Unlike most German surnames which refer to the original bearer's occupation or some physical characteristic, Ostertag refers to a sacred Christian holiday.  The name appears to have been adopted independently by a number of individuals living in the western German states.  It is common in Wuerttenberg and Baden and also can be found in the Palatinate, the Reis, the Alsace and Switzerland.  The earliest use of the surname was by the now-extinct noble Alsatian families which occupied the castles Ramstein and Winstein in the 13th Century.   The heraldic Ostertag family founded by Hans der Ostertager during the 14th Century in Noerdlingen, Bavaria is well-documented by a genealogy written in 1803.  Ostertags in other localities can trace their origin to the 14th, 15th or 16th Centuries.  In addition to Christian Ostertags, Jewish families were required to adopt a German surname in the part of Poland occupied by Prussia.  Some of these families adopted the name Ostertag as an equivalent of Passover (Passah or Peisach).

Christian Ostertag was the first to make his way to the Americas.  He established himself as a farmer and innkeeper near what is now Jefferson, Frederick County, Maryland, and died in 1805.  Also establishing a family in Frederick County, Md. was Martin Ostertag who landed in Philadelphia in 1765.  He died in 1784 and by family legend, was a brother to Christian.  Michael Ostertag landed in New York in 1778 as a member of the Ansbach Regiment in the service of the British.  He left the Regiment at Yorktown and also made his way to Frederick County.  He moved to the Boonsboro area of Washington County, Maryland, where he died in 1837.

Johannes Ostertag, b. 1744 in Hoehenmenningen, Wuerttenburg, immigrated in 1772, appears to be the same who settled near Philadelphia.  Johann George Ostertag who also landed in 1772 settled in Lehigh Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.  The origins of another Ostertag family mentioned in late 18th century land grants in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, is still obscure.

The number of early Ostertag immigrants approaches one hundred individuals, and it is likely many others are not known to me.  They settled all over the United States, particularly the cities of the east coast and also rural areas in the midwest.

Early Ostertag families tended to translate their name into English when dealing with their English-speaking neighbors and gradually, as their use of German declined, became Easterdays.  With westward expansion, a band of families named Easterday spread across the middle of the country with its origins in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Other immigrants corrupted the German name into forms such as Osterday, Osterdock, Osterdoch or Esterday.  More recent immigrants retained Ostertag.

By: Dr. Howard G. Lanham, Family Historian,
Ostertag-Easterday Association of America, 23-APR-1998
Kim Myers
Ostertag - Easterday Association of America
Coat of Arms by Joe Kropp
Our Ostertag - Easterday Family Tree
Our Easterday Lineage:
Martin Ostertag  - Maria Margreth
John George Easterday - Margaret Bower
Christian Easterday - Mary Barbara Strayer
William Strayer Easterday - Mary Armstrong
Sarah Elizabeth Easterday - Sylvanus Roudebush
George Roudebush - Stella Noel
Raymond Roudebush - Mariah Floe English
Germany, in the 1700s, was having major economic problems; overpopulation; the devastation of war and America held the promise of plenty of land and relative freedom.

Christian Ostertag was the first Ostertag - Easterday to come to America, arriving Sept. 13, 1749.  Christian established himself as a farmer and innkeeper near what is now Jefferson, Frederick County, Maryland. His wife was Juliana Spiess. Christian's brother,  Martin, his wife and their two eldest children came to America from Germany on the ship "Betsy" landing in Philadelphia on Sept. 19, 1765. They settled in Middletown Valley, Frederick County, MD near his older brother Christian's family.  Some records state that Michael and Julia were also a brother and sister.  It is said that Christian supposedly inherited the family wealth, leaving the rest of his family destitute. Martin paid for his passage to America by becoming an indentured servant to Christian. After serving for the required period of time, Martin settled in Middletown Valley, Frederick County, MD, near his older brother Christian's family in a place known as Carroll's Manor.  Its location is a short distance southeast of the old Christian Easterday home, which is still standing today. Christian Easterday was a well known member of his community and  at one time the family entertained their friends by having "pound parties". The name comes as a result of all of the guests bringing a pound of food for refreshments.  Christian died Nov. 15, 1805 in Jefferson, Frederick, Maryland.

Martin died Nov. 12, 1783 in Island Creek, Jefferson Co., Ohio, and is buried at the cemetery, Knox Twp., Island Creek, Jefferson Co., Ohio (another record states he died in 1783, in Frederick Co., Maryland, and yet another says 1784) . He married Maria Margreth (maiden name unknown) about 1754, in Germany.

Their children were:

John George Easterday b: 17 SEP 1762 (or 1769)
Maria Elizabeth Easterday b: 1 JAN 1755 in Germany
Martin Easterday II b: 16 OCT 1756 in Germany
Jacob Easterday b: 9 AUG 1774 in Frederick County, Maryland
Margaret Easterday b: 1771 in Frederick County, Maryland

John George Easterday, known as George (also listed as George Ostertag Easterday) was born Sept. 17, 1762 (or 1769) and died March 17, 1852 in Chesterville, Morrow County, Ohio. It is not known at this time if he was born in Germany or America, due to the question of dates.  He married Margaret Bower in 1791, in Maryland.  She was born in Jan., 1763 in Frederick County, Maryland and died Sept. 11, 1847, in Chesterville, Ohio. 

