Bill & LaVonne Lee

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OTT in Indiana

Compiled and prepared by Bill and LaVonne Lee.

177 pages, double-columned, full-name index, softcover (8 1/2 X 11) 2006.
ISBN-13:  978-0-9795830-1-8.
ISBN-10:  0-9795830-1-2.

The four W's of family history are Who did it?  What did they do?  When and Where did they do it? These four W's are covered in detail in OTT in INDIANA for the Indiana counties listed below.  This book is not a family history, as such, for any specific OTT family, but most assuredly could provide some missing links to your particular Indiana OTT, or related families.   This material was gathered by the Lee's during the Summer of 1996 when they visited a number of Indiana counties looking for information on the name OTT. This book is the next best thing to actually going to each of these county courthouses to research the records yourself.                         

Two of LaVonne Lee's great-great-great grandmothers on her mother's side were OTTs.  In 1987 she and her husband, Bill Lee, began traveling from county to county in the Western United States doing research on a number of family names, OTT among them.  It soon became evident  that material on the OTTs was so voluminous that they confined their research on this name to LaVonne's home territory of Indiana.  Even so, an unbelievable amount of information was gathered. Wishing to share this information with others who are interested in the history of OTTs, the Lee's have prepared this book and are now offering it to interested persons.

The OTTs were among the earliest settlers in Ohio and Indiana, settling in Preble County, Ohio, as early as 1805 and in Northern Indiana in the 1830s. 200 years and eight generations later descendants of these early settlers can still be found in Ohio and Indiana, as well as throughout the United States. 

Included in the book are thumbnail sketches of nearly 1600 public records from various Indiana counties with the highest concentration of OTT records being in DuBois, Elkhart, Huntington,  Kosciusko,  Lake,  Noble,  Parke,  Wabash,  Wayne and Whitley counties.   Records searched include marriages, civil and criminal court cases, probates, births, deaths and military discharge recordings.  The book also has sections with cemetery inscriptions, directory listings and interesting articles from newspapers and local histories. Every name in the book is indexed - more than 6000 names involved with the OTTs including over 1900 OTTs - A MUST FOR ANY INDIANA OTT RESEARCHER.

Be sure to inform other OTT researchers who would like to benefit from this easy to use, informative book, and keep in mind that OTT in Indiana would make an outstanding gift for any OTT family tree researcher.

The cost of OTT in Indiana  is $27.95, including shipping and handling.




                                                                                                                      BILL and LaVONNE LEE

Introduction to

OTT in Indiana

Strange as it may seem, two OTT sisters were both great-great-great grandmothers to LaVonne.  Sally OTT (16 May 1787-7 Dec 1864) and Catherine OTT (29 Apr 1790-6 Jun 1866) were daughters of Franz Jacob OTT (11 May 1754-25 Apr 1821) and Catharine NEAD (27 Jul 1759-6 May 1829).  The parents died and are buried in Preble County, Ohio, but a good many of their descendants migrated into LaVonne's home territory of Northern Indiana to Elkhart, Huntington, Kosciusko, Noble, Wabash and Whitley counties.

Sally OTT married Abraham HAPNER, a marriage that two generations later resulted in one of LaVonne's great grandfathers, George HAPNER.  The other side is a bit harder to follow.  Catherine OTT married Michael PRICE who had a daughter, Anna PRICE.  She was the first wife of Baltzer JUDAY, a marriage that produced one of LaVonne's great grandmothers, Matilda JUDAY, who married the George HAPNER mentioned above. Abraham and Sally (OTT) HAPNER lived their entire adult lives in Preble County, Ohio, died and were buried there, although their descendants moved on to Elkhart County, Indiana. Michael and Catherine (OTT) PRICE moved to Elkhart County early, died and are buried in Jackson Cemetery there.

The surnames OTT, HAPNER, JUDAY, PRICE, ROOKSTOOL and BUTT are all prevalent in early Preble County history, as well as Northern Indiana history, and in LaVonne's genealogy.  In 1987 LaVonne, and her husband, Bill Lee, began traveling from county to county throughout the Western United States, doing research on a number of family names, OTT, JUDAY and HAPNER among them.  The result of this research has evolved into this book,
HAPNER in the West, JUDAY and JUDY in the Pacific Northwest, JUDAY and JUDY in Indiana, plus nearly twenty similar books on our family names. Our books can be found in many libraries and may be purchased from us, using information found on our website:

We plan on publishing the results of more of our research findings from over 800 county courthouses in the Western United States in the future, as time permits.

Time and resources did not allow us to search the records in all of Indiana's 92 counties.  The counties where we did perform extensive searches were Brown, Carroll, Dubois, Elkhart, Fountain, Henry, Huntington, Kosciusko, Lake, Noble, Parke, Vermillion, Wabash, Warren, Wayne and Whitley.  There are other counties included in the book, but information on those counties came mostly from sources found in libraries instead of from an extensive search of courthouse records.  The county records we concentrated on most were marriages, civil and criminal court cases, probates, births, deaths and military discharge recordings. Conspicuously absent from this list are land records.  Even though we recognize the genealogical value of these records, we did not include land records in the book because of the volume of this type record.  We also did not include court records from any of the lower courts.  Only cases from the Circuit and Superior courts are included.  Records in city courts and lower county courts are too voluminous and contain such things as minor (and some not so minor) traffic violations.  Not only does searching these records take an inordinate amount of time and book space, the maintenance of these records is inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another, and are often not available.  However, the presence of OTTs in a particular area can be determined from the records we have included, and further research in a specific area can be performed if one desires.

