Everyone in the Oesterling clan has a number. I always thought it was a weird German thing, that we quickly know our place in the family by the number we held. I’m sure this system came about because this line of the family was so large and it was hard to remember who belonged where. The number serves as a kind of DNA library index card.
So, we all have a number, according to our place in the family. For instance, my 3rd Great-Grandfather, Adam Oesterling, has a number of 1-7, which means that Adam was the seventh son of the first son/generation. The first number 1 always stands for Johannes/John Oesterling, the original Oesterling of our branch of the clan.
We do not find it strange that not only does every Oesterling know their number, but that most Oesterlings will introduce themselves to another family member by both their name and their number. If you can rattle off your family number, you are immediately accepted into the clan.
And yes, we also don’t find it strange that some of us are still meeting each other for the first time. The family is just that big.
My family number is 1-7-6-1-2-1-1. What’s yours? :)