This surname of BURKART was originally derived from the Old English word 'burgheard' a name meaning fortress-hard. The name was brought to England by the Normans in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was a popular personal name during the Middle Ages throughout Europe, including Germany, Holland. France and Denmark. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property.
Early records of the name mention BURKARD (without surname) who was recorded in the year 1190 in County Essex. Gaufridus depos Bocardi who was documented in the year 1150 in London and Reginald filius Burchardi was recorded in 1200 in County Suffolk. Ralph Burkett of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
The French name of Bouchard is first recorded in Haute Savoie in the early 18th century. A certain Jean-Antoine Bouchard went from there to Pondicherry in India in 1757, and in about 1788 he or his son Maurice changed their family name to La Bouchardiere and the family became well established in British India. There does not seem to be any direct connection with either of the places called La Bouchardiere in Normandy. The name has many variant spellings which include Buchard, Burghard and Burkett.
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