Tag Archives: Ohio

52 Ancestors: #9 Joseph Kaser, What Is Your Story?

Joseph Kaser 1776-1842

Joseph Kaser, my 3x great grandfather, is the American patriarch of that extended Kaser family that we traced last week when I talked about his son,  George Kaser, moving from eastern Pennsylvania to Ohio.  This Joseph was the first of his Kaser family to be born in the United States.

Joseph was born on October 8, 1776, just three months after the United States declared independence from Great Britain. He died on Christmas day in 1842.

I like to find the story in my ancestors’ lives, but except for his interesting birth year and death date,  Joseph’s story is eluding me. So this is not a story. It is a collection of what I know so far.

The evidence for what I think I know about him is scanty, mostly coming from that pesky “Green Book” that I have referenced before–a Kaser Family genealogy that lacks evidence of its “facts.”  There are copious references to a Joseph Kaser in the church records of the Zionsville, Pennsylvania Lutheran Reform Church–mostly as the father of the baptized child. However, so far I have only seen the index, so don’t have enough information to swear that it is the Joseph we are looking for.

And there is a tombstone in the old cemetery of the Zion German Reformed Church (Now the Zion United Church of Christ)  at New Bedford, Coshocton Ohio.  The inscription would indicate his birthday was October 8, 1776, the year agreeing with the father of George Kaser according to the “Green Book.”

The same source (Green Book) lists his children, and many (at least the males) appear on census reports living close together, evidence that they are indeed members of his family.  And some of the names of those children show up on the Zionsville Reformed Church records with birth and baptism records.  But for some of the children, I have not discovered even that scant amount of evidence.

And I am totally at sea as to who his parents were. There are two possibilities, so I may not be writing about that for a while.

If the Green Book (G.B.) is correct, Joseph married Elizabeth Stahler , probably about 1798, as their first child, George Kaser, was born in February 1800. The Green Book says that they couple had nine children, all born in Pennsylvania. It seems that the children moved with them to Ohio by 1824 and all but two stayed in the area of Clark Ohio. Here’s why I’m not jumping to conclusions–the sources I have for each child include sometimes church records from Pennsylvania, Find a Grave or New Bedford cemetery records, and a few census reports–or the Green Book.

1800: George Kaser (G.B., Census reports 1840-1870)

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)

In addition to these nine children, the Green Book lists a ‘Tom’ with unknown birth date and a child whose name and birth date are unknown.  It is possible these could be infant deaths, but again, I have no proof.

I believe the image below this is the correct Joseph on the 1840 census in German Township, Holmes County. I think of these early census reports as the “chicken scratch” censuses.  Even though the census reports before 1850 list by name only the head of household, and that complicates life for the researcher, a little detective work indicates that this George Kaiser and the nearby Joseph Kaisers are George Kaser, his son Joseph and his father Joseph. The columns represent ages 0-5;6-10;11-15;16-20;21-30;31-40;41-50;51-60;61-70;71-80;81-90;91-100;100-upwards. The first half of the page counts males the second half females.

Joseph Kaser

1840 United States Census, German Twp, Holmes County, Ohio

The bottom Joseph Kaser shows a male (left half of the page) of between 60 and 70 and a female of the same age.  That matches Joseph and his wife Elizabeth.  The second male is between 20 and 29.  Sons George, Joseph, Timothy and William are all accounted for on this same census.  Andrew (or Anthony) would be thirty or over.  That leaves Nathan, who would have been 26 years old.  From other data, I know that Nathan lived at home and did not marry until in his 30s, so I conclude that the third person in “grandpa” Joseph’s household is his son Nathan.

It is possible that this Joseph is also listed on the 1830 census in the same location, but the chicken scratches are a bit more difficult to convert into real family members in that census, so I’m holding off on using that.

If I’m tracking the correct Joseph Kaser, born in 1776, then this must be his tombstone in the Zion Reform Church in New Bedford, Ohio (Now Zion U.C.C.).

Grave of Joseph Kaser

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

I am hoping that more cousins may see this and may be able to add more definitive information.

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

  • 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
  • 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.