Margaret  was a daughter of Conrad Bower. Conrad was born about 1730, in Germany and died in 1810, in Tuscarawas Co. (later Carroll Co.) Ohio. He and his wife, Maria Eva (maiden name unknown) were married about 1755, probably in Germany. Two of John George's brothers, Martin Easterday, Jr. and Jacob Easterday were also married to daughters of Conrad Bower.

In 1800 the entire family moved by flatboat down the Ohio River to a point north of Steubenville and then overland to a place which later became Osage in Jefferson County, OH. John George later migrated to the area of Chesterville, Morrow County, Ohio which is directly west of the Bowerston area and about 40 miles north of Columbus, Ohio. The date of John George Easterday's migration to Morrow County, Ohio is not known at this time, but several of his children appear to have stayed in Carroll County.

Children of John George and Margaret Bower Easterday:

Jacob Easterday b: 18 JUL 1793 in Frederick County. Maryland
Christian Easterday b: 16 SEP 1795 in Frederick County, Maryland
John Easterday b: 18 JAN 1797 in Fayette County, Pa.
Elizabeth Easterday b: 29 MAR 1798 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania
George Easterday II b: 15 FEB 1800 in Jefferson County, Ohio
Sadie Or Susan Easterday b: 31 MAR 1820 in Jefferson County, Ohio
Mary Easterday b: Est. 1782-1809

John George Easterday is believed to be buried in a cemetary about 2 miles south of Chesterville,Ohio. A cemetery was located, by some members of the family,  on routes 314 and 179 which was two and one-quarter miles S.W. of Chesterville. It was the only cemetery in this area and was called the "Chester Baptist Church Cemetery". In the list of tombstone inscriptions, which had been copied by the Morrow County Genealogical Society, was listed a buried stone which they read as J.C.E. (this was in row 16). On closer inspection it was discovered that the initials were in fact J.G.E. We believe that this is the marker of John George Easterday. A relative had the stone cleaned and restored and he, and his brother, reset the stone in the place that it was found.

Conrad Bower is buried in Longview Cemetery, Harrison Co., Bowerstown, OH.

Their children were:
Catherine (Twin) BOWER b: 15 FEB 1756 in Frederick Co.,MD
Christine (Twin) BOWER b: 15 FEB 1756 in Frederick Co.,MD
Barbara BOWER b: 1757 in Frederick Co.,MD
George Adam BOWER b: 1759 in Frederick Co.,MD
Eva BOWER b: 1761 in Frederick Co.,MD
Margaret BOWER b: JAN 1763 in Frederick Co.,MD
Barnhart Bower Bernhard b: JUN 1765 in Frederick Co.,MD
John BOWER b: 1767
Anna Maria BOWER b: 1 NOV 1770 in Frederick Co.,MD
Magdoline Magekena BOWER b: 11 APR 1772 in Frederick Co.,MD
Maria Barbara BOWER b: 4 NOV 1773 in Frederick Co.,MD
Maria Elizabeth BOWER b: 5 JAN 1776 in Frederick Co.,MD
Joseph BOWER b: Aft 1776 in Frederick Co.,MD

Christian Easterday was born Sept. 16, 1795, in Frederick County, Maryland  and died June 18, 1873 in Carroll County, Ohio. He married Mary Barbara Strayer, daughter of Andrew Strayer, on  December 18, 1819, in  Jefferson County, Ohio.  Mary Barbara  was born Jan. 31, 1799 in Jefferson County, Ohio and died June 22, 1874, in Carroll County, Ohio.

Louella L. Easterday b: Est. 1813-1834
Elizabeth Easterday b: 9 DEC 1821 in Carroll County, Ohio
Margaret Easterday b: 31 JUL 1822 in Columbiana County, Ohio (m. Abraham Roudebush)
William Strayer Easterday b: 1831 in Columbiana County, Ohio
Sarah Easterday b: 7 MAR 1833
Johannes Easterday b: 9 MAR 1835
Alexander Easterday b: 7 DEC 1837 in Carroll County, Ohio

William Strayer Easterday was born in 1831 in Columbiana County, Ohio and died Dec. 23, 1912.  He married Mary Armstrong on Oct. 12, 1854, in Carroll County, Ohio. She was born in 1834 in Carroll Co., Ohio and died in 1860 in Carrollton, Carroll County, Ohio
Their children were

Sarah Elizabeth Easterday born in 1855.
Barbara Ellen Easterday born in 1857
James Aaron Easterday born in 1859

William Strayer Easterday also married Sarah Bothwell. Their children were:

Mary Jane EASTERDAY b: 6 APR 1862
Margaret Catherine EASTERDAY b: 16 SEP 1863 in Carroll Co, OH
Christian Reuben EASTERDAY b: 20 JUN 1865
John Cook EASTERDAY b: 16 SEP 1868 in Carroll Co, OH
William Ross EASTERDAY b: 3 JUN 1870 in Carroll Co, OH
George Armstrong EASTERDAY b: 24 AUG 1872
Lilly May EASTERDAY b: 28 JAN 1875
Miller Edmond EASTERDAY b: 11 OCT 1880
Sarah Elizabeth Easterday married Sylvanus Roudebush
Margaret Easterday married Abraham Roudebush