HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON THE NITHART (and other spellings) ORIGINATING FROM ALSACE
The most ancient NITHART (under different spelling variants) are found in Alsace, south of Mulhouse, in the village of Eschentzwiller.
Most individuals have been identified on church records from 1581 to a few years ago. Much older mentions of Nithart have been found on various documents. They are displayed under page "documents". The oldest to-date is Hans Nithart on a document dated 1322 relating to the first nown sale of the village. According to feudal rules at that time, witnesses had to be well known aged people with good memory. It is probable that he was born around 1240.
According to some experts, the family must have settled in Eschentzwiller at least 3/4 generations before Hans, probably at the begining of the settlement, before year 1000.
There has been several old dispersions in Alsace. The oldest so far was found in the village of Beblenheim, near Colmar : A deed dated november 12, 1440 cites a "Henny (Henri) Nithart der alte" as witness (document can be seen at http://www.nithart.com\beblenh.htm ..
Several Nithart were found recently in Strasbourg during middle age: A Claus Nithart appears regularly on the "Rat List" of Strasbourg, between 1338 and 1363, representing the professions of weehlwright, sideboard and bread bins makers and later also wood turners. A Wernherus and a Henselnius Nithart apper on a legal document of oct 25, 1342. The origin is yet unknown. Documents can be seen at http://www.nithart.com\stra1350.htm
What is the origin of the Nithart in Eschentzwiller? we do not know at this stage. However, we can say for sure that the origin is the Germanic world. They may have come from Switzerland, Germany or eventually Austria. Looking at the map under "documents/Neidhart, one can see that bearers of the name were found along the Rhine river as early as the 8th century.
To note: the village was part of the Habsbourg territories as early as the 10th century.
The map below shows the location of the three key villages of the Nithart as well as the proximity of Germany and Switzerland. Click to enlarge.