Numerous findings prove that the area around Haseluenne was already populated in the early stone age (4000 - 2000 BC). Tombs built of huge stones testify of these times. Therefore, we can assume that also the area of Eltern was populated at that time. However, it is not proven by reliable evidence.
Small Chapel in Eltern
According to Abels the name Eltern comes from the syllables el, eli and ter, dere. El and eli are determinatives and indicate a tree; either elder or alder. While there probably grew many alders in the marshy Ems-area it would not have been a suitable name to distinguish the village from other places. Therefore, it is supposed that the name stems from the unusual elder. Ter, dere is an Indo-Germanic word and means tree while deriun stands for growing or wood. Around 1000 Eltern was called Elidrun or Elderun and from 1276 Eltern. Thus, freely translated Eltern means settlement at the elder wood. Other scientists deduce the names of villages from rivers or lakes. Therefore, an exact determination of the name Eltern is not possible. Most probably, the ancestors of Eltern's inhabitants belonged to the Amsivarier tribe who occupied the Ems- and Hase-area during the Roman Empire. During the times of Charlemagne (742-814) the region was christianised and the monastery in Meppen was founded. In 834 Charlemagne's successor emperor Ludwig the Pious gave Eltern to the convent Corvey. Thereby, the convent became the largest landowner between the rivers Ems and Hunte. To facilitate the administration of the convey's goods, so called principal estates were founded. One principal estate was located in Andrup, another in Lotten. Farmers had to deliver their tributes to these estates. Eltern is mentioned in the registers documenting these tributes. According to one of these registers from 1107, Eltern had to contribute 42 bushels of rye, 7 bushels of oat and 10 bushels of barley. One bushel equals a measure of capacity of 20 kg. The inhabitants' names were not mentioned in these registers. Only in 1441 an inhabitant is mentioned the first time. On December 12, Hennynges Brummer sold a pension of one "malter" (= 95-100kg) rye to Konrad Schroders for a loan of 14 Rhenish Guilders. The contract, stating that the pension has to be paid every year on St. Michael's Day, was signed in the presence of judge Hermen Snuck in Haseluenne.
EThere is scarce documentation available for the time that followed. It seems that Eltern was strongly affected by the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648). Until 1622, the area stayed unaffected by any troubles. Soldiers from Mansfeld and afterwards imperial troupes behaved barbarously. "Soldiers from Mansfeld and afterwards imperial troupes destroyed and burnt down houses,..., lands can not be rent out anymore and parcels are ravaged." Not only Haseluenne, but also its surroundings were affected. Farmers were impoverished and houses became derelict. One farmer from Eltern was so poor that his sons did not want to accept the inheritance.
It took a long time until the region recovered from the effects of the Thirty Years' War. Between 1650 and 1661, then-bishop of Osnabrueck Franz Wilhelm von Wartenburg surveyed his diocese about their believe. Primarily, he wanted to receive an overview about the number of communicants and non-communicants in his bishopric in order to evaluate the confessional situation. The result, however, was a nearly complete population register. According to this register, in 1652 Eltern had 44 persons older than 14 years living in twelve families. Approximately 100 years later another register listing the villages' inhabitants was set up. This register stated that there lived 115 inhabitants in Eltern in 1749. Among them were 47 children younger than 14 years of age. There were 19 families: 9 were sole heirs (cultivators) and 10 Heuerleute (landless cottagers). Today's family names already existed in these registers and also in the tax lists of the following centuries. Furthermore, registers show that Eltern had a pure agricultural structure which only changed today. Regarding the school's chronicle from 1882, Eltern's first schoolhouse was already built in 1732. It was located at the place where the Heuermann (landless cottager) of the sole heir Cordes lived. Between 1830 and 1840 another school was constructed only 100 meters farther. Later, also this building became obsolete and was knocked down. On July 6, 1930 a new schoolhouse was opened which was used for education until its closing on September 9, 1971. Changes in the school system led to the abolishment of the small schools in the villages. Eltern's children now went to schools in Haseluenne. The former schoolhouse was adapted and serves until today as a kindergarten.
It is also important to mention that in the same century several residents of Eltern quested for happiness in foreign countries. They emigrated to Hungary, but returned later. At the same time others migrated to the United States. Historians are not sure if emigration took place due to economic or political reasons.
The rule of Napoleon led to the liberalisation of farmers. Making a ransom payment they could receive liberty in 1854. At the same time, the redistribution of jointly used lands led to tedious negotiations.
Eltern's economic situation improved significantly in 1905 when it was connected to Haseluenne's railway system. An unmanned train stop was established in Eltern; some time later, however, it was closed down due to insufficient traffic. Nevertheless, agriculture still played a dominant role. Thus, new farmhouses were built on the Elterner Field between 1920 and 1934.
Agriculture lost its dominant position after the Second World War. In 1807 Eltern had 111 inhabitants, 1858 and 1861 135 and 137 respectively. In 1882 there were 120 inhabitants in 21 households. 10 of them were sole heirs, 3 planters and 8 Heuerleute (landless cottagers). Consequently, the whole population was still working in the agricultural sector. Due to the mechanisation of the agriculture, several farms closed down. Work was found in nearby industrial areas like Kraska (1960-62). Population figures increased due to the creation of new residential areas like the "Waldsiedlung" (meaning settlement in the forest; this area was later called Bramland). While Eltern had 193 inhabitants in 1939, this number grew to 272 in 1961 and reached 480 in 1965. Refugees and displaced persons had to be integrated into the society.
Today Eltern has 764 inhabitants and the current mayor is called Stefan Rolfers.
Extremely important was the expansion and straightening of the federal road 213 in 1963/64 because until then the street made a bend around the village. Due to the relocation of the B 213 several farms were resettled. Their owners moved to the Elterner Field. More or less at the same time (from 1959) the land consolidation took place.