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Local heritage book of Bühlertal

The village of Buhlertal was first mentioned in historic records around 1325 AD. At the time its name was written "valle Buhlensi", which from Latin to English translates to "Buhl Valley" or German "Bühler Tal". When exactly the town's name changed to the spelling variant of Bühlertal is unknown. Colonisation and settlement of the Bühler Tal started from the town of Bühl, which is located at the exit of the valley from the Black Forest into the Rhine Graben.

The village of Buhlertal can be separated into two main parts, the Untertal or 'Lower Valley' and the Obertal or 'Upper Valley'. As the names indicate, the centers of Untertal and Obertal are at different elevations. Colonisation did not happen at once, but was a continuous process of settlements at suitable spots over centuries along the creek "Büllot" and the hills to the North and South. These settlements were originally farmsteds named after their first settlers or owners or after a geological or geographical characteristic of the place itself or a stream or creek with its water sources. Some names may even be of Celtic origin before the invasion of Germanic/Alemannic people. Starting with the Untertal, places are called Schmelz (where iron was (s)melted), Freyhöf(en) (the farmsted of a person named Frey or perhaps a farm "free" from taxation), Klotzberg (named after mount Klotz or Glotzberg),  Liehenbach (named after the brook Liehe), Laube(n) (named after a porch, most likely after the restaurant Laube), Matthäuser (named after a person called Matthew or Matthäus), Seßgaß (Seß alley), and the Obertal with Büchelbach (name of a brook Bühel or Büchel), Hirschbach (named after the animal Hirsch, probably a place where deers (Hirsch) were mating), Lengenberg (name of a long ridge), Hof (literally a farmsted), Denni (named after the Tannenbaum, a forest of pine trees, which was Tännig or Tennig), Sickenwald (name of a forest), Steckenhalt (unknown), Schönbüch (named after the tree "Buche" or beech tree), Schönbüchrütt (named after a farm or Reute/Rütt near the place Schönbüch), Hungerberg (named after a hill), and Hagberg (named after a hill), Hundsbach (named after the creek Hund) and Unter- and Oberplättig (named after a flat (plattes) plateau (Plattig) high up in the Black Forest mountains). Most of these farms and hamlets have fused together over the centuries into a single suburban unit.

Several of those places where owned by nearby abbeys or local aristocrats, especially the vinyards and wineries, which were rented to local families paying taxes to the owners, while the woods and forests were mainly owned by the Margraves of Baden. Serfdom was common at those times. 

The parish of Saint Michael was founded in 1763. Up until this year the parish of the Bühler Tal were split into North and South, parishoners living to the North of the creek named Büllot were baptized in Bühl, married in Bühl and were buried in Bühl, while those to the South were baptized, married and buried in Kappelwindeck. Records for Bühlertal up until 1763 are kept in Bühl or Kappelwindeck. Intermarriage between parishoners from one parish and the other was possible, but required approval by the authorities, since these borders were not just ecclestiastical, but moreover political borders - marking ownership. With the establishment of Saint Michael's the Bühler Tal was unified, at least ecclestiastically. Perhaps that's when they started using the term Bühlertal instead of Bühler Tal. The new church was built in the Untertal, a place known as Freyhöf. It's location cut the walk to Sunday service by three quarters, from 90 minutes or longer to 15-20 minutes. Since 1763 all church records were kept at St. Michael's.

Doing genealogy is still difficult, since it may require visits to three parishes, depending on where our ancestors lived and moved to and subsequently where the records were kept then and today. Digitalization of hand-written documents is in progress, but may take generations to complete. This is also a question about protecting dead and/or living individual's identity. 

Most of the inhabitants of the Untertal were involved in growing grapes and making wine, with winemakers and coopers leading the list of occupations, while the inhabitants in the Obertal were mostly involved in logging and timber, manufacture of char coal, running saw mills and glass making. Smiths, shoemakers, bakers, butchers and weavers complemented the array of occupations in the valley.

While the population of the Untertal stayed mostly unchanged with its genuine vintner families over countless generations, the Obertal saw fluctuations in its population, infusion with fresh blood mostly from other parts of the Black Forest, Switzerland and Tirol in Austria, who helped with the colonisation of the Black Forest and establishment of the timber industry. Over more than two hundred years the Untertal had a well-established iron works. Iron workers originated mostly from other parts of Germany, for example Saxony, while local smiths were using the iron to make metal tools for the vintners and farmers, most likely also used for axes, saw blades, and knives, but also for guns, since the ironworks were originally started by the Margrave of Baden.

Bühlertal became an independent town when the county seat of Bühl was dissolved in 1972.

It has its own mayor and representives at the new county seat of Rastatt.

The heritage book is incomplete. Contact me, if you have information 

TM




:: More links
Pfeil Federal State Baden-Württemberg
Pfeil County Rastatt
Pfeil Bühlertal in the Genealogical Place Register GOV
Pfeil Official Homepage
Pfeil Bühlertal in Wikipedia
Pfeil Geographical Location, City map Bühlertal
:: Contact
For further information concerning these data and, if you have additions, corrections or questions, please contact:
Thomas Mangos