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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German

Burkholder is a local name from the German region of Westphalia. Local names and other types of hereditary surnames began to be used in Germany after the 12th century. They were derived from the name of the place where the original bearer of the name lived. Sometimes local names bear the prefix "von", meaning "of" or "from". This was originally an indication of land-ownership, and was sometimes a mark of aristocracy. The family originally lived near a beech grove which is derived from the Old German word buchholz, which means beech grove, and is popular throughout Germany. The name Burkholder is the name of numerous villages in the German states.


The surname Burkholder was first found in Westphalia, where this family became a prominent contributor to the development of the district from ancient times.

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Burkholder include Bocholtz, Bockoltz, Bokoltz, Bokkoltz, Bocholtz, Bocholts, Bockolts, Bokkolts, Burkholtz, Burkoltz, Burckholtz, Burkoltz, Burgholtz, Burgholtz, Bocoltz, Burkolt, Burkoltz, Burkolts, Bocholz, Buchholtz, Bochholtz, Buchholtz, Bucholz, Bockholt, Bockhold, Bockholdz, Bocholte, Bokholdz, Bochheldt and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Burkholder research. Another 165 words (12 lines of text) covering the year 1803 is included under the topic Early Burkholder History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Burkholder Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


After 1650, thousands of German settlers came to North America to escape the religious persecution and poverty that wracked Europe and to make the most of the opportunity to own their own land in a new country. They settled across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California, and in Canada in Ontario and on the fertile plains of the prairie provinces. Among them:

Burkholder Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Martin Burkholder, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1760
  • Peter Burkholder, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Ulrich Burkholder, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1763

Burkholder Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Abraham Burkholder, who landed in Mississippi in 1860

Burkholder Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Christian Burkholder, who arrived in Canada in 1832


  • James B. Burkholder (1918-2006), former United States Army officer
  • Walter H. Burkholder, American plant pathologist
  • Maxwell Henry Wolf "Max" Burkholder (b. 1997), American child actor
  • Donald Burkholder (b. 1927), American mathematician and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Dave Burkholder, Canadian college ice hockey coach
  • Mabel Grace Burkholder (1881-1973), Canadian writer and historian


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  1. Jones, Henry Z. Palatine Families of New York 2 Volumes. Rockland, ME: Picton Press, 2001. Print. (ISBN 978-0961388829).
  2. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  3. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  4. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  8. Gottschald, Max. Deutsche Namenkunde unsere Familiennamen nach ihrer Entstehung und Bedeutung. München: J.F. Lehmanns Verlag, 1932. Print.
  9. Strassburger, Ralph B. Pennsylvania German Pioneers The Original Lists of Arrivals in the Port of Philadelphia 3 Volumes. Baltimore: Picton Press, 1992. Print. (ISBN 978-0929539980).
  10. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  11. ...

The Burkholder Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Burkholder Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 December 2015 at 19:28.

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