First of all, I owe a great debt to my grandfather Demus C. Kizer (#17361) who in 1968 sparked my interest in genealogy by sharing his stories about growing up in rural Arkansas during the early 1900s. I was 11 years old at the time, and was fascinated hearing about all of the different families and how they were connected. I immediately started writing to my Kizer relatives, sent away for census records and Civil War pension files and have kept going ever since.
Eventually I reached a roadblock. I knew that my 4th-great grandfather Valentine Kizer (#1) had moved to Bedford County, Tennessee from somewhere in Virginia about 1812, but I couldn't find out anything more. In 1986, I got a letter from Virginia (Kiser) Womacks (#26941) of Springfield, Ohio, who suspected that Valentine was a long-lost brother of her 2nd-great-grandfather Jacob Kiser (#2). After exchanging some more information, we were able to confirm the connection. Virginia graciously provided me with a copy of her records relating to this large family.
In the time since then, I corresponded with many others who were researching the Kisers and related families. After moving to North Carolina in 1990, 1 took several trips to the Shenandoah Valley to see where these folks settled over 200 years earlier. My trips were greatly enriched by my Kiser relatives Melvin Miller (#62A321) of Stanley, Virginia and Jim Kiser (#2211153) of Woodstock, Virginia, who along with their wives took much of their time to show me all around the area and shared a large amount of their research.
The advent of the Internet and various online services like Prodigy and AOL has made a tremendous difference in helping researchers find each other, collaborate, and share information. Through the Internet, I was contacted by John W. East, whose wife Lois (Steppe) East (#6C7411) is a Kiser descendant. John and Lois's family had in their possession an original birth and baptism certificate dated to the early 1820s that provided crucial clues about the origins about the Kiser and Strole families, including the location in Germany where Christian Strole (#6/1) was born.
Jim Kiser (#2211153) has continued to pursue these and other clues about our Kiser origins and has done a tremendous amount of research into the records of Berks County, Pennsylvania. With the help of some of the clues in the Strole birth & baptism certificate from John East (#6C7411/1) which was translated with assistance from Wolf Sakowski, Jim recently identified our likely immigrant ancestor as the Valentine Kayser who brought his family from Rumpenheim, Hesse, Germany in 1750. As of this writing, Jim Kiser is examining a microfilm copy of the Reformed Church records from Rumpenheim to get a clearer picture of our Kiser (Kayser) family in Germany dating back to the 1500s.
Wolf Sakowski also recently found the birth and baptismal record for Christian Strole (Strohl) in the Rumpenheim Church records. (The birth year was 1754, rather than 1758 as stated in record from John East, but the names of the parents match exactly.)
Judy Campbell's Mt. View Research web site contains some extremely valuable abstracts of records from the Shenandoah Valley, including births, deaths, marriages, obituaries, and even coroner's inquests. I crossed checked my Kiser database against these abstracts and incorporated many additions and corrections as a result.
This Kiser web page would not have been possible without the contribution
of over a hundred other researchers over many years. During my 40+
years of research, I have tried to carefully document
the primary sources of each piece of information in my database
in order to validate the extensive research done by myself and many others.
I continue to be amazed and gratified at the sense of teamwork displayed
by other genealogists I have met. Hopefully this compilation will
help others now and in the future to carry on the work that has been done
Mark B. Arslan