Morgen-, Murgen- or Mergenthaler?

Name Murgenthaler

Map of Swiss places where Morgenthalers have their place of citizenship
Mu: Village of Murgenthal and river Murg
Red: Places in Switzerland where Morgenthaler have their place of citizenship.

The place Murgenthal lies at the river Aare upriver of the town of Aarburg. Murgenthal got its name from the river Murg. The river Langete changes its name to Murg before it flows into the river Aare. Therefore, Murgenthal names the valley of the river Murg. The family name Murgenthaler therefore describes a person coming from the Murgenthal.

Has the name Murgenthaler developped into Morgenthaler?
According to a document from 1775, in Ursenbach the spelling Morgenthaler seems to have developped from the spelling Murgentthaller used in 1650.
In Attelwil, however, the oldest documents from 1769 already bear today's spelling Morgenthaler. The Attelwil family enblem shows a rising sun above mountain tops and seems to root in the original sense of a Morning Valley.
The site author doesn't think that the name Morgenthaler generally developped from the name Murgenthaler. (For more details study the German text)

A possilbe explanation is that Murgenthaler persons emmigrated into areas where the river Murg wasn't known. Therefore, the unknown expession Murg was replaced by the known expression Morgen, which ended in the family name.

In addition, old handwritten documents show that correct orthography sometimes was of little importance. In such documents family names of brothes ans sisters are sometimes written differently, which could eventually lead to a changement of a family name.

Name Mergenthaler
A similar effect could have taken place to form the US name Mergenthaler: As neither Morgen, Murgen nor Thaler means anything in English, a simple spelling mistake could have lead to a new family name.

Please contact the site author if you have additional, different or new information about this subject.