of success of the researcher is sometimes the father of the thought, which leads to establish links that only exist in the researcher's imagination. To escape to this danger it is necessary to prove all the family relationships according to documents. Evidently, the more we go back up through the past, the more it becomes difficult to find such sources. Finally, it leads to the domain of legends, and for the origin of the name of OSTERTAG family, it exists several of them in the family. The origin of these legends is lost in the mists of times, as it suits to legends (according to Gerhard Ostertag, of Cell).

The Legends

According to the first of these legends, a soldier would have presented himself to a prince of South Germany very precisely the day of Easter (Ostertag ", in German) and would have been taken to his service as mercenary, chief or captain of army. As this man was a foreigner coming from far, he would have called him "the man of the Easter day (" der vom OSTERTAG " , in German), then finally more briefly " the day of Easter " (der OSTERTAG) as nickname. What became thereafter his family's name, as it was often the case with nicknames.

The second legend reports that during a crusade, a part of the crusaders army would have been attacked by Saracens exactly a Sunday of Easter. During the battle which permitted to repulse the attackers, a young gentleman distinguished himself as the hero of the day. Thereafter he was called " the one of the Easter day" (vom" der Ostertag " or more simply " the Ostertag "). He was named knight of Empire by the Emperor who gave him a castle. It was between the beginning of the first crusade, in 1096, and the Christian possession loss in Palestine, in Akka, in 1291. It could correspond, according to the point of date view, to the history of the Ostertags of Winstein, of whom the first castle, the Old Winstein, must have been constructed in Alsace in 1212.

According to the third legend, a day of Easter in the immemorial times, a newborn, a boy, would have been found abandoned on marches of the altar of a church, and somebody would have given him the Ostertag name. He is perhaps the ancestor of all Ostertags descendants.

Here are for legends. What tells us now about the Ostertag name, a famous genealogical researcher, the professor Josef Karlmann? He wrote in the Brechenmacher, at the page 355 of his Etymological Dictionary K-Z 312a, about German family's names " Ostertag, name of calendar, inherited of the day of the birth, as Paschalis, Natalis, Christmas, All Saints' Day, Sunday, etc. Coming obviously from the Zollerns, from Friedrich von Zollern in 1297, named Ostertag, the Ostertag first name is very widespread in southwest Germany. However we can find the first name and family's name in other places.

The third legend and the affirmation of Brechenmacher should stop us from believing that all predecessors of our name were related by ties of blood. Because there were always the foundling children and some can have received the name of Ostertag , in remembering them " the happy day of their birth ".

As mentioned already, our family's name appeared during the time of the Hohenzollerns. In the history of this royal house we can read: " Since Friedrich the knight, born in 1298, three sons, which all had the Ostertag name: Friedrich, named Ostertag, Lord of Hohenzollern, transmitted the old lineage. His three sons: Friedrich, also named Friedrich Ostertag II Grand Prior of the Order of St.John , who died in 1400 in the German territory as, Friedrich the Schwarzgraf & Friedrich of Strasbourg ". The Ostertag name can be read on a picture in the Hohenzollern's castle.

There are other justifying writings of the Ostertag name . When we talk about the OSTERTAG HOUSE, we do it refering to the armorial of Siebmacher, with its Sechser " representation " of OSTERTAG 's ARMOIRIES. The adherence to this DYNASTY OSTERTAG of the ANCESTRAL FAMILY and those of WINSTEIN and RAMSTEIN is however only certain if we can prove the link by blood, in an uninterrupted way, of the male descendant lineage..

Even some information about castles and generations of Winstein and Ramstein, Friedhelm Ostertag traced back that the bishop of Basel would have mentioned toward 950 an Ostertag of Ramstein as owner of the castle of Ramstein close to Sélestat, in Higher Alsace, region that was then under his legal sovereignty. Because of the estimated age of this Ramstein fortress, don't confuse with the castle of Ramstein of the Sechser " representation ", the Ostertag dynasty should have its roots around the end of the Carolingians period, about 800. Unfortunately Friedhelm Ostertag didn't mention his source for this information.

