Tag Archives: Adam Stahler

Where’s The Will? A Probate Records Search

This week’s challenge for the 52 Ancestors project, “Where There’s a Will“, sounds familiar–drawing us into the fascinating world of probate records. However, at the moment I have to turn that around to “Where’s The Will?” because I am stymied in finding the will of Adam Stahler.

I have enjoyed getting acquainted with ancestors and their families through their probate records in the past. My great-great-grandmother’s first husband died young without a will, but the inventory of goods plainly told me that he was a merchant.   In researching my husband’s ancestors, I found wills for three successive generations in the Manbeck family. From those, and their attached inventories, I learned names of children, what a great-great-great-great grandmother had in her kitchen, what you need to grow flax, and how long it took for German immigrants to switch to the English langauge.

Abraham Brink Will

Abraham Brink the elder Will.

You can read about those ancestors and what I learned from probate records here:

But those were easy.  All those wills and associated papers from probate records were found on line. Hard to read the hand writing sometimes–but at any rate there they were.  And the recorder had kindly written an English transcription of the wills in German, so I didn’t even need a translator.

Asahel Platt Inventory

One of several pages of inventory of belongings of Asahel Platt.

And then there was Adam Stahler.  Ancestry.com coughs up an index entry from the probate records of Northampton County, Pennsylvania (his residence), for Stahler, Adam with John Stahler as administrator, filed in 1804. The index even presents a file number #2284.

Usually, when Ancestry does not give me anything but the index information, I can find the actual document at Family Search.org. Not this time.  I will spare you the gory details, but after two days of eye strain, I still did not have Adam Stahler’s will.

Next step, ask on Facebook at “Genealogy? Just Ask”.

Next step, check Family Search. Someone on the FB group had directed me on how to search more effectively on Family Search.  I  also read a very comprehensive guide to Family Search searching written by Cathy Meder-Dempsey.  Maybe I’m just a bad student, but that didn’t get me what I was looking for either.

Two possibilities, the will never was photographed by Family Search AND/OR it has not been digitized OR the second possibility–it no longer exists. That is just too sad to contemplate, so I am delaying accepting defeat.

Next step, contact the Probate office in Northampton County, Pennsylvania.

So today I sent off an e-mail.  Fingers crossed. And of course I will keep you posted.

Meanwhile, if you can keep yourself amused b looking at the variety of wills I DID find.

FOUND IT! Hidden Information in1840 Census

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler ??-??

What an obscure line on the 1840 census plus a report on a Widow’s Pension told me about my 4th great-grandmother.

My maiden name is Kaser.  If you have been around here for a while, you are aware that I have a great deal more information about my mother’s side of the family, than my father’s.  That seems to be because the women in the family passed down the responsibility of keeping track and passing on the family stories. I’m the latest to be tagged “It.”

As I explained earlier, my great-great-great grandfather Joseph Kaser married Elizabeth Stahler. That leads me to exploring the Stahler family, and I am currently piecing together the life of Elizabeth’s father, Adam Stahler, son of an immigrant, and a patriot. However, since the 52 Ancestors challenge this week points us to Census, I can’t resist a short digression about Elizabeth Stahler’s mother, Eva Maria Henrich (Stahler) and how “hidden” information on an 1840 census and a widow’s pension document gave me some interesting information.

Mary Henrich Stahler Questions

Admittedly, I still don’t know a lot about Mary Henrich Stahler.  (Her complete name Eva Maria floats in and out of the records, but she seemed to be known as Mary.)

I was not absolutely sure what year Mary was born, and could not find any information about her death.  Since her husband was born in 1747, I figured she would have been born close to that date.

An Ancestry hint led me to the 1840 census. Specifically to a page that lists , under a column headed “Pensioners for Revolutionary War or Military Service Included in the Foregoing.”

1840 census Pensioner

Eve Mary Stahler listed on 1840 census as Revolutionary War pensioner.

