Burkhalten, CH Next

Romaine Stauffer
2011 July

Burkhalten, 3418 Rüegsbach, Switzerland

The Burkhalten farm in the Emmenthal Valley was founded and named by the monks in the monastery in Trub. They also were instrumental in building the "Burkhalter Kirche" in nearby Rüegsbach around 1125. Although Rüesgbach had no castle, Burkhalten means "castle slope." A "burg" (castle) is a refuge or hiding place (verbergen, to hide; verborgen, hidden). "Halde" is the German word for slope.

The Burkhalter name was derived from the family who lived on the Burkhalten farm. According to the unwritten law in the Emmental Valley, the youngest son inherited the family farm and the other sons moved to other farms nearby. but continued to be called by the family name. In this case, they carried the name of Burkhalter, and it was spread throughout the valley.

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The Burkhalten farm is still in operation and owned by the Pfister family. The oldest existing house was built in 1750, and a larger one was built in 1900.

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Burkhalter Kirche


1. Romaine Stauffer, "Bishop Christian Burkholder and His Swiss Family" in Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society, 2011 Jul). See also the Addenda.

1a. Romaine Stauffer, "Bishop Christian Burkholder and His Swiss Family Addenda," www.dgatx.com/family.../2011/07-cbx/hs.html (July 2011). Addenda for the original article in Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage (July 2011).

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