The Ostertag lineage is considered like one of the oldest Alsatian families. A family tradition claims that an Ostertag participated as a gentleman at the first crusade in 1096 (cf. the second family legend above). He was made knight in reward of his bravery during the battle. After his return in Alsace he allied by the marriage to a family possessing lands close to the actual ruins of Winstein in Wasgau (Lower Alsace). It increased his influence and his prosperity, so about 1205 his great-grandson, Heinrich of Winstein (1160 to about 1217/18) built the Old Winstein and named themselves " of Winstein ". It is probably this Heinrich who married Sophie of Lorraine (about 1163 to 1217, daughter of Matthaus duke of Lorraine (about 1138 to May 13th, 1176). He was the brother-in-law of the Emperor Frédéric Barberosa. The cousin of Sophie, the king Philippe IV of Staufen (1176 to June 21, 1208), bequeathed lands to her husband, lands on which were built the Old Winstein a decade later. The 15th century lineage ended with Johann Ostertag of Winstein. Before they had to leave the castle, having lost fortune and lands.

Wolfgang Ostertag, Oberkirch, April 2002

For the researchers what I noticed in the following 'American Genealogy' we can find in different genealogies on internet is that

it's is not prooved because we can find an error at the generation 15.

Sophie of LORRAINE 1163 - ab. 1217 x Heinrich OSTERTAG von WINDSTEIN 1160 - 1217/1218.

Nowhere in the wellknown "House of Lorraine" there is a Sophie at this time.

The 'Sophie' I found is the daughter of Frederic II and Mathilde (daughter of Hermann II duke of Schwabia)

Mathieu de Lorraine I (° ab 1110 + le 13/05/1176) married Berthe Hohenstaufen ( sister of Frederic I Barberosa) ° in 1123 + 1195

The known daughter was Judith of Lorraine

We can find a Sophie but married to Henri of Limburg.

It was not as it's said in the following genealogy Judith von Staufen. but Berthe Hohenstaufen.

Judith is not the wife of Mathieu but the daughter!

People who are using nowadays the name of Ostertag von Windstein or Ostertag von Winstein only to use pompous names or who relate their lineage to this doubtful genealogy (see below) have to my knowledge no written legal proof of their blood filiation and refer to unexistent facts

The Ostertag von Windstein have no known descendants

In conclusion , we can't trace back the Ostertags till Charlemagne. It's impossible!

Dom Ostertag


click here 



by Dennis A.KASTENS

Every notification of errors in this genealogy is welcome!


Ostertags of noble origin,

Their genealogy

Ostertags become commoners

Ostertags in Peasant 's War

Ostertags in Fischbach

Ostertags bring Neuharts



About the year A.D. 950 the bishop of Basel mentions an OSTERTAG von RAMSTEIN as proprietor of the Ramstein fortress in upper Alsace which was in his jurisdiction. Based upon the calculated origin of that fortress, the OSTERTAG house must have had its beginning in the late Carolinian era sometime in the 800's.

It is regarded among the oldest of Alsatian families with ties to the present.

Tradition is that about a 3rd great-grandson of OSTERTAG von RAMSTEIN participated A.D. 1096 in the First Crusade as a squire. For his bravery in battle with broad-sworded foes, he was knighted. Upon return to Alsace he was given into marriage with a landed family near the present Windstein castle ruins in the Wasgau.

This increased his influence and wealth so that by 1205 his great-grandson, Heinrich OSTERTAG von WINDSTEIN (+ 1160 - 1217/18 ) would erect Alt Windstein castle and be referred to as "von WINDSTEIN ". He appears to have married Sophie of LORRAINE (+ 1163 - by 1217 ), daughter of Duke Matthaeus of LORRAINE ( + 1138 - 5/13/1176),a brother-in-law of Holy Roman Emperor, Friedrich Barbarossa. Sophie's first cousin, King Philipp IV von STAUFEN ( 1176 - 6/21/1208 ) willed or deeded her husband the property upon which Alt Windstein castle was built a decade later.