52 Ancestors: #8 The Values of George Kaser

George Kaser b. 1800- d. After 1870

My great-great grandfather, George Kaser was a mystery to me until an accidental discovery, which I described last week when talking about my great-grandfather Joseph Kaser II.  That discovery led to several more records unmistakably George.

While our ancestors always remain something of a mystery–particularly without journals and letters to hear their voices, the bare facts of census reports and church records have shown me where George Kaser’s loyalties lay.  He stayed loyal to his extended family. He was loyal to his culture and the German language. He was a supporter of his church.

Baptism church of George, listed in the Kaser Genealogy Book as Zions Lutheran Church, Zionsville, PA.

This is a huge help, since those records as indexed include lots of the Kaser names we’re working on, but to see the entire record, I’ll need to go to the LDS Family Research Center. The index tells me that George was born on February 2, 1800 and baptized on April 11, 1800 at Zions Lutheran Church, a German Reform congregation in Zionsville, Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.The history of that church is here.


George’s grandparents had emigrated not too long before his father Joseph Kaser I was born.*  Although I have not looked for immigration records yet, it seems obvious that the family first arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  Philadelphia’s Independence Seaport Museum has numerous displays of great interest, particularly if your ancestors arrived through Pennsylvania’s port.  When I visitied a few years ago, museum personnel had to come looking for me and persuade me to leave at closing time because I was lost in time looking at exhibits of the people of many nations who poured into Philadelphia in the 18th and 19th centuries. (And that was BEFORE I started exploring my own family history.)  Follow this link if you want to visit the museum on line, or plan an in-person visit.

Many of the German families who arrived in Philadelphia had no love for the city.  They were farmers, looking for fertile soil and abundant timber.  Most moved further inland to Lehigh County, first settled by German immigrants in 1735.

There they could build their own log churches in peace, rather than be harassed as they had been in Germany for rebelling against the “high church.”  They could live comfortably with their own customs and their own German language.

The first schools were started by the churches.  Almost all the churches in the area had only German language services and general classes were likewise taught in German. In fact, the first English-speaking services were not conducted until 1891– long after George and his family had moved to Eastern Pennsylvania.

It seems clear that my second great-grandfather, George Kaser, did not speak English at all, unless his younger children, who attended bi-lingual schools taught him a bit.


About 1823, the twenty-three-year-old George Kaser married a woman named Lydia, who may have been twenty at the time. She also had been born in Pennsylvania.


Pennsylvania Counties map from Rootsweb.

By the following year when their son Joseph II (my great-grandfather) was born, the family had moved to Baden, Beaver County, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. On the map above, you can see the county designated as LEH (Lehigh) on the right and BEA (Beaver) on the far left of the map.  Because of the pattern of this family’s relocations, I will assume that his father, mother and siblings moved across the state at the same time and all settled in Baden together. And it is a good thing they had a big family to help. You see that purplish color in the map below?  That’s the Appalachian Mountains.  And they would have been crossing them on foot, or at the most with a few wagons for the oldest and youngest family members.  “Big Deal. Just moving across the state, you think?”  Think again.


Pennsylvania Relief Map by United States Geological Survey (USGS)

It is quite possible that deed records may show that the family never actually lived in Beaver County, but only paused their briefly so that Lydia could give birth, because all the rest of George and Lydia’s children were born in Ohio. If that is the case, Lydia was traveling in her last weeks of pregnancy on this difficult journey.

As is usually the case in these pioneer families, the children came at approximately two-year intervals, six boys and three girls by 1840.  The exception was the last child, Samuel, born four years after his nearest sibling in 1840, when Lydia was about 40 years old. A surprise child!

At any rate the family moved ultimately to an area on the border of Holmes and Coshocton Counties in Ohio.  At the time of the 1840 census, George’s father Joseph and his wife, George’s three brothers Joseph Jr., Timothy and William are all living near George, on adjoining farms near Bloomfield (Clark), Ohio. The town straddles the Holmes/Coshocton County line.

Although Ohio had become a state in 1803, it was still a rough land when the Kaser families arrived.  The History of Coshocton County points out that as late as 1835 there were still chunks of “unentered” (in other words, wild, unclaimed) land in the county.  They go on to point out that the county’s populations was almost entirely German.


