History of your Surname
Get access to Oswald family records.Start a free trial

Oswald Family History

Oswald Name Meaning

Scottish (Fife and Lanarkshire) northern English German and French (mainly Alsace and Lorraine): from an Old English personal name composed of the elements ōs ‘god’ + weald ‘power’. In the Middle English period this fell together with the less common Old Norse cognate Ásvaldr. The name was introduced to Germany from England as a result of the fame of Saint Oswald a 7th-century king of Northumbria whose deeds were reported by Celtic missionaries to southern Germany. The name was also borne by a 10th-century English saint of Danish parentage who was important as a monastic reformer. Veneration of Saint Oswald the king spread from the German lands to the neighbouring Slavic lands as well. The surname in the (German) spelling Oswald is thus also found especially in Czechia and Slovakia while in North America it also absorbed various Slavic forms (see 3 below). Irish (Down): adopted as an English equivalent of Gaelic Ó hEodhusa (see Hussey ). Americanized form of Slovenian Slovak and Czech Osvald Slovenian and Slovak Ožvald or Ozvald and probably also of Slovenian Ožbolt: from vernacular forms of the German personal name Oswald of Old English origin (see 1 above).

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Oswell, Ostwald, Ewald, Seward, Howard, Edward, Wald, Osland, Sale

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the Oswald family from?

You can see how Oswald families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Oswald family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Oswald families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 18 Oswald families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 43% of all the recorded Oswald's in USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of Oswald families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Oswald surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Oswald ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Stenographer were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Oswald. 15% of Oswald men worked as a Laborer and 8% of Oswald women worked as a Stenographer. Some less common occupations for Americans named Oswald were Clerk and Clerk. .

View Census Data for Oswald | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Laborer
  • Farmer
  • Salesman
  • Clerk

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Stenographer
  • Housewife
  • Housekeeper
  • Clerk
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Oswald family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 88,000 census records available for the last name Oswald. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Oswald census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Oswald

Passenger Lists

There are 16,000 immigration records available for the last name Oswald. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Oswald immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 29,000 military records available for the last name Oswald. For the veterans among your Oswald ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Oswald military records

You've only scratched the surface of Oswald family history

Discover More

What is the average Oswald lifespan?

Between 1946 and 2004, in the United States, Oswald life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1950, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Oswald in 1946 was 42, and 76 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Oswald

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Oswald family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial