Tag Archives: Joseph Kaser

Just the Facts: Elizabeth Stahler and Her Family

ELIZABETH STAHLER (Kaser) (1775-1843)

My 3rd Great Grandmother on my father’s side, Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, was born to a German immigrant family who settled in Berks County Pennsylvania.  Unlike many of my ancestors on my father’s side who belonged to reform churches, the Stahler family belonged to the Catholic Church.

As I am researching the Stahler family, that religion has proved to be a blessing  because the earliest generations in American show up in the oldest church registry still extant for the eastern United States–the Goshenhoppen Register.  Because once the German settlers left the Philadelphia area they were venturing into virtual wilderness, with, at best, very small towns, Catholic priests traveled from settlement to settlement until churches could be built.  Two who covered the circuit out of Goshenhoppen from 1741 until 1764, wrote down every wedding, conversion and baptism they officiated at in a small book. That treasure was translated in the 19th century, and is available on Google Books today. (See research notes).

I will talk more about the traveling priests when I get to Elizabeth Stahler’s grandfather–the first comer of the Stahlers–Christian Stahler.  But for now, her family history leaves me with a couple of religion questions.

  1. Where the heck is the record of her marriage to Joseph Kaser? I cannot find it either in the Catholic church records, nor in the Lehigh County Zion (Lutheran) Church records that records many Keiser/Kaser families.
  2. Did she convert from Catholic when she married Joseph, or had her family drifted away from the Catholic church before that?

The Birth Family of Elizabeth Stahler

According to the records (written in German) kept by Jesuit priest, Rev. John Baptist Ritter, Elizabeth Stahler was born January 19, 1775. The priest baptized her on the 19th of March at the home of her grandfather, Christian Henrich.  Christian was a man as religious as his names sounds.  He built a sort of way station for the priests on the circuit who stopped by to say Mass and officiate in church rituals.  The name, Asperum Collum, meaning ‘sharp-pointed mountain’ in Latin, appears frequently in the Goshenhoppen Register as the site of baptisms and marriages. Today the place, in Berks County, near Allentown Pennsylvania, is known as Spitzenberg Mountain (or Hill) (sharp pointed mountain/hill in German).

The Registry in translation lists Elizabeth’s parents as Adam Stahler and his wife Mary. This may be a simplification by the translator, as their “real” names were Johann Adam Stahler and Eva Maria (or Mary).  The sponsor at Elizabeth’s baptism included her grandmother, Margaret Henrich.

Elizabeth had an older sister Catherine, born in 1768.  Either I am missing some records, or the couple may have lost some children in infancy, but for five years there are no more additions to the family.  Following Elizabeth in quick succession came Christian, 1776 (named for their Grandfather) ; and Eva Maria/Mary, 1777, named for their mother. If there were other children, I have not seen them in church records.

Besides having lots of little children around the house, the big event in young Elizabeth’s life must have been her father’s military service. During 1776 and 1777, Adam was serving in the militia as a Captain fighting the British in the American Revolution.  (His service record will get more detailed attention when I talk about his life.) As a toddler, Elizabeth might not have understood, but she would have been very aware of his activities with the militia.

That military service must have proven disrupting, not only because there were four small children at home for their mother to care for alone, but also because the war was not very far away.

Building a Family with Joseph Kaser

Between 1798 (speculation) and 1800, Elizabeth Stahler married Joseph Kaser (also spelled Keiser, Kaiser, Kayser). He was nearly two years younger than Elizabeth, and of a different religion.  Joseph and Elizabeth had nine children while they lived in Pennsylvania. I listed the children and my reasoning behind certain assumptions when I wrote about Joseph Kaser. You can check that post here. Since I wrote about Joseph, I have read the Kaser History on microfilm at an LDS Family History Center.  I have also scanned the church records that I previously had only seen indexed. I will continue to review that material and update any information I have written about the Kaser family.

About 1824, they moved to Ohio in the area of Clark, a small town bordering Holmes County and Coshocton County.

