Ossenbruch / Ossenbroich

This ancestral story starts in c.1200 with Daniel v. Ossenbroich (or Ossenbruch).

Many of the family names in the scroll on the Welcome page are his descendants.

Title: 't Huys Ossenbroek 1746. J. de Beyer (artist) Paul van Liender (engraver).
From the book: "Het verheerlykt Kleefschland" (The glorious land of Cleves).
This is a scan of an original engraving we own.

The "of and to" (van en tot) Ossenbroichs were an old noble family and were already mentioned in documents in 1242. They had their ancestral country estate and castle "Ossenbroich" (enlarge pic on the left) situated in the Lower Rhine region of Cleves, what is now Germany.

Ossenbroich (or also written as Ossenbruch) means "Oxen pasture" and the word "broich" (German: Bruch- oder Sumpf-Landschaft) refers to a marshy area, which served as a cattle pasture, here: an oxen pasture. The "i" in "broich" is not pronounced and the preceding vowel "o" is lengthened.

At that time there were no borders describing country or land areas, which we now know as Holland and Germany. The land was ruled by small fiefdoms in a feudal society. The Ossenbruch lords -under the rule of the Duke of Cleves- controlled such a fiefdom to which the estates of Nedenoy near Cleves and Nyenhove paid their levies. They also derived income from their windmill on which they ground their own and others' grain. Their windmill was already described in 1350. Read here.

In Europa gab es bereits im 12. Jahrhundert Windm hlen. Die Windm hlen wurden durch die Kreuzritter nach Europa, m glich auch in unserer Gegend, importiert. Der erste Nachweis einer Windm hle im Raum Moyland stammt aus dem Jahr 1350.
Josef J rissen in "Chronik der Gemeinde Bedburg-Hau": "Graf Johann von Kleve machte sie dem Rittergeschlecht von Ossenbroek zum Geschenk und sie geh rte zu Till." Sie stand an der Bienenstra e (Schloss Ossenbroek). Es gibt auch einen Hinweis auf eine fr he Wasserm hle des Stiftes Bedburg in Hasselt 1318.
From: Nachrichten-Community f r Bedburg-Hau.

The moated Castle
The van Ossenbruch family lived here from before the first records in the 1300s until it was demolished in the 1800s. The first, still existing, document dates from 1378 and describes the castle, windmill and estate in the hands of Geryt van Ossenbroic. In addition there are, in chronological order, another 33 deeds going into the 18th century. The last one is from 2 March 1756 to Conrad Friedrich Stephan v. Ossenbruch, lieutenant.
It is exceptional that all these documents have survived over all these centuries. They are kept in the Landesarchiv in Duisburg.

Slide 1 of 3. Detail of map of 1645 by Blaeu. Click gray arrow on the right for next slide.
View 3 map details of that time, which show the Ossenbroeck (Ossenbruch, Ossenbroick) estate.

Slide 1 of 6
Ossenbroich is a knight's residence in the Cleves jurisdiction of Till (a town close to Cleves). The described family carried -in red- a silver ox head, which was repeated on the helmet (in later times ascending from a golden crown). In 1242 Daniel de Ossenbroich (or von Ossenbruch) was in the Count of Cleves' entourage. Click on the above gray arrow for next slide.
Slide 6 of 6.
This crest was hand-embroidered.

Their coat of arms is described in several very old documents and seals were used to sign and endorse deeds, charters and certificates. View slideshow of records, seals and tombstones under pic. on the right.

The Ossenbruchs were part of the County of Cleves Government Council (which later included the counties of Zutphen, Gulik, Berg and Guelders), which also seated other noble family members as: van Pallandt, van Bueren, van Brienen, Schimmelpenninck, van Culemborg, van Bronckhorst, van Wylich, van Steenhuis, van Heeswijck etc. etc.

The van Ossenbruchs' descendants married into all of the above families and others. As was the custom, they arranged marriages between their own and other noble families' children, which included large dowries and formalized contracts. There are several of those nuptials documented on this website, including one very elaborate contract between Gerit van Osenbrueck and Yda van Buren in 1455.

The Ossenbruchs gradually expanded and sometimes migrated to:

After 1600
At this time, the main heir and dominant person in the family is Johan v. Ossenbroich (-bruch): Lord of Haen, Curtenbach and Blitterswick (near Venlo). He was Ambtman of Grevenbroich and Stallmeister Julich (Gulik).
Johan was also a Dutch knight i.e. member of the "ridderschap van het Overkwartier van Gelder 1592".
He had married:

After 1700
Caspar's descendants seem to fizzle out after. At least we have not been able to find more than 3 v. O. generations. Descendants with other last names are living today!

We have been more successful in tracing the v. O. descendants of Caspar's brother Johan, but gaps still exist. A large segment develops around Bochum (Bärendorff and Weitmar).

Several Ossenbruchs have leading position in the Prussian army (e.g. General-major).

The Ossenbruch's castle was in bad shape and had been sold in 1766 by Frederick the Great (1712-1786), King of (the new) Prussia, to Adriaan Steengracht from Zeeland.

After 1800
The moated castle was demolished in the early-mid 1800s.

We have only been able to find a handful of Ossenbruch descendants in Germany at this time:

After 1900
The moated castle was long gone, but there are still many reminders of the manor today (moat, dug out areas etc.). In 1919 there was still a swinery and a barn. Read more about the history here (in German).

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