This “hidden” page of the census tells us, in the 2nd family listed, that in a family totaling five, with two engaged in agriculture, there is a Revolutionary War pensioner named Eve Mary Stahler, who is 92 years old.

If you would like to pursue information about an ancestor of yours that you suspect could be on the pensioner rolls–mostly veterans of military service–there are several sites where you can find them indexed. This site has particularly valuable information, I think.

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler 1748-??

Hurrah! First question answered–she was born in 1748, just one year after her husband. As to WHERE she was born, although I did not find a baptism record, or other birth record, that question was answered by looking at her father’s history. He had arrived in North America in 1742, and moved immediately to Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he spent his life. So that is where she had to have been born.

Although it is impossible to know the details of her young life, we do know of her father and mother’s deep involvement with the Catholic Church, and have to imagine that she helped in hosting visiting priests and hosting the many services that took place in their home.

Marriage and Family

When I scanned the Church records from the Catholic “Goshenoppen Register,” I found her wedding to John Adam Stahler on May 15, 1768, at Weissenberg, alias Macungi”  (More about that in my extended bio of Adam Stahler.}

Eva Mary, or just Mary, and Adam, had six recorded children who were baptized in the Catholic church.

On November, 1768, Catharine was born. Whoops! Looks like Mary was four months pregnant when she married.  Let’s just blame it on the traveling priests who weren’t always around when you needed them!

I found no church records for children born to Adam and Mary during the period between 1769 and 1775.  That would be unusual, so there may be missing records, or they may have lost some babies during that time.

March 19, 1775. Elizabeth, my third great-grandmother came next.

The Revolutionary war was heating up, and even though Adam  signed up and became a Captain in the Pennsylvania military, the couple spent enough time together to make a son.

May 1, 1776 the church recorded the birth and baptism. They named him Christian for his grandfather–Mary’s father.

July 29, 1777 came Eva Maria , mother’s namesake, and the last child for which I have a record.

Adam, like most of my ancestors, farmed his plot of land.  We find hints that their life was a financial struggle during the recession that followed the Revolution, as Adam applied for military loans.

Mary’s husband, Adam, died in 1804.  He was just 57 years old.

More From 1840 Census

So far, the only other clue I have found to Mary’s life, resides in that 1840 census that gave me her birth date.  I have learned that it is a very good idea to look backward and forward through the census from the page that has the main data you are looking for. Surprises lurk on those other pages.

Going back one page from the page pictured above tells me who Mary was living with in 1840.  Well, kind of.  It gives me the name of the head of household.  That, of course, starts another chain of searching. Who is John Klingeman and what is their relationship? That will wait for another day.

For now, I know that as an old lady, she was not living alone, but in a house with a middle-aged couple and two young men, presumably their sons.The couple is too young to have been one of her daughters and a husband, so it could have been grandchildren, or related through one of her own siblings.

By the way, she seems to be the only woman whose age falls between 90 and 100 in this area of Pennsylvania, so she would have qualified for that post I wrote about older Ancestors.

1840 Census

1840 Census with family of Mary Stahler.



So when did she die?

Another Ancestry hint points to a list of pensioners’ payments with a notation as to when her payments ended. It says Name: Maria Eva [the Eva apparently added as an afterthought] Stohler ‘of Adam’; Rank: Captain; Half Yearly Allowances: 60; Commencement: Mar. 1825.

Pension payments

Eva Maria Stahler ‘s pension payments

And the facing page where we see an accounting of her payments in March and September for each year, until 1843, where a notation reads: Died 24th of May 42 [1842] I cannot make out the entire line of writing above her payments, but it looks as though it applies to her, and includes the words “paid in full [something] date of death  [something].

Widow's Pension Payments

Eva Maria Stahler, Pennsylvania Accounting for widow’s pension payments.

Now the circle is complete, and we know the exact date of death of Eva Maria (Mary) Henrich (Stahler).

Eva Maria Henrich Stahler 1748-1842

Of course there are many loose threads dangling from that “complete” circle.  The questions I mentioned above about the identity of the family she lived with in her declining years, for instance.  And if I can find a pension application, I might know much more about her and her circumstances.