Sophie's brother,Friedrich of LORRAINE ( by 1152 - 1207) as Lord of Bitsch, Lorraine, France,owned one-fourth of the. community of Fischbach (i.e. adjoining farmlands and village).

In 1196, when Friedrich described the properties and boundaries of Bitsch, he mentioned Fischbach. (This first historic mention of Fischbach resulted in 1996 being designated the 800th anniversary of the village. In observance of that occasion a nearly 1000-page village chronicle, Fischbach bei Dahn, by Wolfgang Schultz, et al., was published. )

From 1196 until the French Revolution in 1792, that: one-fourth of Fischbach was under von WINDSTEIN family jurisdiction. Later the jurisdiction and castle name was changed from von WINDSTEIN to GRAFENDAHN as the von WINDSTEIN family wanted in the 1400's and the DAIIN family, and related scions, prevailed.

By marring into the LORRAINE family, Heinrich OSTERTAG von WINDSTEIN's children would claim Carolinian descent.

Gen. 1

Emperor Charlemagne

( °2/4/742)-(+28/1/814)

x Hildegard

Gen. 2

King Louis the Pious

(°1/8/778 - +20/6/840 )

x Ermengard

( ? - +ab. 818)

Gen. 3

Rotrud of FRANCE or Hildegarde

(°800 - +aft. oct.841)

x Gerhard of AUVERGNE

(°ab. 795 - +25/6/841)

Gen. 4

Count Ramnulf I of POITOU

(°ca 820-+ Oct. 866)

x Bilechild

(°+820 - ?)

Gen. 5

Count Ramnulf II of POITOU

(°ca 845 - +8/5/890

x Illégitimate

Gen. 6

Count Ebalus Mancer of POITOU

(+ 872- 934)

x Aremburgis

Gen. 7

Count Guillaume of POITOU

( °900 - +4/3/963)

x 935 Adèle of NORMANDY

(°910 -+aft.14/10/962) 

Gen. 8

 Queen Adelheid of POITOU

950 - 1004

x 970 King Hughes CAPET of FRANCE

940 - 24/10/996

Gen. 9

King Robert Il of FRANCE

970 - 20/7/1031

x 1002 Constance of ARLES

986 - 25/7/1032

Gen. 10

Adelheid of FRANCE

1010 - 8/1/1079

x 1028 Count Baldwin V of FLANDERS

1012 - 1/9/1067

Gen. 11

Count Robert 1 of FLANDERS

1035 - 3/10/1093

x Gertrude of SAXONY

1043 - 4/8/1113

Gen. 12

Gertrude of FLANDERS

1070 - 1117

x Henry III of LOUVAIN

1050 - 5/2/1095

Gen. 13

Adelheid of LOUVAIN

+ 1094 - aft. 1158

x +1115 Duke Simon of LORRAINE

1077 - 14/1/1139

 Simon 1 of (UPPER) LORRAINE founded the Stuerzelbronn Cloister in 1135 which adjoins the Fischbach community. He donated the property to his friend, Bernard of Clairvaux of the Cistercian Order. With twelve monks supervising., construction began, and the monastery was launched. (* Because of important burials and aristocratic support, the order erected a substantial structure later under direction of Peter, fifth abbot of the Cistercian centre in Neuberg. His monks assisted local monks, and with contracted help, the facility was completed in 1212.)

For nearly 100 years thereafter, family members were buried in Stuerzelbronn, beginning with Simon 1-1139 ). His son, Robert of LORRAINE ( + 1190 ), Friedrich of BITSCH ( +1207) Duke Theobald I ( +1220 ) and Duke Friedrich II ( + 1213 ), together with others of the house of BITSCH were interred there. Mediaeval belief was that souls of the deceased benefited from the prayers and presence of the monks nearby. Since the Fischbach church did not become a self-standing congregation until 1487, the populace frequently worshipped in Stuerzelbronn monastery during the mid- and late Middle Ages. Simon I's son was Matthaeus of LORRAINE whose daughter, Sophie, appears to have wed Heinrich OSTERTAG von WINDSTEIN, as reflected below.


