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About the study
This study aims to discover as much as possible about the family history and origins of the Ostridge surname.
It is not confined to the past but tries to keep up to date with the geographical spread and number of present-day Ostridges. Lines of descent for all English and Australian holders of the name have been produced.
Ostridge, Ostrich and Estridge are registered variants of the name. Ostrick/Astrick may be a northern version of the name but is not part of this study. McOstrich has a very different origin and, again, is not studied.
Not all surname dictionaries mention Ostridge but those that do will say that the name comes from ostricer - a falconer. This definition is taken from the work of P H Reaney who published the authoritative Dictionary of Surnames in 1958 (since updated). Modern work has cast doubt on some of Reaney's connections of middle English bynames to modern surnames. Certainly, the ostricer attribution seems tenuous.
However, Reaney also tentatively suggested that the Anglo-Saxon name Osric may have given rise to the surname Ostridge. This does appear more likely - it may be compared with the name Uhtric becoming Otridge.
In 1385 there is mention of a pardon for Andrew van Ostrich of Almain (Germany/Holland). This illustrates another point of origin: in the US Ostridge (with some exceptions) is an anglicization of a German name - Ostreich/Ostrich.
Ostridge seems established as an heritable surname by 1342 and appears with regularity in 15th century London.
In the UK 1881 census there were about 60 Ostridges out of a population of just under 26 million. By 1901 the number had risen to nearly 80 (pop. 32 million). The 2002 electoral roll listed 149 Ostridges.
Births in the UK substantially outnumber deaths. In the 10 years between 1994 and 2004 there were 45 births to 22 deaths.
The 1930 US census listed only 12 Ostridges but that number has grown considerably with emigration from Canada and England. There are between 20 and 30 Ostridges in Australia, 26 listed in the Canadian telephone directory, and none in New Zealand or South Africa.
Distribution of the name
Originally a southern English surname, there are now large clusters in Cumbria and Essex. Smaller groups live in Lincolnshire, Cheshire and Haverfordwest. There are many Ostridges in Kent and the Reading area.
The Ostridges in Australia are relatively recent migrants and descend from two Reading families.
In Canada there is a cluster on Prince Edward Island and, in the United States, at least one family are descendants of a Berkshire family.