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Ostfriesland Project Home Page

The Ostfriesland Project is open to all persons who believe their ancestors lived in Ostfriesland irrespective of surname.    Those who are participating with a FTDNA surname project may join this geographic project at no additional cost via their personal page.   Similarly, those who want to start their DNA exploration with this geographic project may also join two surname projects within the same cost of DNA testing via FTDNA.  It is generally recommended that those seeking matches across surnames should test at the yDNA-37 level or higher.   Those who have had DNA tested by providers other than FTDNA may also join by contacting the administrators identified below.


Ostfriesland (East Frisia) is a coastal region in the northwest of Germany. It connects Western Frisia in the Netherlands with the district of Nordfriesland in Schleswig-Holstein all of which belong to the historic and geographic Frisia. Ostfriesland consists of the districts of Aurich, Leer, Wittmund as well as of the city of Emden..

The geographical region of East Frisia was inhabited in Paleolithic times by reindeer hunters of the Hamburg culture. The East Frisian population of later times is based on a mixture of Frisian and Saxon elements. At one time a Frisian kingdom united the whole area from present-day West Frisia (the Dutch provinces of Friesland and Groningen and part of North Holland throughout East Frisia up to the river Weser.

In 1806 East Frisia was annexed by the Napoleonic Kingdom of Holland and later became part of the French Empire. The Emperor Napoleon undertook great reforms of Frisian society including decreeing a change from the ancient Frisian naming system by introducing “permanent” family surnames in 1811.

This DNA project has a goal of providing clues to identify ancestors who chose different surnames or to provide evidence of the connection between ancestors in that small region who have the same surname but are not yet connected by documentation.

An example is the Kleen surname of Arle/Hage area wherein 6 different lines have been identified dating back to the early 1700’s. While all were from that very small area, to date, no documentation has linked the families. Detailed information on those lines as an example can be found at  Included is a list of associated surnames.

Participants in this project should consider connecting with the Ostfriesen List at RootsWeb

and joining the Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America.(OGSA)




Click here to order a DNA test in the Ostfriesland project.






Norman Hensley
Terry Barton

Group admins

Project Administrators