Tag Archives: Holmes County Ohio

Random Ancestors: Susan Kaser, The Wild One

Try as I might to stay on track, I am easily distracted from my planned research path.  For instance, right now, I am trying to stick to the difficult tracing of the Smith family of Knox County, Ohio–family of a paternal great grandmother. One problem is Susan Kaser.

At the same time, however, I am trying to keep track of new DNA matches as they show up, and figure out how it is that I match them.  In order to find out how I match someone when Ancestry only gives me the vague 4th-6th cousin, high probability, or perhaps Ancestry gives me a list of names that match with the other person. Inevitably that includes a Smith, but some times it includes a list of eight different names, all of whom might be possibilities, so I have to track those families on my tree and on the tree of the person with whom I have a match.

Notice I said “I have to”.  That compulsion is not written in stone, but I simply can’t resist. This week I write about a couple of the people I chased through the forest of family trees.

The Wild One

Susan Kaser (also known as Susannah) 1st cousin 3x removed. Married (or maybe not) to a Lauer or Lower with whom she had a daughter named Rebecca and perhaps five other children. On Ancestry, I discovered a picture of Rebecca, the daughter (or one of the children) of Susan Kaser.

Rebecca Kaser Zaugg

Picture of Rebecca Kaser/Lauer Zaugg posted on Ancestry.com by pbeecy.

Before a DNA match showed up on Ancestry, I only had an intriguing note in the Kaser History that indicated that Susannah Kaser (1824-1907) had 6 or 7  children but had never married!  She was born in Holmes County Ohio and her parents  were Jonathan Kaser and Mary Stahler.

I learned that my DNA match, Barbara, was related to Susan Kaser. Barbara’s great- grandmother Rebecca Kaser/Lauer 1847-1928, married John Zaugg.  Rebecca was the daughter of Susan Kaser Lauer/Lower, according to the Barbara’s family. Records show her as either Rebecca Kaser or Rebecca Lauer or Lower.  This seems pretty conclusive, since Barbara had been told the family history by her grandmother. But more concretely, an 1880 census gives evidence that Rebecca Lauer was living with one of the Kaser families. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s family did not know the first name of Rebecca’s father. I dug more deeply into Susan Kaser’s history.

But which Susan Kaser?  I found a bewildering array of Susan (or Susannah) Kasers A few could be eliminated fairly easily because I could trace their life and they did not have a daughter named Rebecca or lived at the wrong time.

Susan Kaser note

Note about Susan Kaser from Barbara  her great-grand daughter. Written by Barbara’s aunt.

A note in Barbara’s trove of family pictures (above) said, “Rebecca’s mother raised by Indians.”  I really don’t take that literally for several reasons.  Mainly, Susan would have been born long after the American Indians had left Ohio.  I had heard that phrase many times when I was growing up in Ohio, and it meant something like “This kid is uncivilized (wild) and wasn’t raised properly.” A slur on both the American Indian and on the child (and the child’s parents.)

In the 1850 census “Susan Cacer” is listed at 25 years old as the (probable) oldest of the children of Jonathan “Cacer,” who is 45 years old and is a carpenter  the same as his father, my 3x great grandfather, Joseph Kaser (1776-1842). The 1850 and 1860 census reports do not indicate relationship to head of household, but applying logic to the ages of the children, place of residence and place of birth often will indicate the relationship. However, if this is the mother of Rebecca, who would have been three years old in 1850, where is the child? I have not found Rebecca in 1850.

Susan apparently moved on and left her daughter Rebecca behind, because in 1860, when she was 13, a Rebecca Lauer was living with Edward Kaser, presumably her uncle .  However, it looks as though when Susan needed a home, Rebecca Lauer Zaugg took in her mother. In 1880, Susan Kaser is shown in the home of Rebecca and her husband as “mother-in-law”. Oddly, her occupation is listed as “servant.”  Note she is still called Kaser which means either she never married the Lauer who was Rebecca’s father, or she reverted to her maiden name.

According to the Kaser History, Susan died in 1907, so I should be able to find her in a 1900 census, but no luck.

Beyond that, I’m still trying to track Susan, including a possible marriage to a man name Sheneman, with whom she might have had five children. I found probate papers for Susan Lower, Wayne County, Ohio, that named those Sheneman children, but did not name Rebecca.  (An addenda included a letter from a Rebecca Miller claiming kinship–wrong last name.)  That legal filing would explain the Kaser History assertion that she had 6 or 7 children–Rebecca plus five. Perhaps the author of the Kaser History saw those probate papers?  If true, that would have been very handy, however it just did not work when I looked at the individual Sheneman family members. Census reports for 1860 and 1870 showed that the Susan married to a Sheneman in Holmes County Ohio was not the right age.

So Susan, for the moment at least, I’m left with the Zaugg family opinion of you–” she was a character … and she even smoked a pipe.”

With all these loose ends, I fully expect to be returning to Susan Kaser some time in the future.

52 Ancestors: #5 Caroline Anderson–Sisterly Love

Today I will introduce my great grand aunt Caroline Anderson Bird (1846-1918), whose story is sometimes sketchy and confusing, but has one constant theme–sisterly love.

After detouring to introduce Erasmus Anderson last week, I am back to introducing the people in the picture taken at the Anderson farm in Holmes County Ohio in 1909. It was probably my Grandmother Vera Anderson’s 28th  birthday, May 23.

