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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Burkholder Family History

I had an appointment yesterday with Amos Hoover to see Christian Burkholder's Martyrs' Mirror which is housed in the Muddy Creek Library. Christian was born in Switzerland in 1746, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1754, and bought this book in 1761.

The Martyrs' Mirror was written in the Dutch language in Holland in the 1600s. It was translated into German and printed at the Ephrata Cloister in 1748-49.

Christian's copy of the Martyrs' Mirror was passed down to four generations of his descendants and then to Hershey and Musser families. In 1980 Esther Musser Hammond found the book in her attic and consigned it for public sale. Amos learned about the sale and bought the book. Being printed at the Ephrata Cloister makes it a valuable book but the thing that makes this one priceless are the pages of family records Christian wrote in his own hand on the blank pages in the front and back of the book.

At the bottom of one of the pages, Christian wrote the names and ages of his brothers and sisters (above). This corrected some false information that had previously been published and was the key to finding a document in Switzerland which changed the Burkholder story. The names and ages in Christian's Martyrs' Mirror match exactly with the names and ages of the children of Ulrich and Barbli Burkhalter in a 1745 tax record in Switzerland. I am planning to include copies of both of these documents in the new Preface I am writing for Hidden Riches.

Amos also showed me the Family Bible of John Burkholder, grandson of Christian. This Bible contains many pages of valuable family records. John wrote his grandfather's family record on a page at the back of the Bible. He begins by writing (in German), "Christian Burkholder was born (in Europe) on June 1, 1746 and died May 13, 1809 (He came to America in 1754)." Both of these books are now safely stored in the Muddy Creek Library where they are not in danger of being tossed out as "junk" by a generation who has no interest in history.


Vegas Vintage Vault said...

I am a decendent of Burkholders from Western Pa. My grandfather is Libert Burkholder. According the LDS site out ancestry goes back to Christian Michel Burkhalter
Birth: abt 1566/67
Wirtenmoos, Bern, Switzerland
Christening: Oberburg, Bern, Switzerland

Spouse: Lucia Or Lurid Or Christini Schertenleib Or Srhertenleib Or Koler
Marriage: 21 Jan 1591
Oberburg, Bern, Switzerland
Is there any way to confirm this information? The family tree has several Ulrich's which I imagine must have been a common name for that era. I appreciate your post and hope to someday see the actual books with the written history. Has anyone rewritten the genealogy from the book so it can be purchased or accessed from the web? Thank you - Julie Vega

tripp said...

Hi my name is Duane i would like to know where i can get my bible appraised. Signed 3rd december 1746. written in dutch. it looks very similiar to yours.Please e-mail me Thank you