Here you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about the OFS and our Olin family.
If you have additional comments or questions, please contact us.
- Olin Origins
- Questions about the OFS
- Who can become a member of the OFS?
- How do I join the OFS?
- How much does it cost to join?
- What benefits are there for joining the OFS?
- Can the OFS help me if I am an Olin not descended from John Olin and Susannah Spencer?
- Does the OFS have a DNA project?
- Does the OFS have a presence on Ancestry.com?
- Does the OFS have a presence on Facebook?
We do not know with any certainty, but there are several theories. In his 1996 book 300 Years of Joseph Olin and His Descendants, Warren Olin devoted several chapters to the question.
Perhaps the most widely held view is that John Olin was pressed on board a man-of-war off the coast of Wales and then jumped ship in America. This story includes many variations. For instance, some take it to mean that he was from Wales, while others suggest that Wales was simply where he happened to be when he was abducted. Some have him changing his name from Llewellyn, presumably descended from the 13th-century Welsh prince of that name, while others view Olin as his original and only name. During his research, Warren found little evidence to support a theory of Welsh origin.
Other potential points of origin discussed in the book include France, where several variations of the Olin name are well-recognized, and Scandinavia, where the Olin name is common.
While writing his book, Warren found another intriguing possibility. It had long been maintained that there were no Olins in England at the time that John Olin was first making his appearance in America. One of Warren's contacts in England discovered dozens of Olins living just north of London before 1700. That was an area where the Spencer family was known to reside. (John Olin married Susannah Spencer.) Interestingly, those Olin names included spelling variations that matched those found in France. Warren now theorizes that the Olin name originated in France, from where it migrated to England, Scandinavia, and elsewhere, before ultimately arriving in America.
However, the bottom line remains that we still do not know where John Olin originated.
My Olin ancestors came to America from Sweden (or Ireland or ...). Are we related to John Olin and Susannah Spencer?
Most Swedish Olins in America arrived here in the 1800's. John and Susannah were here around 1700. Likewise, Olins from other countries have come to America well after John and Susannah. Although these other Olin lines are not descendants of John and Susannah, there is certainly a possibility that they share a common ancestor. Unfortunately, establishing such connections depends on first determining where John originally came from.
We have started a book on Olins not descended from John and Susannah. Currently, it contains information about some Jewish lines.
Questions about the OFS
The Olin Family Society was created for the descendants of John Olin and Susannah Spencer. When you apply for access to this website, include your descendancy from one of their children (Joseph, John, Henry, or Eleanor).
If you can't yet prove you are a descendant but feel there is a strong reason to suspect that you are—then apply for membership and put as much as you know into the comments. In most cases, we can help you make the connection based on our extensive Olin database. Or contact our genealogist directly.
Note: We do accept adoptees and spouses of Olins who have been verified as descendants.
To join, fill out and submit a Membership Request Form. Be sure to complete section 3 as fully as possible. The Genealogist will contact you when your application has been accepted.
Membership is free and includes access to current and past issues of our newsletter, The OLINews.
There are several benefits, including:
- Access to our online genealogical resources, including help from our genealogist and historian. In addition, many members of the OFS are intimately familiar with their own branches and may be willing to help you sort your line out.
- Reunion notices are published on our website. Besides local reunions, this includes our International reunion held every 5 years.
- The OFS keeps an extensive database of our family and this is a good opportunity to share your research and keep it safe.
In the process of researching our own Olins, we do run across other lines as well as receive queries. Although the odds are slim that we'll be able to help you, feel free to contact our genealogist.
Yes! We have both a Y-DNA and a surname project on FamilyTreeDNA. We currently have direct male line descendants of John and Joseph. We would like very much to include Henry Olin's male descendants. As for the surname project, anyone in the family is welcome to join regardless of OFS membership.
Yes, we do maintain a tree for the first 5 generations on Ancestry. If you are an Ancestry customer, you can find our tree here, or type "Olin Family Society" in the search box.
In 2019 we discontinued our Facebook account in the interest of protecting the privacy of our members. Simultaneously, one of our members created a non-OFS-affiliated Facebook group. Also, we do have a MeWe account that was started in 2019 and we are looking for more participation there.