The Official Osman Family
Pennsylvania Deutsch Hex Sign

The OSMAN Family Genealogy

* Of Central Pennsylvania *

~ A Work in Progress ~

Jay M. Osman - Your Host

"Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.
Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one."
~ Jane Howard

The Osman Family Hex Sign

This original design by Pennsylvania German Folk Artist, Ivan E. Hoyt (link below) features the double "Distlefink" birds. They represent good luck and good fortune. The tulip is called a "Trilogy Tulip" and it represents faith in yourself, faith in your fellow man, and faith in what you do. The daisy-like flowers inside the heart are also said to represent the tulips as God perceives them from Heaven above. The twelve petals symbolize that you will be in good standing with God for twelve months of the year. The heart of course, represents love and romance while the large water droplets symbolize abundance and fertility. The wavy border signifies smooth sailing on the Sea of Life. Contrary to popular belief, these signs were used for decoration rather than obscure religious or supernatural reasons.

Copyrighted Hex Sign may be used by permission of Mr. Hoyt only.

Spelling Variants: Osmun, Osmon, Osmond, Osmund, Usman, Asman, Ozman, Oseman, Ostman, Osment, Ozmant, Oschman, and more. Plus any combination of double "S" and double "N".

Surnames: Armour, Beck, Brosius, Grace, Hartsock, Hepler, Hise, Hoffman, Hoover, Lamborn, Lee, Leisenring, Miller, Newcomer(Neukommett), Nissley, Rabuck, Romberger, Saltzer, Schadel, Schoffstall, Schreiber, Schrope, Starrett, Strawn, Updegrove, Veit, Wagner, Wetzel, Williard, Zerbe, more later.


Fall 2000: A descendant of William Osman (Robert1 & [2]Catherine) contacted me with great news. He said Elizabeth Osman, a granddaughter of William, donated "The William Osman Papers" to the University of Illinois. The "Papers" are a collection of letters and more, written by and to William, circa 1830/40s. With the cooperation of the University, the "Papers" have been microfilmed and a copy is now in my possession. An unbelievable windfall of Osman Family history. From the "Papers" we were able to prove Robert and James were indeed brothers. Andrew is also spoke of as "relations" but fell a little short of indentifying him as Robert's brother.
     Our sincere appreciation is extended to John Hoffmann and the University of Illinois Historical Survey.

May 15, 2001: Tony Norris, a descendant of Benewill Osman (Robert1 & [1]Magdalena, John2) provided me with a 1939 letter from Harrison Shipe/Shive/Scheib to his sister "Gertie" telling her of the exsistence of an Osman Family Bible he claimed was brought over from England by Robert Osman. We are currently trying to locate said Bible. Tony also provided me with some great photos of Mary Melinda Osman, Gertie Conrad Mundell and others.

May 26, 2001: James P. Osman, descendant of James, through Leonard and Lydia [Jus] Osman, contacted me. We have since exchanged valuable family history, including a wonderful c1848 photo Jim provided of Lydia with her grandson Joseph Reed Osman, b. Oct. 25, 1844. Joseph was to become a Philadelphia physician, and Jim's great-grandfather. Jim and I hope to continue exchanging data.

June 2001: We are seeking information on James Albert Osman (b. Oct. 12, 1854, d. May 24, 1928) of Shamokin, who reportedly, at one time had the Osman Family Bible in his possession. Our hope is he passed it on to a descendant. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

July 5, 2001: We have located and contacted James T. Osman, a grandson of the above James Albert. James T. has provided information on a relative who may have knownledge of the Bible. Contact is pending.


     Allow me to introduce you to my great-great-great-Grandfather Robert Osman, one of the first settlers in Upper Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The earliest known record of Robert in Central Pennsylvania is a 1786 tax record for Bethal Twp., Lebanon County, which at that time was part of Dauphin County. In colonial Pennsylvania the law stated that to own land, and therefore pay taxes, a person needed to reach the age of 21. This would mean Robert was born no later than 1765. Nothing is known about the land he owned in Bethal Twp. In 1789 Robert applied for a tract of land in Lykens Twp., just north of Gratz, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. In 1799 he was granted a patent for 217 acres, for which he paid, 1 pound, 18 shillings, and 9 pence (about $3 in today's money). In order for the Penn's to keep track of their original grants, they required the new owner to choose a name for their tract. This name would be referred to in subsequent transactions for all or part of that tract. Robert chose the name "Lurgan", for unknown reasons. For the next fifteen years Robert would continue to buy and sell land in Lykens Twp., holding at one point over 500 acres. For the rest of his life he worked at clearing and farming his land. In or about the year 1789 Robert married Magdalena Neukommett (literal English translation "Newcomer"). Magdalena was the daughter of Christian Newcomer Jr. and Catherine Nissley. Christian Jr. came to this county with his father in 1742, arriving in Philadelphia on the ship Francis and Elizabeth. Christian Sr. and Jr. settled in Bethal Twp., Lebanon County. Both of these families, the Newcomers and the Nissleys, were Mennonites from a German speaking area near Berne, Switzerland. Magdalena died at around age 32 in or about 1803, leaving Robert with five small children to raise. I am descended from Robert and Magdalena's second son John Osman.

