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

Otter Family History

Otter Name Meaning

English, German, Dutch, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): metonymic occupational name for an otter hunter, or nickname for someone supposedly resembling an otter, from Middle English, Middle High German oter, Middle Dutch otter, German Otter ‘otter’. The Jewish surname can be ornamental. English: from the late Old English personal name Ohthere, a borrowing of Old Norse Óttar, composed of the elements ótti ‘fear’, ‘dread’ + herr ‘army’. In Scotland the Old Norse name is the source. French: from a Germanic personal name composed of the elements aud, od ‘wealth’ + hari, heri ‘army’.

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


Similar surnames: Oster, Cotter, Notter, Potter, Zotter, Etter, Rotter, Stier, Lotter

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 Otter family from?

You can see how Otter families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Otter family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Otter families were found in the UK in 1891. In 1840 there were 5 Otter families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 25% of all the recorded Otter's in the USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of Otter families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Otter surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Otter ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Teacher were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Otter. 23% of Otter men worked as a Farmer and 13% of Otter women worked as a Teacher. Some less common occupations for Americans named Otter were Clerk and Housekeeper.

View Census data for Otter | 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

  • Farmer
    23%
  • Laborer
    21%
  • Salesman
    9%
  • Clerk
    7%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Teacher
    13%
  • Seamstress
    13%
  • Stenographer
    9%
  • Housekeeper
    9%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Otter family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 24,000 census records available for the last name Otter. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Otter census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Otter

Passenger Lists

There are 3,000 immigration records available for the last name Otter. 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 Otter immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 5,000 military records available for the last name Otter. For the veterans among your Otter ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Otter military records

You've only scratched the surface of Otter family history.

Discover More

What is the average Otter lifespan?

Between 1956 and 2004, in the United States, Otter life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1956, and highest in 1997. The average life expectancy for Otter in 1956 was 54, and 68 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Otter

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the Otter family tree

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