A Walser family


The family, whose name is written in German and Italian "Curta" (pronounced "kurta") and in Savoyard Patois "Curtaz" (pronounced "kyrta", the "z" is not spoken and shows the emphasis on the second to last syllable) , is located in Valais and Vaud (Pays de Vaud) on Lake Geneva and since 1445 also in Gressoney, a Walser town on Monte Rosa. First there is the notary Johann Jacob Curtaz (1436-1510), who lived in Orsio, a hamlet in the "upper part", which today forms the independent municipality of Gressoney-La-Trinité (Trinity). The family's origins are said to go back via the Curta(z) / Curti at Aigle and Yvorne (Vaud) and in lower and central Valais to the Curti, a family of notaries, based in the 12th century in the Lombard city of Gravedona on Lake Como.


In Gressoney's main part "Mittelteil", named after the patron of the parish church of John the Baptist, two branches of the family have developed over time, the "Curta Branche Castell and Chemonal" and the "Curta Branche Capaluogo and Predilys". In Castell the notary Cristofel built the still existing "old Curta house" in 1580. The family painters ("z'Moalersch"), who later lived in Chemonal, also descended from him. The family produced over a dozen pastors. The merchant, painter, photographer and philanthropist Valentin Curta (1861-1929) achieved great fame through his chronicle "Gressoney then and now". Today, several families from the Capaluogo Predilys branch still live in Gressoney with descendants in Indonesia and England. From a branch of the family established in the neighboring upper valley of Ayas (Canton des Allemands) in the 17th century, there are still several descendants in Extrepiraz (patois: Ehtrepira), Brusson (patois: Breutson / Brétson, Walserditsch: Britse), in Verrès and in Ivrea .

Oberweier (at Lahr/Black Forest)

Like many men from Gressoney Johann Joseph Curtaz (1733-1796), son of the notary of the same name, Johann Joseph Curta (1698-1779) from the "Curta Branche Castell Chemonal" branch, was sent to relatives in Switzerland at the age of twelve to learn the trade of the cloth merchant. As a merchant he probably came to the Upper Rhine in the area around Freiburg and Strasbourg and settled in Oberweier around 1764 at the up-and-coming commercial and later industrial city of Lahr on the western edge of the central Black Forest. There he was married twice. However, only seven of the twelve children reached adulthood. Descendants of Johann Joseph Curtaz can still be found in three families in Oberweier and the neighboring town of Friesenheim as well as in Offenburg, Ladenburg and near Hamburg.

Kappel / Rhine

The oldest son of Johann Joseph Curtaz from Oberweier, Johann Valentin (1780-1840), was also traditionally sent into the formation as a merchant. Close ties existed to the merchant Johann Franz Valentin Curta (1748-1805) from z'Moalersch in Chemonal (Gressoney), who probably knew Johann Joseph Curtaz through his formation in Switzerland, then settled in Hüfingen on the eastern edge of the southern Black Forest in 1788 and opened an trading post. He was probably not only the namesake, but as the closest relative in the German lands probably also the godfather of Johann Valentin and after his father's early death in 1796 also the guardian of the then 16 year old. Because under his presence as a best man, Johann Valentin married in 1803 not far from Oberweier in Kappel am Rhein, and settled there as a merchant and was later a master tailor. The spelling of the name of the family changed in Kappel in contrast to the Oberweirer relatives over Curta and Kurta to Korta. Today, eight families from this branch still live in and around Kappel, as well as three more in Speyer and near Karlsruhe. Some are today even  in the USA.