Tag Archives: Joseph Kaser

Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, Who’s Your Daddy?

Making  assumptions about Elizabeth Stahler Kaser did not work out so well.

BACKPEDALING

At the beginning of the year, I announced that I would turn my attention to my father’s line because I know far less about the ancestors on his side, than on my mother’s.

I still intend to keep the vow to concentrated on my father’s line, but I need to “bark up a new branch” because I jumped to a conclusion that has proved to be wrong.

As a visual aid, I recently printed out poster-style family trees of Harriette Anderson (Kaser) and Paul Kaser.  It vividly demonstrates why I should concentrate on my father’s side of the family.

(Please pardon the quality, but names are not important at this point.  I just want to illustrate the relative size of known ancestors at this point.

Harriette Anderson

Harriette Anderson Kaser Pedigree Chart 11 generations. Two more not shown.

Paul Kaser Pedigree Chart

Paul Kaser Pedigree Chart, five generations.

In January, I also announced that I would be starting with the known–the parents of Elizabeth Stahler Kaser who married Joseph Kaser.  Then I proceeded to spend three months researching the families of Adam Stahler and Eva Maria Henrich. I assumed they were Elizabeth’s parents.

I WAS WRONG!

TRUST BUT VERIFY

The feeble “evidence” for most of my father’s line comes from a history about the family of Joseph Kaser. From that book, which does include some references, I determined that Joseph Kaser’s wife was Elizabeth Stahler from Pennsylvania. I wrote about Elizabeth Stahler Kaser hereAnd about Joseph here.

A distant cousin who is related to my father’s maternal line, the Butts/Butz family, long ago had told me about the Goshenhoppen Register–a record of itinerant Catholic priests. The Butts family were Catholics.  The Kasers that I knew of were not.  However, she found an Elizabeth Stahler in the Goshenhoppen Register, along with her birth and baptism in 1775 and her parents, Adam Stahler and Eva Maria Henrich.  This was good new indeed, I thought. Although I did wonder at whether she changed religion just to marry Joseph, or what was happening there.

In hindsight, I should have looked for additional confirmation before proceeding down that particular rabbit hole.  But I dug up what I could, which was not much, and explored the lives of her children and Joseph’s will to help fill in some blanks.

WHY I TRUST THE GRAVESTONE

When I found her on Find a Grave–complete with a picture of her gravestone in Nashville, Ohio, it seemed strange.  I knew that Joseph and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser had lived in Clark, Ohio, and Joseph, who died several years before she did, was buried at the Zion Reform German church in New Bedford Ohio. Many Kasers are interred at New Bedford.  However, Exploring their children’s lives and Joseph’s will points to evidence that Elizabeth spent her declining years in Nashville with her youngest son. In addition, I have no doubt that this is Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth, because their tombstones are identical in style. The same stone carver made their stones, even though they are in different parts of Holmes and adjacent Coshocton Counties in Ohio.

The tombstone says Elizabeth Stahler Kaser was born August 5, 1777–NOT 1775 as in the Catholic birth and baptism records.  Tombstones are not perfect, but in this case, I am inclined to believe the tombstone.  My problem–I had found that Find a Grave reference a couple years ago.  Why did I ignore it?  Just because it was inconvenient?  I need to slow down.

WHAT I DON’T KNOW

The key to learning sometimes is realizing what you do not know.  Earlier, I assumed that the Kaser history was right about Elizabeth’s maiden name and I assumed that my distant cousin was right about her baptism and birth records in a Catholic Church register. I thought I knew those things.  Now, I have to admit that I don’t really know her parentage or her birth place.

I have found a Pennsylvania marriage record for an Elizabeth Stahler who married a man whose name is described as Fye (but I believe it is probably Frye). That tells me there was indeed at least one other Elizabeth Stahler in eastern Pennsylvania.  However, I have not found a marriage record for Joseph and Elizabeth Stahler Kaser.

So I don’t know:

  • Elizabeth’s maiden name (although the Kaser History has proven reliable on that score, and odds are it actually is Stahler.)
  • The date and place she and Joseph were married.
  • Who her parents are and where she came from in Pennsylvania.

The basic information!

NEXT STEPS

While I looked through the Lutheran/Reform church records of Pennsylvania some time ago, I was not looking for the name Stahler, so I need to go back to those records.  It appears that they are not on line, so I will have to go to the Family History Center at an LDS church to peruse them.  If I am lucky, a marriage license will show up.

But what if even the Kaser history is wrong and her last name is not even Stahler?  Although I do not generally look at other people’s family trees and I never depend on them for answers, they can lead to new sources and sometimes a contact with the tree owner can be useful. So I need to contact people whose family trees show Joseph Kaser(1776) and his wife  Elizabeth.

Meanwhile, I have corrected as much as possible in the posts on Ancestors in Aprons. I have decided to let the posts I wrote about Adam Stahler, Eva Maria Henrich and Christian and Margaret Henrich to stay on Ancestors in Aprons. Although I do not need information about the Stahlers and the Henrichs since they are not related to Elizabeth Stahler Kaser, there are many people out there looking for information about Stahlers and Henrichs and they might get something out of my research.

Oh yeah–just to keep things interesting, one of Joseph and Elizabeth’s sons–George, who is my great-great grandfather–also married a woman whose last name is Stahler. I am making no assumptions about her!

Just the Facts: Elizabeth Stahler and Her Family

ELIZABETH STAHLER (Kaser) (1775-1843)

IMPORTANT UPDATE

I have done extensive revision of this post because I discovered that I had the wrong parentage for Elizabeth Stahler.  How that happened is explained elsewhere, but if you were depending on my research here, you will need to revise along with me. I have chosen to leave the previous information with lines through it, so you will know that although it does not apply to my ancestor, Elizabeth Stahler, Adam Stahler DID have a daughter named Elizabeth and the Goshenhoppen Catholic church records will be a help to you if you are looking for that Elizabeth.

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.

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.

In fact, my ancestor, also named Elizabeth Stahler, born August 5, 1777,  probably would have been  baptized in a reform church more in keeping with the religion of the Kaser family.

Building a Family with Joseph Kaser

Between 1798 (speculation) and 1800, Elizabeth Stahler married Joseph Kaser (also spelled Keiser, Kaiser, Kayser). He wasa year younger than Elizabeth.  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 (Kaser History., 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 the Kaser History 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.

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

Although Joseph had been buried in the churchyard of 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 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.
  • Find a Grave, Elizabeth Stahler www.findagrave.com/memorial/77111754
  • 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

IMPORTANT UPDATE

It turns out that Adam Stahler (1747-1807) is NOT my 4th great grandfather.  I explain in detail elsewhere, but I have deleted what I wrote about him here. (Points 2 and 3 are still relevant.)

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.

 

New Start 1–Deleted

 

 

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.