This surname of BURKHALTER is a German, Dutch, Flemish and English status name for a freeman of a town, especially one who was a member of its governing council. It is a derivative of the Middle German word BURG (fortified town). In England it is found as a surname from the 13th century onwards. The usual English term was Burgess. The name also occurs as a Jewish surname, but the reasons for its adoption are uncertain. The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The name has many variant spellings which include De BURGER, BORGER, BURGHER, BURKER, BURGERS, BORGER, BURKHOLDER and BURKHALTER. A John Rupp BURKHOLDER, was born in West Earl township, Pennsylvannia, on January 25th 1856. He was educated in the local public schools. Leaving school at sixteen, he entered his father's flour mill, where he remained until 1880. In 1892 he went to Lancaster County and entered into partnership with a Mr. Keller in the wholesale grain business, trading under the name of H. K. Keller and Co. In 1895 this partnership dissolved, and Mr BURKHOLDER opened an office in the Northern National Bank Building. Mr BURKHOLDER was married in 1883 to Miss Annie Summy, and to this union was one child Guy. Mr BURKHOLDER was of Mennonite descent and politically was a Republican. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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