Once again clinging to their culture and their German Reform church, the Kaser clan attended the Zions Reformed Church (now Zion United Church of Christ) in New Bedford, Coshocton County, Ohio. At that time the church was a log building. A new building was built in 1858, and the building that stands today was built in 1889.

Church, New Bedford OH

Zions United Church of Christ/Zions Reform Church, New Bedford, Ohio.

Several of the Kaser burials in Ohio are at a Zions Reform Church. (39 listed on Find A Grave.com) You can see their cemetery plot map here:  (Actually, I was unable to get it to download, so wish you luck. If you decide to visit them, I’m sure you can get a hard copy.)

New Bedford, Ohio is in the northern part of Coshocton County, near Holmes County and logical destination for people who lived around Bloomfield (later called Clark). The Coshocton County history (written in 1881) points out that most of the residents of the township that includes New Bedford were German. and 4 of the 5 churches had services only in German. Plus three more churches just over the line from the township boundary also were German-speaking churches. The New Bedford Zions Reformed Church did not hold all English services until the 1880s.


Life was rough, but the Kasers seemed to prosper (and multiply!).  Twenty years or so after arriving in the wilderness Ohio, the 1850 agricultural census lists George’s assets at a cash value of $1880, while farms around him are valued at $100-$1500.  He had 55 improved and 30 unimproved acres and owns 4 horses, 4 milch cows, 2 other cattle, 18 sheep and 11 pigs.  He raises wheat, Indian Corn and oats.

Seven of Lydia and George’s children are still living at home in 1850, and son Joseph II lives next door in German Township (Later called Clark Township), Holmes County.  Also nearby is George’s brother Joseph Jr.  George’s son Daniel has moved with his 15-year-old wife and infant.  He is working as a blacksmith, but still has a few acres for his two cows and two sheep–necessities of the self-sufficient rural life.

By the time he is 60, George’s holdings have increased in value to $3000, now listed in Clark Township, Coshocton County.  Besides his wife Lydia, his sons George Jr. (23) and Samuel and his daughter Lydia (16) are still living at home.  Sons Charles, Thomas and Joseph all live adjacent and Daniel’s holdings on his farm in Holmes County are increasing. Daughter Rebecca lives with a widower who lives nearby, probably caring for his children.

In 1870, I find George Kaeper (probably misspelling of the original German Kaesser) at 70 years old  living in Monroe Township, Coshocton County with his now 30-year-old son George Jr. and his 26-year-old daughter Lydia.  I will talk about Rebecca and other family members in a separate post.  But George’s wife Lydia is no longer listed.  Apparently she died sometime between 1860 and 1870.  Sons Samuel and Charles live on adjacent farms and Joseph lives nearby over the line in Holmes County.

Although he seems to be moving around, George may well have stayed in the same place while county lines changed, or his farm might have extended over the county line and was sometimes counted in one place and sometimes in another.

Here are the Holmes and Coshocton maps of counties by today’s names. (Clark, Holmes, was previously called German). To line them up, Crawford Township, Coshocton should be directly south of Holmes Clark Township.

Homes County Ohio Coshocton County Ohio

The 1870 Census is the last record I have found of George, so he probably died some time in his 70s.

*I am calling George’s father Joseph I to differentiate him from George’s son, Joseph II and George’s brother, Joseph Jr.


  • Joseph II, b. 1824 in PA, named for his paternal grandfather and George’s brother.
  • Daniel, born 1827 in Ohio
  • Thomas, born 1828 in Ohio
  • Ann (Emma) born 1830 in Ohio
  • Rebecca, Born 1832 in Ohio
  • Charles, Born 1834 in Ohio
  • George Jr., Born 1838 in Ohio
  • Lydia (Jr.), Born 1840 in Ohio
  • Samuel, Born 1844 in Ohio

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

Notes on Research

  • The “Kaser Genealogy” 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.
  • History of Coshocton County Ohio: Its Past and Present 1740-1881 (1881) by Albert Adams Graham. Available on line at Google Books.
  • A History of Lehigh County Pennsylvania from the earliest settlement to the present times, including much valuable information for the use of schools, families, librarians (1902). James J. Hauser, Available on line at Google Books.
  • Pennsylvania County Map: Rootsweb
  • Zions Lutheran Church, Zionsville, PA index of records at Ancestry.com
  • Birth and Death records from census and Find a Grave through Ancestry.com
  • Other websites linked in the article.