     Between the years 1803 and 1806, Robert met and married Catherine Schreiber, also from Lykens Twp. Catherine not only accepted this ready-made family, but raised the children as though they were her own. Robert and Catherine would add eight more children to the family. Robert died in August of 1826. He willed his entire estate to Catherine, stressing to use whatever portion was necessary to educated his children. Catherine died in 1855 at the age of 76.

     At this time nothing is known about the parents of Robert or their ethnicity, but it is a work in progress. I had believed since the onset of this project, Robert was German. But there is growing circumstantial evidence that points to him being English, not the least of which is something I was told by an old, experienced, German genealogist I ran into in the course of my research. He told me, "no 18th century German would ever name their son Robert". His feeling was Robert's origins were English or Scots/Irish, also called Ulster Scots. Then there's the tract name "Lurgan". The tendency at the time was to name your land after the place from whence you came. It is generally believed to be a great genealogical clue if this tract name is known. There are only a few possibilities here, viz; Lurgan is a city in Northern Ireland (in the "Ulster" region), a township in Franklin County, PA, and a region in Upper Bucks Co., PA (both of which were most likely named for the city in Northern Ireland). I researched the Franklin County part, and other Osman researchers worked on the Ireland lead, all to no avail. Work is continuing in Bucks Co. Another possible line is from the Long Island, NY Osmans (see Danny Osmon's link below). In the 1630's, the brothers Thomas and Samuel Osman came to Long Island from England, hoping to start a terpentine business. Although their terpentine business never flourished, Thomas and Samuel did, and they heavily populated that part of New York with Osmans. This line of Osmans has been extensively studied and documented by genealogist. These Osman researchers concede that a line could have gone undetected, and slipped into PA, but basically their migrations were limited to WV, IN, OH, and a few southern states. Nothing I have found thus far has proved a link between that line and the Central PA line. There is also some evidence Robert came directly from England in the 1780's, but nothing solid. Now, here's the rest of the mystery. Settling in the Mahantango/Lykens Valley region, from Millersburg to Hegins are nine adult Osman males, all showing up there about the same time, 1785 to 1790. Their ages, based on their death dates, their ownership of land, marriage dates, and other factors, indicate all were born between 1755 and 1775, give or take. They were; Andrew, Thomas, James, Joshua(Josiah), William, Samuel, Daniel, and of course, Robert. And recently we have uncovered another possible brother John. Their relationship is unknown, not even between any two of them. Logic would dictate that at least some are brothers, and that all are likely related. Family members immigrating together and living close to each other was the rule rather than the exception. The research on this generation of Osmans has been very difficult and frustrating. Help is needed. If anyone knows of any piece of information, regardless of how seemingly insignificant, please let me know. Hope you enjoy the site. - Jay M. Osman

My Links

Generations   ~   Gen 1 ~ Gen 2 ~ Gen 3 ~ Gen 4 ~ Gen 5


My New Book: FUG 10 - Lost Treasure in the Hessian Triangle

Central PA ~ The home of Pot Pie, Chicken Corn Soup, Hog Maws & ShooFly Pie ~ "Ahh...Das ist Gute mein Freund"

COMING SOON! My favorite recipes for the above.

Home Pages & Related Links

The Osmon Family Home Page ~ Danny Osmon's work of art.

Roger & Sue Cramer's Home Page ~ Vast database of Upper Dauphin Co., PA families.

Mitch Yeager's GenSite ~ Hundreds of Dauphin County, PA Surnames - User Friendly!

The Newcomer Family Home Page ~ Excellent Newcomer history.

The Hepler Family Home Page ~ What a GenSite should be.

The Strawn Family Home Page ~ Well designed and easy to use.

The Wetzel Family Home Page ~ Extensive Wetzel history.

Saints & Sinners ~ A "must see" for Osman researchers.

The Johannes Schwalm Historical Association ~ The "Hessian Connection".

Family History Center ~ Don't miss this one!

US Army War College ~ An overlooked resourse.

Your Family Heirlooms ~ Family treasures for sale.

Ivan E. Hoyt ~ Pennsylvania Deutsch Folk Artist

Old Photo Album ~ Interesting - Need your old photos ID?

"A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable."

~ Thomas Jefferson

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Eastern  Pennsylvania Genealogy site is owned by
Jay M. Osman 
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