According to  The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others, of the nine children of Joseph and Elizabeth, seven remained in Ohio and two moved to Indiana after the deaths of their parents.

1800: George Kaser (G.B., Census reports 1840-1870) [My ancestor.]

George married in 1822, had a son born in Pennsylvania in 1823, and another born in eastern Pennsylvania in 1824.  I believe they were traveling with his parents and his wife was pregnant when they left Lehigh County and had the baby along the way.

1802/3: Elizabeth Kaser born (according to G.B. No other evidence yet.)

1806: Jonathan (Find a Grave–buried in New Bedford, OH; 1860 census)

1807: Lydia Kaser (Church birth and baptism dates)

1808: Joseph Kaser, Jr. (Census records and Find a Grave , buried at New Bedford, Ohio)

1810: Anthony (or Andrew?) Kaser ( Church birth records)

1814: Nathan Kaser (Church records; some census records)

1816: Timothy Kaser (Church birth records; Find a Grave–died in N. Liberty,St. Joseph County, Indiana)

1818: William Kaser (Church birth records; Find a Grave–died in St. Joseph County, Indiana)

(The Kaser History also mentions a “Tom” and an unamed infant who died early, but I have found no record of them.  It is possible that “Tom” could be a misreading of Tim for Timothy, but I do not know for sure.)

Although the oldest five would have certainly been old enough to help with the move, it certainly was quite an undertaking for Elizabeth to move her entire household with children from six years old to twenty-four years old. You can see a map that clarifies how difficult the terrain was, if you click on this link to George Kaser.

Questions:

Is my speculation about the birth of Joseph Kaser III correct?

What is the relationship of Elizabeth Stahler (Kaser) to the wife of George Kaser –Lydia Stahler/Stehler/Staehler (Kaser)?

Apparently the Kaser family was close–quite literally because they lived on farms that were adjoining or very near each other in Holmes County, Ohio.

End of Life

The children were grown and independent by the time their father died in December 1842. Joseph left Elizabeth one stove and a cow, two beds and bedding and such other household and kitchen furniture as she may select, not exceeding eighty-dollars in value. You can see what else the will said at the updated Joseph Kaser post. Joseph signed his will in German and from what I have learned about the German immigrants and their church, I doubt that he spoke much if any English.  I wonder if Elizabeth also spoke only German?

I believe that Elizabeth went to live with her son William in or near Nashville, Ohio after Joseph died. William was married, 24 years old and had been named executor of his father’s will.

Elizabeth received news earlier that year that her mother had died in Pennsylvania.

Five months after her husband, Elizabeth Stahler Kaser  died at the age of 68.

Although Joseph had been buried in the churchyard if the New Zion Church in New Bedford, Ohio where many Kasers lie, Elizabeth was buried in the cemetery in Nashville, Ohio.

I always try to weave a story around an ancestor’s life, but I can only share the bare facts about Elizabeth, because there is very little evidence to build stories.  She married in Pennsylvania, had nine children–about one every two years before the family moved across the central mountains of Pennsylvania to settle in the sparsely settled northwest territory of Ohio. There her sons’ farms thrived and they lived close together, with, I imagine many family dinners and much sharing of work.  Her husband left enough to care property to be sold and provide for her, but she only outlived him by a few months.

Her legacy is a family that grew and spread, not only in Ohio but particularly in Indiana and now far beyond the midwest.

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)

Notes on Research

  • The “Kaser Genealogy” (aka Green Book) referred to is The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others. Out of print. I first obtained information from a cousin who owns a copy of the book, and then accessed it on microfilm at an LDS church Family History Center.
  • Zions Lutheran Reformed Church, Zionsville, PA index of records at Ancestry.com)Unfortunately the website for the church has been updated and they no longer have the history page, but I have given you a link to the “wayback machine” where you can find the old page.
  • Birth and Death records from census and Find a Grave through Ancestry.com
  • Cemetery records from the New Zion UCC church (formerly German Reform) in New Bedford, Ohio.
  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Record for Joseph Kaser, Will Records, 1825-1906; Index to Wills, 1825-1965; Probate Place: Holmes, Ohio

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.