Besides the Northern Indiana counties mentioned above in the first paragraph we found a concentration of OTTs in four other areas.  In Parke County there was a prominent OTT family that settled there in the mid-nineteenth century.  This family operated a prosperous hardware store on the Square in Rockville, and included in its members was a doctor and a pharmacist.  We can find no relationship of this family and those most prevalent in this book, and they all seem to have disappeared from the area before the last half of the twentieth century.  There also was a family of OTTs in DuBois County during the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Once again, they seem to have disappeared from the area, and there is no obvious connection with their namesakes from the northern counties.  A larger concentration of OTTs appeared in Lake County, and seem to be there to this date.  The majority of these seem to be of recent European extraction, and with the exception of scattered incidences, seem to have no obvious connection with LaVonne's cousins.  The fourth area is Wayne and Henry counties that is no more than a spillover from neighboring Preble County.  It is in this area that we found most of the UTTs, which may well be an entirely different family.

The book is divided into four main sections.  The first section contains selected articles from local histories and newspapers (mostly obituaries). These are copied verbatim, except in a few instances where we felt compelled to correct atrocious grammar (ours isn't that perfect either, but occasionally we had to interfere) or obvious errors in content.  These articles are presented chronologically by date of publication.  A good many family connections and a great deal of family and local history can be found in these articles. At the end of this first section is a list of tombstone inscriptions for OTT and some related families from cemeteries in the surrounding areas.  We have visited most of these cemeteries at one time or the other, and personally observed a good number of the inscriptions, but most of those shown came from publications found in libraries, and published by local genealogists who have walked the various cemeteries.
The second section contains abstracts of county records from each county where we did research, along with some entries from a few counties that were found in libraries.  This section is in order alphabetically by county.  Within each county we have presented marriage records first, civil and criminal court records next, followed by probate records, then birth records, death records, and finally, military discharge recordings. Each group is in chronological order by date of occurrence or date of recording.  On occasion you will discover the same person married two or more times in the marriage records, then later in the book, the person's divorce in the court records.  Then, still later in the book, his or her birth record.  Obviously, the birth occurred first, and the divorce actually happened between the two marriages that appeared earlier, but appears afterward because of the grouping of the records.

The next section in the book contains directory information - street address and phone number of OTTs living in Indiana.  We make no claim that these names include every OTT living in the state, or that the names, addresses or phone numbers are current.  We only hope that the listings, which were taken from on the internet, are relaatively accurate.  This section is presented alphabetically by name within city.

The last section in the book is the full-name index. Our index is, literally, an every name index, and then some.  Every person in the book is indexed, including both the married name and pre-married name for brides, making the assumption that the bride has followed the old-fashion custom of taking the husband's surname.  We have also indexed the maiden and married names of those women where both names are obvious.  Some examples - Terry Lee LEWIS married Mary Ann OTT.  We have indexed Mary Ann under both LEWIS and OTT.  George W OTT married Dora L EPPERT. Dora L is indexed under both OTT and EPPERT. George W OTT's parents were Jacob OTT and Sarah SHULL. Sarah is indexed under both SHULL and OTT.

A few words need to be said about research at county courthouses.  First, a researcher is totally at the mercy of the personnel working in the various courthouses.  Some counties have personnel who are both knowledgeable and helpful, while other counties have personnel who are neither.  The norm is somewhere between these two extremes.  We have been in courthouses that were so enjoyable that we hated to leave, and in others where we were sorry we ever went.  Research of our public records is a challenge!  Secondly, the quality and content of county records vary widely from one jurisdiction to another and also over time.  In general, the counties included in this book had reasonably good records, but a marked difference can be seen in the content of marriage records from the earlier times to more recent times.  In a few cases we were denied access to records, some for valid legal reasons, others because of misinterpretation of a law or clerk indifference, or sometimes because the record in question could not be found.  These are indicated in the book.

We have made every effort to report the data as we saw it.  However, some of the source material is sometimes in error, and other times difficult to interpret.  In some instances the same name is spelled differently on the same form, for instance JUDAY and JUDY. It's easy to write JUDY for JUDAY when the person giving a clerk information says JUDY, and most of the JUDAYs pronounce their name JUDY. In some cases it was obvious to us that the record said JUDY when it should have said JUDAY, or HEPNER when it should have been HAPNER, but in most instances, we are reporting what we saw, NOT what we THOUGHT it should be.  The names OTT and UTT fit this category. There are times when the record said UTT when we knew it was supposed to be OTT.  There are lots of other times when we didn't know whether it should be OTT or UTT, so in all cases we have reported what we saw.

There are also times where we have introduced errors in transcription of the data, although we have attempted to minimize this type error.  Some of the records list a great deal of information, others very little.  We have attempted to report all the information contained in the original records.  Some of the court records are subject to individual interpretation.  We are not attorneys, and have only attempted to summarize the content of the court cases. Any individual interested in more detail on any of these cases may find the case files available to the public(?) at the indicated county courthouse by requesting the specified case number.

As mentioned above, we have done a great deal of research on family names that have a connection to LaVonne's family.  The names on her mother's side of the family, and consequently, those related to the OTTs are HAPNER, JUDAY and HOSHAW.  We have a great deal of information on these names and some books on the JUDAY, JUDY, HAPNER, HOSHAW and HUSHAW names are now available.  We are currently working on more similar books.  Anyone interested in these names should not hesitate to let us know and we will keep you informed of our progress on these exciting projects.  In the meantime, we thank you for your interest in our publications. Please let others know about us and our work.

                                                                                       Bill and LaVonne Lee
                                                                                       Harlingen TX
                                                                                       June 2006

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