52 Ancestors #7 Finding Joseph Kaser the Carpenter

Joseph Kaser II (1827- Circa 1893)

Do you remember the beautiful miniature chest made by my great-grandfather Joseph the carpenter?

Joseph Kaser's carpentry

Great Grandfather Joseph Kaser made this handkerchief chest.

Last year I wrote about him and the beautiful handkerchief chest I inherited.  But I did not know much about him or any of my father’s line before Joseph.  I knew he was the father of my paternal grandfather, Clifford Kaser, and I knew the names of his children and that he lived in Clark, Ohio when Clifford, next to youngest of seven children. I knew that Joseph was born in Pennsylvania. But what a difference a year makes. (See notes at the end for some of the details and hardships of the search.)

My great-grandfather, Joseph Kaser II was named for his paternal grandfather, Joseph Kaser, whose father may have arrived in America nine years before he was born–but that’s another kettle of fish for next time. Joseph II’s father was George Kaser (possible Johann George Kaser). The proliferation of Joseph’s and George’s in the family contributed to my hair rapidly turning even grayer. (He did not refer to himself as Joseph II. I am doing that to help keep straight the various Josephs.)

Joseph’s birth year could be 1824 (G.B.), 1825, 1827 or 1830 according to which Census record I choose to believe. Based on the names of spouse and children, despite spellings of Kaser, Caser, Kazer and Kaiser–the reports are all referring to my great-grandfather. He was born in Baden, a small village in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, now part of metropolitan Pittsburgh. (mistakenly listed as the place of birth: state, territory or country: Baden” in the 1870 census). So much for census records being irrefutable sources of information!

At some time prior to 1847, he had moved with his father and mother and family to Ohio where he met Catherine Samsel (Sampsel), who was born in Ohio.  Joseph and Catherine were married on August 17, 1847 (*G.B.) when she was 18 and he was about 20 years old. They lived next to his father George, probably in a house they built on George’s farm.

The family farms (for several of Joseph’s brothers would wind up living in a row) lay near Clark, Ohio.  Clark is an unincorporated town split by the county line between Coshocton County and Holmes County Ohio. Clark was originally called Bloomfield.  And the Holmes County portion lay in German Township, an unsavory name when World War I came along–so it became Clark Township.  That means that without going anywhere, they might be listed as living in Bloomfield, Clark Township, Coshocton, Ohio, or German Township, Holmes County, Ohio or a few other variations.

The population of German Township had swelled from 246 in 1830 to 703 by 1840. The settlers were mostly German or German Swiss who were fleeing religious persecution in their native lands.  Most of the new arrivals had first settled in western Pennsylvania and then later moved across the Ohio River into Ohio.

In 1842 the town boasted a store and by 1854, two physicians.  What they could not get in Clark, they could find in nearby Killbuck, Holmes County, which held several blacksmith shops and other necessities of life.

Joseph and Catharine continued to live next door to papa George Kaser and his wife Lydia as their children arrived.

  • 1849: Susan (Named for Joseph’s sister Susannah)
  • 1852: Cornelius
  • 1853: David
  • 1855: Johnathan
  • 1864: Anna (known as Emma, possibly named for Joseph’s sister Ann.)
  • 1867: Clifford (my great-grandfather. Another Clifford is the grandson of Joseph’s brother, Daniel.)
  • 1870: Edward

There was a school a mile outside of town in 1850, and private schools and classes at churches taught in German as well as English. As far as I have been able to learn, the children’s education stopped at 8th grade.  The boys started working as laborers when they became teens.