START WITH WHAT YOU KNOW

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.

Joseph Kaser 1842 Will

My sister and brother and I enjoyed our family reunion/ancestor search trip 2 years ago so much that we are getting together for another ancestor trail trip this summer. In the fall of 2014, thanks to a cousin’s generosity, we had a family gathering at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts. Sudbury was the home base for many of our maternal grandmother’s ancestors. Follow the link above, or search for “Howe” to find out about the branch of our family that helped build New England towns and fought in the Revolution.

Minutemen

At Minuteman National Park with our family descendants of Minutemen.

This summer, the three siblings are going to revisit ancestor’s territory in Ohio and Pennsylvania, giving us a chance to take a look at our father’s line as well as our mother’s.

In preparation for that trip, I’m taking another look at our Kaser ancestors (Our father) and hope that I’ll have time to look at the Anderson (Our maternal Grandfather) line also.  Both lines tend to disappear in Pennsylvania in the 18th century, before they moved on to Ohio.

Joseph Kaser 1776-1842

I’m starting by adding a piece of information to what I previously wrote about Joseph Kaser (B. 1776), our third great-grandfather.  Although I did not know a lot about him two years ago when I wrote his story, you may want to look at that linked post for reference. It puts in perspective the life of German immigrants and the hardships they faced that forced them every further west, until they settled with ‘their own kind in Ohio.’

Thanks to the new transcripts of probate records added to Ancestry.com in the last year, I can scratch Joseph Kaser’s will off my to-do list. Although this will is in English, I’m guessing there may have also been a version in German, since Joseph probably did not speak English.

Unfortunately, the will does not contain the detail that we’ve found in others. But here’s what Joseph had to say in October, 1842.

After the preamble, he specifies that his wife Elizabeth Kaser should get one stove and a cow, two beds and bedding and such other household and kitchen furniture as she may select, not exceeding eighty-dollars in value.

Comment:  Don’t worry, 80 dollars would be worth approximately $2350 in today’s money.

The rest of his property, he says, should be sold and the money realized “put on interest  for the use and support of my wife Elizabeth Kaser during her natural life and after the death of my wife Elizabeth then the money is to be divided equally amongst any children in such a manner that each of my sons receive twenty-five dollars more than any daughters.

Comment: “put on interest” was the term used in the 19th century for money invested or put in the bank to earn interest.  Why do his six sons each get $25 more than each of his two daughters? Perhaps he had paid $25 dowry for the daughters, or perhaps it is because the expectation is that their husbands will take care of them.

Finally, he appoints John Basto (Spelling?) and his son William Kaser as executors.

Comment: When the will was written, William, the youngest of the family, would be twenty-four years old, but he must have been considered responsible, as there is evidence that Elizabeth went to live with him after Joseph died.

The will, written out by a clerk at the court, notes “signed in German, Joseph Kaser.”

Grave of Joseph Kaser

Grave marker of Joseph Kaser 1776-1842. Photo by Glen Hammel at Find a Grave.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie 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
  • Joseph Kaser

Notes on Research

  • Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998, Record for Joseph Kaser, Will Records, 1825-1906; Index to Wills, 1825-1965; Probate Place: Holmes, Ohio
  • The “Kaser Genealogy” (aka Green Book) referred to is The Kaser History: A History of Dates and Other Interesting Facts (1994) edited by Deborah D. Morgan and others. Out of print. I obtained information from a cousin who owns a copy of the book.
  • Zions Lutheran Reformed Church, Zionsville, PA index of records at Ancestry.com)Unfortunately the website for the church has been updated and they no longer have the history page, but I have given you a link to the “wayback machine” where you can find the old page.
  • Birth and Death records from census and Find a Grave through Ancestry.com
  • Cemetery records from the New Zion UCC church (formerly German Reform) in New Bedford, Ohio.