Matthaeus of LORRAINE

1120 - 13/05/1176

x 1138 Judith von STAUFEN (error) it's Berthe HohenStaufen

1122 - 4/4 aft. 1202


Sophie of LORRAINE (unknown!)

1163 - ab. 1217

known daughter ( Judith of Lorraine)


1160 - 1217/1218



1190 - after 1225



ab. 1225 - aft. 1255

N.N Ostertag von Windstein's sons.



Peter Ostertag Von W.

ab. 1253 - 1325

Friedrich Ostertag von W

ab. 1255 - aft. 1337


1259 - after 1299


Peter died without male issue so the castle went to his younger brother, Friedrich, and the latter son, Wilhelm OSTERTAG von WINDSTEIN ( + 1298 - by 1378), who erected New Windstein 1340 and rebuilt Old Windstein castle later. On July 20, 1337, the aged Friedrich, and son Wilhelm, donated the Fischbach gristmill and half the adjoining pond to the Stuerzelbroon monastery.

(Subsequently, in 1350, when commoner Johann WAGNER of Fischbach leased the gristmill, arrangements had to be made with Brother Conrad, a Stuerzelbronn monk, on the Thursday after Easter, because the mill now was owned by the monastic cloister. (See Fischbach bei Dahn. pages 59-60.)

Friedrich's son.

Gen. 19


ab 1298 - ab.1378

x .N. MURSEL,daughter de Conrad Mursel


Gen. 20


ab.1328 - 1397

Johann occupied the castle until 1388 when it was divided between himself, Heinrich von LICHTENBERG and Heinrich Eckbrecht von DURKHEIM, his first cousin's sons-in-law( See diagram.)


Ostertag von Windstein

+-1259 - ab. 1299


Johann Ostertag von Windstein

-1285 after 1325





daughter OSTERTAG (1)

+-1320 +-1390

Katharine OSTERTAG(2)

-+1323- 1389

(1)x Heinrich von Lichtenberg

+- 1316 - +- 1390

(2)x 1347 Heinrich Eckbrech von DÜRKHEIM

+- 1320 +- 1390

 Nearly impoverished Johann moved out to be with his son who resided in a normal dwelling in a nearby village. Following that, family holdings diminished as property was divided still further between kin and descendants.

Within two generations by 1470, the von WINDSTEIN appellation dissolved and the family surname returned simply to OSTERTAG. The castle name ( See Fischbach bei Dahn, page 59.) changed to GRAFENDAHN. These generations were Johann's son and grandson:

Gen. 21


+ 1370 - + 1430

Gen. 22


+ 1400 - 1470 (end of the lineage)

no children known!

The "von WINDSTEIN" title ended with the above Johann's passing in 1470. The castle, which had been a DAHN protectorates since its founding, (such was the arrangement during the Middle Ages, that larger and more powerful castles and families protected smaller and less powerful entities, with the latter paying tribute or extending favours such as military assistance in exchange.) now actually reflected this connection by being named GRAFENDAHN.



Without wealth or landed properties, the OSTERTAG family reverted to commoner status.

Johann's older son, Wendell OSTERTAG (+ 1430 - + 1480) appears to have settled in or near Cleebourg, France. He became the father of N.N. OSTERTAG (1460 - + 1510 ) and grandfather of (Wendell) "Cleebourg" OSTERTAG ( + 1488 -1538), the latter of whom became patriarch of the Cleebourg scion. (See eight-generation pedigree chart-of OSTERTAGS.)