By 1850, Joseph is established as a carpenter. Several of his brothers are carpenters as well, a talent prevalent among the German Swiss Mennonite population of the area even today.  In 1860, Joseph is listed as a miller.  Perhaps the Civil War created more demand for a miller than for a carpenter?

It appears that none of Joseph’s younger brothers fought in the Civil War, although George and Samuel would have been the right age.  Perhaps the family were conscientious objectors.

Before the baby of the family came along, Susan had married and Cornelius had gone to work as a farm laborer for another family nearby. In 1870, when he is 19, Cornelius is listed with the Graham Family in Clark.

The next son, David, stays with his parents even after he is married in June, 1880, but later moves out on his own and tries various vocations. Johnathan also lives at home until he is married  in 1883, although he is working “outside” as a day laborer. Even after he is married with several children, his occupation continues to be day laborer.

Joseph Kaser II seemed to do well in the world, accumulating some wealth, no doubt some of it from the farm, but also from his carpentry and his short stint as a miller. Since he and his brothers stayed clustered together near their father, and several of Joseph’s sons also stayed in the same area, it is ironic that the closeness of the Kaser clan did not continue into my father’s generation, leaving me with so many questions about my Kaser ancestry.

The Kaser Geneaology * states that Joseph died on January 12, 1893, but I have no other verification of his death date.  His wife, Catherine, outlived him by at nearly 20 years if the Kaser Genealogy is correct, dying in 1910 (G.B.).

Notes on the Research

Last year, having decided that great-grandfather Joseph was a dead end, and my Kaser research was stuck in Pennsylvania in the 1820s in Pennsylvania, I moved over to tracing my mother’s line.  Before I left the Kasers, I had found an 1850 census that showed a George Kaser living next door to a Joseph Kaser.  This George was the right age to be Joseph’s father and Joseph would fit neatly into the line of births in the family.  But I could not easily locate more information, so I closed the Kaser file.

Breakthrough #1

It turns out that the 1850 census was just the first breakthrough, and would be proven to indeed be a father and son–not to mention other sons–who lived in a row.

Breatkthrough #2

A few months ago, the second breakthrough came when a Kaser cousin got in touch through Facebook.  She owns a copy of what we call *”the Green Book” (G.B.), a Kaser family lineage book.  While some of the information in the book is proving to be shaky, it did confirm the names of Joseph’s brothers and sisters   (my paternal grandfather Cliff Kaser’s uncles and aunts) as well as the names of Joseph’s children–Clifford Kaser’s siblings.  The facts matched up with the little bit my father had told me, years ago.

The Green Book traces the Kasers back to Europe, but tells two contrasting stories, so like most research finds it presents new puzzles along with some answers.

Breakthrough #3

Finally, after look for Kaser, Caser, Kaiser, Kayser, Kaiser and other variant spellings, I discovered a George Kaeper in the 1870 census that proved to be my great-great-grandfather George Kaser.  I would never have searched for that spelling, but I used one of genealogists favorite tricks.  When you find a known family member in a document like a census record, read all the pages surrounding the record to see if relationships jump out.

I found Samuel Kaser (27), family #95 next to Charles Kaser (35) Family #96 in Monroe Township, Coshocton County, Ohio and there at family #94 was George Kaeper. George Kaser was the father of Samuel and Charles, and Joseph.

Kasers in 1870 Census

1870 U S Census for Clark Twp Coshocton County

So where was Joseph? Doing a search for variant spellings, I found Joseph Kaeser in Clark Township, Coshocton County, the neighboring township (family #86). It is even possible that the township line split George’s farm between counties. All these families are confirmed to be the right people by ages and other family members listed with them, and I know that they had a habit of living close to each other.

In 1860 George and sons Charles, Thomas and Joseph all listed with the last name spelled Caser, are living in a line in German Township.

Joseph Kaser family in census

1860 U. S. census for German Township, Coshocton County Ohio

Other Sources

I have checked an online copy of History of Coshocton County: Its Past and Present, 1740-1881, by A. A. Graham (1881).  Available at Google Books.

Birth and death dates from “the Green Book” were sometimes verifiable at Ancestry.com through Ohio on line records, where they have not been confirmed, I have noted (G.B.) beside the information.

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.