I admit to some confusion surrounding Caroline. For starters, my mother called her “Aunt Catherine” which had me searching for a non-existent person for some time. For another, I have no family stories about Caroline like I do about her siblings and parents. And most frustrating,many  records are missing. [UPDATE: Found the death record with her first name spelled as “Carolin”. She looks like such a calm, nurturing person in the photo, that I imagine she would not wish to cause confusion.

Caroline Anderson Bird

Family portrait. Caroline and Amy sitting side by side at the far left of the front row.

Caroline Anderson Bird and sister Amy

Inseparable Sisters – Catherine Anderson Bird and Amy Anderson Root–sisters of Joseph Anderson 1909

I mentioned Caroline before when I showed the Anderson family picture and related that mother told me that the two sisters, Caroline  and Amy Anderson Roof were inseparable. Although they look quite different in this picture, they lived parallel lives. They were 3 years apart in age, married within 2 years of each other, neither had children, and at one point they even moved to another state together with their husbands. Now THAT is sisterly love.

Amy (seen here on the right), was three years older than Caroline. When this picture was taken, Amy’s husband, Thomas Roof, had already died, but Caroline’s husband still lived.

Caroline was the youngest girl in the family.   Only Joseph (my great-grandfather who died before this picture froze the Andersons in time) and Frank were younger than Caroline.  She grew up on the Anderson farm in Monroe Township, near the Bird farms.  In the 1870 census, Caroline (23) is still living at home and Leonard Bird (21) is living in a hotel in nearby Millersburg.

The couple  had grown up as neighbors, and may very well have “double dated” with Amy and the young man named Bird that she was engaged to. Yes, the sisters were engaged to brothers. However, Amy broke off her engagement, as I related in her story, so the two sisters departed their parallel lives for once.  Leonard Bird married Caroline in November of 1870. Amy married Thomas Roof two years later.

(Although Caroline was the first to marry someone in the Bird Family, my grandfather Guy Anderson married Lillis Bird, who died very young.  In this picture, he is with his second wife, my grandmother, and their three babies, although his two children with LIllis–Telmar and Rhema are also in the picture.)

By the time of the 1880 census, Caroline and Leonard were living in Vermilion Illinois where he was farming and they had a hired hand living with them. Why Vermilion? Well, sister Amy and Thomas Roof  had moved to Vermilion, where Thomas was listed as a pharmacist. So apparently the inseparable sisters stayed together even after they were married–even though they didn’t marry brothers.

Both couples had returned to farms in Monroe Township, Holmes County Ohio by 1900. Whatever opportunities lured them to Illinois had lost their tarnish.  Caroline’s mother, Isabella Anderson (then 81)  moved from the home of Caroline’s brother William and was living with Caroline and Leonard. By now he was 50 and she was 54 and they  never had any children, so they were no doubt better situated to care for Isabella, who was losing her eyesight, than were William and his wife who had four children at home.

Back to the confusion about Caroline–I do not know why Leonard was not present for this family picture, since he was still alive.

It is possible that Leonard Bird was not at the Anderson farm that day because there was bad blood between Leonard  and my grandfather Guy Anderson. Guy is in the top row wearing a white shirt and skinny tie, and my grandmother, Vera Stout Anderson is directly below him, holding their youngest child.  Vera was Guy’s 2nd wife, but his first wife was Lillis Bird, a half-sister to Leonard.  According to one my relatives, some members of the family thought that Guy cheated on Lillis Bird and “she died of a broken heart”.  They greatly disapproved of his second marriage.

Or maybe I’m speculating too much and Leonard just was ill that day. Could be that the fact that it was Vera Anderson’s birthday had nothing to do with his absence.

I lose sight of Caroline and Leonard The 1910 census shows Amy and Leonard still living in Monroe Township–just the two of them. However,Leonard is listed as a widower in the 1920 census, so Caroline died in the same decade as her sister Amy, who departed in 1917, based on a story from my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser and the fact that Amy was in a photograph of the Lisle family, taken in 1916.

I have found no death record no tombstone for Caroline, and have no family stories that shed any light on whether Caroline or Amy departed first. There is no question that the two sisters were examples of sisterly love all their lives, so it seems only appropriate that they died within years–if not months–of each other.  UPDATE (Oct 2017):  The death record, spelling Caroline’s name incorrectly as ‘Carolin’ finally popped up on Family Search. She died 12 April, 1918 in Holmes County, Ohio.

FURTHER UPDATE:I also have learned from probate records that Leonard remarried before he died in 1925. It was a short marriage, since he was a widow in 1920’s census.  He was married in his family’s Weirich plot in Orrville Ohio. Still no record of Caroline/Carolin’s burial place.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher) is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson (Kaser) who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the nephew of
  • Caroline Anderson (Bird)

Notes on Research

(unless otherwise noted, information comes from Ancestry.com)

U. S. Federal Census reports for 1850, 1860, 1870, 1900, 1910 for Monroe Twp, Holmes Co, Ohio

U. S. Federal Census report for 1880, Grant Twp, Vermillion Co, Illinois

U. S. Indexed Property Map for Monroe Twp, Holmes Co, Ohio, 1907 with two parcels belonging to Caroline Bird.

Ohio Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” database and images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : 2010); citing vol. , certificate number , Ohio Historical Society, Columbus; Ohio Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus. (Found at Family Search.org)

Photographs are property of Author, with Lisle family photographs provided by Donna Lisle Hummrichouser.