Johann's younger son (Theobald) OSTERTAG ( +1434 - by 1487) appears to have settled in Fischbach, Germany. (Theobald's son), Marzolph OSTERTAG, Sr. (+ 1462 -+ by 1538) was married by 1487 ( LA-SP. Best. T-2, Nr. 299) in Fischbach, but deceased by 1538 when his son, Marzolph OSTERTAG,JR. ( 1500 - after 1538 ) testifies, under oath, as to the family's heritage and allegiance in a legal dispute between the DAHN family and the Zweibruecken Duchy. ( Bay. HSTA Munchen Reichskammergericht 10122). In article 8 of that document the implication is that Marzolph Jr.'s father now deceased (" ... sein Vater selig gestorben... und seine Geschwistern") was a Fischbach native and that the grandfather (Theobald)OSTERTAG had settled there upon marriage (about 1459). This (Theobald)OSTERTAG's wife must have been of "Koenigsleute " heritage, i.e. a subject to the County of Wegelnburg, a Zweibruecken Duchy holding, from which her ancestors came. In the 1400's - 1600's there were usually about 3 of the 25-30 Fischbach households that were "Koenigsleute". These were the OSTERTAGs or there in-laws,who lived under the Grafendahn authority simultaneously. In Fischbach, at that time, three-fourths of the village was under the regular DAHN squires - headquartered in Neudahn Fortress, Tamstein Castle, and Altdahn Castle -and one-fourth was subject to the Grafendahn squires (headquartered in Bad Berwartstein after the Windstein / Grafendahn Castle was destroyed by General Monclar in 1679). Grafendahn Castle, adjoining Obersteinbach, was within four hours walking distance of Fischbach in good weather, through hilly terrain. 




The Fischbach OSTERTAG brothers, Marzolf and Theobald, participated 1523-25 in the Peasants' War. The village, so beleaguered with four factions of DAHN overlords, plus various citizens (such as the OSTERTAGs simultaneously subject, as Koenigsleute, to the Zweibruecken Duchy) holding dual citizenship,were weary of squires, lords and knights exacting taxations and indenture-like service. Consequently, when skirmishes began in the Palatinate, the brothers joined ruffian groups which attacked the Dahn and Berwartstein castles, Though they succeeded in destroying Drachenfels, a subsidiary castle of Berwartstein, They were outnumbered and overpowered by the dukes and nobles, and put to rout.

Because the brothers, as Koenigsleute, were subject to Berwartstein as well as Zweibruecken, they were doubly guilty and court-marshalled. Christoph TRAPP(von Trotha) of Berwartstein pressed hardest and imprisoned the brothers by mid-1530 in the Bad Berwartstein castle. The Zweibruecken dukes wished to do the same; however., since the brothers already were incarcerated -- and since Zweibruecken Duchy and Berwartstein both were subservient to the Electoral Prince of the Palatinate -- the dukes agreed to let Christoph TRAPP render the verdict.

During that time, from August 15 through October 28, 1530, Marzolph and Theobald OSTERTAG were imprisoned in Germersheim, having been moved from Berwartstein as a condition of the proceedings, A verdict was published January 9, 1531,stipulating that "the OSTERTAG brothers of Fischbach and the Koenigsleute of Bruchweiler" (who also participated in the war, but whose names are not given)make reparation by rendering manual labour and public service to their lords".

The terms of this agreement were fulfilled by 1535 (GLA-Karlsruhe; Fischbach bei Dahn, page.10,2 ) and the matter was settled. Since the Fischbach villagers supported the efforts of the OSTERTAG brothers in the war, the brothers were not censored but respected and lauded by the citizenry, As early as 1538, Marzolph was selected to be a witness for the proceedings between the Zweibrueken Duchy and the Lords of Dahn, thus displaying the esteem and respect he enjoyed in Fischbach.



Descendants of the two Fischbach brothers settled in Niederschlettenbach, Rumbach, Niedersteinbach and Lembach as time passed, and progeny of the Cleebourg scion moved to various communities in Alsace/Lorraine in the course of upcoming generations. Their immigration can be seen in the eight-generation pedigree chart of the family. Of special interest is how they figure into the ancestry of the NEUHART family (variously spelled) since one of their descendants appears as matriarch of the known NEUHARTs residing in Europe and America.

