Oertli – Surname Saturday

By Don Taylor

Name Origin

Ancestry indicates that the surname Oertli is a Swiss-German variant of Örtel, and that is a variant form of Ertel. Ertel is a South German name from Old Hi German ort, meaning ‘point (of a sword or lance).’ Forebears confirms the name  comes from “point of the sword.”


Forebears indicates there are only about 1,171 people in the world with the Oertli surname. Over half of them, 666, live in Switzerland, and most of the rest live in the United States. In the US, more Oertli’s live in Texas than any other state.

Direct Oertli Ancestors

None of my wife’s direct Oertli ancestors immigrated to the United States. However, her 3rd great-grandmother, Anna Maria Oertli, married Bernhart Trümpi and came to the US as a Trümpi sometime before 1880. There are two lines of Oertli’s in my wife’s ancestors. The second line begins with Barbara Oertli who married Joachim Heinrich Kok (Koch) in 1865 in Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland. Their daughter, Bertha, married Bernhart’s son, Bernhard Trümpi.

    • 3rd Great-Grandmother: Anna Maria Oertli (1823-1896)
    • 4th Great-Grandfather: Fridolin Oertli (1779-1827)
    • 5th Great-Grandfather: Othmar Oertli (1745-1819)
    • 3rd Great-Grandmother: Barbara Oertli (1825-1904)
    • 4th Great-Grandfather: Othmar Oertli (1801-1825)
    • 5th Great-Grandfather: Johannes Oertli (1773-1837)

With two Oertli families both living in Canton Glarus, Switzerland, it is likely the two families are related, but I have not found a relationship between the two families yet.

Direct Oertli Descendants

Othmar Oertli (1745-1819) married Anna Maria Frueler in 1767 in Glarus, Switzerland. Benjamin Darling in 1708.  My records have identified 122 direct-line descendants of Othmar and Anna Marie.

Johannes Oertli married Elizabeth on 21 February 1802 in Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland. My records have identified 88 direct-line descendants of Johannes and Elizabeth.[i]

I have not independently researched any of the Oertli ancestors’ lives.[ii] As such, I consider all Oertli ancestors as “tentative.”

Famous Oertli’s

    • Brigitte Oertli is a Swiss alpine skier born in Egg, Switzerland, in 1962. She won silver medals in Downhill and Alpine Combined during the 1988 Winter Olympics and is a four-time Women’s Alpine combination World Cup winner[iii].
    • Heinz Oertli founded Oertli Switzerland, a manufacturer of surgical instruments used in eye surgery[iv].
    • Minor planet 16167 Oertli was named for the 2002 Intel Science Talent Search finalist, Nichole Anne Oertli.[v]



[i] Internet: Don Taylor Genealogy – “Darling: The Ancestors of the Darling & Huber Family Line” http://dontaylorgenealogy.com/blog-page_3/.

[ii] Most of the tentative Oertli ancestors I have are based upon the work of Patrick A. Wild from Pedigree Chart for Shirley Elizabeth Darling:  Following the Trümpy line in Glarus (2021).

[iii] Internet: Wikipedia – Brigitte Oertli – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigitte_Oertli

[iv] Internet: Oertli Instruments – The Historical Development of Oertli. https://www.oertli-instruments.com/en/about-oertli/success-story

[v] Internet: Wikipedia – Meanings of Minor Planet Names: 1601-1700. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meanings_of_minor_planet_names:_16001%E2%80%9317000#167

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