But I am very grateful for the hidden information on the 1840 census and the Pennsylvania record keeping of the Revolutionary War pensioners for giving me some hints about my fourth great-grandmother.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher) is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser II, who is the son of
  • George Kaser, who is the son of
  • Elizabeth Stahler (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Eva Maria Henrich (Stahler)

Notes on Research

Goshenhoppen Registers (second series) 1765-1786, read in translation at Google Books where it is published as Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, Vol 3 by Rev. Thomas C. Middleton, Translator and Annotation, Philadelphia, 1891.

1840 United States Federal Census, Miffllin, Columbia, PennsylvaniaRoll: 449; Page: 162; Family History Library Film: 0020540.

The National Archives; Washington, D.C.; Ledgers of Payments, 1818-1872, to U.S. Pensioners Under Acts of 1818 Through 1858 From Records of the Office of the Third Auditor of the Treasury; Record Group Title: Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of War. (Revolutionary War) Widows Pensions 1815-1843.

A New Start with Adam Stahler

ADAM STAHLER, (1747-1807) 4th Great Grandfather

What could be more appropriate for the New Year than a new start? That is where Stahler comes in.

So, as I teased in my last post, Ancestors in Aprons will try something new in 2018.  At the beginning of every year I promise to climb out further on the branches on my father’s side of the famly tree. And every year I am stymied by the lack of or contradictory information on the KASER family.

Now I am going to start down a different branch.


When my 3rd great-grandfather, JOSEPH KASER married ELIZABETH STAHLER in Pennsylvania about 1798, the Stahler line joined the Kaser family tree.

Elizabeth’s father, ADAM STAHLER will be my first focus, but for now, I am only going to mention the basic facts that I start with.

Johan (or John) Adam Stahler was born in Pennsylvania and lived in Lehigh County, as the Kaser family did.  He married in the Lehigh Lutheran (Zion) Church and made his public profession of faith at the church on the same day in 1768.

His bride’s name was Eva Maria HIENRICH–(Another name to add to the tree!)

He served in a militia during the American Revolution. (The first of my father’s line for whom I have proof of that service.)

Tax rolls reveal that he was fairly prosperous.

He left a will.

In other words, he left many more clues to his life than my Kaser relatives in the same generations.  I now have these facts to mine for a story.

The mystery that arose from the records is a mention of the family being Catholic, despite the fact that they appear frequently in the records of the Lutheran church.

New Start 2: Three Little Letters

The second new start, I am hoping, will come from finally doing a DNA test.  I have mine, and I got one for my brother for good measure.  We have pretty solid evidence about where our families come from–The British Isles, Netherlands, Germany.

The Ancestry.com test will not sort out some of our questions like were they Swiss or German? were they really Irish? Or, as my brother suspects were there some French?  Instead, Ancestry lumps all of Western Europe into one bigger pot, and we need to find other ways to answer those particular questions.

I am hoping the results may put us in touch with other members of the Kaser and related clans.  The human contacts made through close matches in DNA just might tear down a few brick walls on our father’s side.

I know just about as little as it is possible to know about DNA, except to know that it is not magic.  I will be reading more about it, spending extra time tracking what it shows me once the results are in. And I hope will be coordinating the DNA information with the paper trails I’ve been chasing.

A START WITH 52 Ancestors Again

Amy Johnson Crow has challenged bloggers to write and talk about an ancestor each week in a new 52 Ancestors project.  This time she will give a prompt to stimulate an angle for writing.  I will be participating–maybe not every week–but at least frequently, as in this first post in which I START to introduce ADAM STAHLER, my 4th great-grandfather, and my plans for the coming year.

So stay tuned as I look at Elizabeth Stahler and Adam STAHLER, and see where that leads me on the KASER tree.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Clifford Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser III, who is the son of
  • George Kaser, who is the son of
  • Joseph Kaser and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Adam Stahler.