This is a surname which appears in almost the same spelling and has the same meaning and origin, in Germany, France and England. Its origins are probably Germanic (Anglo-Saxon), and it is composed of the elements "burg" meaning a fortress and "heard" - strong or hardy. Such was the association between the Olde English and the Germans (Anglo-Saxons), that the language was almost interchangeable. Be that as it may, both ultimately fell victims to the Vikings of the 8th and 9th century, who not only plundered England from the sea, but Germany and the Low Countries by land, before finally arriving at a place which they called "Normandy," the land of the Norsemen. After 1066 the Normans re-introduced the name into England as "Burchard" where it has remained a popular name. Equally the name has been held in high esteem in both Germany and France, Coats of Arms being granted in both countries, as well as Switzerland and The Netherlands. It may be described as a typical surname of its type for the "dark age" period when great store was put on physical prowess, religious fervour, and deeds of valour. Examples of the surname recording in Germany include Jacobus Burchard of Lanau in Pfalz Stadt, Bayern, on May 20th 1585, and Joannes Burkert who married Anna Maria Kussman, at Rheinhessen, Hessen on September 26th 1790. In France the recordings are more irregular, but one example is Elizabeth Burkart who married Lorenz Gertz at Illkirch, Bas-Rhin, on March 9th 1647. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Burekardus de Burewelle, which was dated 1154, in the Danelaw Rolls of Lincolnshire, England, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The church builder" 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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