My Mennonite Oesch ancestors were from just west of the A/L region in what is now western Germany. They migrated in 1820 to PA (staying there long enough to get wagons and oxen) and then settled around Kitchner and Waterloo, ONT, Canada. My GGgrandfather, Christian Oesch, migrated to Iowa in 1850 and then finally settled in Cass Co, MO in the 1870's. The Mennonite history of our family says that when the Mennonites were kicked out of Switzerland, the settled in what is now western Germany and the Alsacce region. Those in the Alsace region dropped the "O" in the name because it was easier to pronouce. I have distant American cousins who have done the same. And there are many more "Esches" than "Oesches". FYI--Oesch is the German word for "ash" as in ash tree. My earliest findings have the family orginating in the Canton Bern in Switzerland (1600-1700's).
Mary Oesch Linenschmidt
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