 Gen. 23 (Theobald) OSTERTAG of Fischbach  + 1434 - ab 1487(from where is he coming?!)

 Gen. 24 Marzolph OSTERTAG, Sr. of Fischbach + 1462 - ab.1538

 Gen. 25 Theobald OSTERTAG,SR. of Fischbach  + 1494 - after 1538

 Gen. 26 Theobald OSTERTAC, Jr. of Niederschlettenbach  + 1529 - 1587

 Gen. 27 Marzolph OSTERTAG of Rumbach + 1560 - 1619/20 x1584 Barbara JOST + 1564 - after 1616 



The OSTERTAGs moved to Rumbach in 1584 when Marzolph "Marx" OSTERTAG ( + 1560-1619/20 ) married Barbara JOST, the Rumbach mayor's daughter. Marx was Rumbach inkeeper for some years and was, by trade, a cartwright. He also served as lay-jurist on the seven-man court which met monthly to oversee the affairs of Wegelnburg County, especially tending to any fees or penalties pertaining to law and order. His brother, Wendell, was Rumbach mayor during much of that time.

If there were any children, other than Margaret, surviving to adulthood, these would have moved elsewhere or (as females) taken a different surname by 'l 609, since only Margaret is listed in that census, A child was born in 1591, according to the tax records of that year, but its name is unknown and it was doubtless deceased by 1609 since it was not common for 18-year-olds to be married at that time. The couple was married about 20 years when Margaret was born 1604/05 in Rumbach, so she was a cherished youngster and became heir to the family estate.

That property likely had come to the OSTERTAGs from Barbara's father, Hans JOST, who, in turn had received it about 1550 from Gangolf WINTER, Hans' father-in-law. The WINTERs were Rumbach's most affluent family.

The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) saw the demise of all OSTERTAG males bearing the family surname in Fischbach and Rumbach, so that anyone later with that last name in the area, would descend from the Cleebourg scion or another branch not described in this narrative. No male OSTERTAGs, descending from Fischbach patriarch (Theobald) OSTERTAG -F 1434 - by 1487> survived beyond Wendell who died 1642/43 in Fischbach and Philip Jr, who died in Rumbach-, sometime before 1666.

Fortunately, however, female descendants continue in significant numbers. Prominent among them the vast NEUHART family ( described in Neuhart Chronicles Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4 ) which world-wide, likely exceeds 50,000 or more descendants presently.

This entire clan has Margaret OSTERTAC + 1605 - + 1667 as its matriarch. About 1626 she married Christopher NEUHART of Nothweiler. He moved to Rumbach and the couple took up residence in the OSTERTAG house which, Margaret inherited from her parents. Christophe later became mayor of Rumbach and thereby continued the family tradition of leadership and esteem in the community,

The couple parented at least eight surviving children, among whom, were three sons,mentioned below. All three have progeny continuing to the present day, bearing the NEUHART (variously spelled) surname.

Descendants of the foregoing appear in available from the author, Volumes 1, 2, 3 and 4, Neuhart Chronicles. 


 -Ostertag, Friedhlem.Die Ostertage. Munich,Ziele Druck,1973

 -Schultz, Wolfgang, Fischbach bei Dahn,Speyer Progressdiuck GmbH, 1996.

 -Schoenau/Pfalz, Koblenz, Görres-Druckerei GmbH, 1982.

 -Cunz, Michael Lothar. Der Wasgenwald. Neustadt a.d. Aisch; Ph.C.W, Schmidt, 1967.

 -700 Jahre Förster Cuntz Neustadt a.d. Aisch: Ph.C,W. Schmidt, 1960

 -Kastens Dennis A. Rumbach &Schoenau Family Registry 1430-1630 St. Louis1995,

 - Rumbach baptisms 1631-1721 St Louis 1991 

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