Many of the Kiser families in the USA trace their ancestry to this couple, who were married in or near Berks County, Pennsylvania in the 1750s. This web site is intended to be a compendium of the research done on Michael and Mary Kiser and their descendants. Much has been published on this family in various Virginia historical books and family histories, some of it accurate, some not so accurate. As is often the case with family histories, once something is in print, it often is considered to be "gospel". It is my hope that this web site will facilitate a critical examination and discussion of the facts, legends, and myths surrounding this Kiser family and to allow us Kiser researchers and descendants to learn more about our origins and our relatives' contributions to early America. The best way to separate fact from fiction and to resolve conflicting information is to go back to the primary sources (see Documenting Your Genealogy Research - Guide to Citing Sources). These include records of marriages, births, deaths, and burials, census listings, Bible records, tax lists, probate and land records, etc. The information in the descendant listings on this web site will include documentation of the primary sources as much as possible, and transcriptions of many of those sources will be presented in links below. This is a working document and not necessarily definitive, since much of it is based upon information found on the Internet or in published secondary sources. It will be modified and (hopefully) improved as more researchers provide input and, most importantly, evidence.
Michael Kiser, his wife Mary, and their ten children came to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1783, the year that the American Revolution ended. They purchased 1030 acres of land along the south fork of the Shenandoah River in what was then Rockingham County. The current location, as far as we know, is in the bend of the river directly to the west of Grove Hill in the Shenandoah Iron Works District of southern Page County. (Page County was formed from Shenandoah and Rockingham Counties in 1831.)
They were married in the 1750s in southeastern Pennsylvania (in or near Berks County). Both were children of recent German immigrants. Michael's father was most likely Valentine Kayser, who was from Rumpenheim, Hesse, Germany (just northeast of present-day Frankfurt). (The spelling of the surname is not consistent in the early records because the communities in which they lived were largely German-speaking and the names were in the process of being Anglicized. Mary's given name was Anna Maria and Michael was probably Johann Michael.)
On 13 August 1750 aboard the ship Edinburgh, Valentine Kayser (b. 1696) arrived in Philadelphia from Rumpenheim, Germany, probably with his wife and three children. Prior to leaving the principality of Hessen-Hanau, Germany (where Rumpenheim was located), Valentine (according to German law) had to obtain permission to leave from the "Privy Council". His petition to leave was granted in February 1750. A transcript of the interview reveals that he was 54 years old, of the Reformed faith, and was in possession of 800 guldens (gold coins). The names of his three children were not mentioned in the transcript nor were they on the ship passenger list, but baptismal and confirmation records of the Reformed church in Rumpenheim list several of Valentine's children, including Johann Michael (baptized 10 Febuary 1735).
The church records of Rumpenheim are currently being researched by James V. "Jim" Kiser, of Woodstock, Virginia, and Wolf Sakowski and Earl Kisling, of San Pablo, California. Based on what has been found so far in the Rumpenheim records (Rich Format Text document; 21 KB; 6 Oct 1998) , here is a very tentative listing of descendants(text file; 21 KB; 12 Jul 1998) of Michael Kiser's probable great-great-grandfather Johann Kayser (born about 1575). For those of you who would like to join in the Rumpenheim research, you can view the microfilmed records of the Rumpenheim Evangelical Reformed Church on the Mormon (LDS) film number 1272428, which you can order through one of their local history centers.
There were several immigrants of the name Valentine Kayser (Keiser, Keyser, etc.) who settled in this part of Pennsylvania in the early to mid-1700s. It has been assumed by many researchers of this family that our Michael Kiser was a son of Valentine Keiser and his wife Agnes, who arrived in Philadelphia on 17 August 1729 aboard the English ship Mortonhouse. However, no proof of that relationship is known, and Valentine and Agnes continued to live in the Northampton/Lehigh County area of Pennsylvania when Michael's father Valentine was living in Berks County, Pennsylvania in the 1750s and early 1760s. (More on this later ...).
Likewise, Mary's parents were assumed to be Jacob Lingel and Anna Ursula Banckard, who arrived in Philadelphia a few years later on 26 September 1737 on the English ship St. Andrews Galley. The Lingel family settled in the area that is now near northern Montgomery and southern Lehigh Counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. (Click here for a chart of Kiser and Lingel ancestors. )
To my knowledge, there is no proof of the Lingel parentage, either. (If anyone knows of any primary source material to support either the Valentine/Agnes or Lingel theories, please send it to me and I will post it on this web page.)
A very important document has recently come to light stating that Mary's maiden name was Eppert, not Lingel. This document, a birth and baptism certificate for the family of Christian Strole and his wife Elizabeth Kiser (daughter of Michael and Mary Kiser) was written in the 1820s (in old German script) and is one of the most important primary sources of information in existence regarding our Kiser family! It proves that Elizabeth was born in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1769, gives the names of all of the children of Michael and Mary Kiser, and identifies Michael's father as Valentine. These facts are confirmed by other sources, so the question is whether or not the following statement about Mary's parentage is accurate:
German: "Ihre Mutter war Maria Kayser eine Tochter von ----- Eppert
English: "Her mother was Maria Kayser a daughter of ----- Eppert ..."
The surnames and look a bit strange, since the German script of that time was significantly different than modern English script. For a translation of the complete document, see Translation of Birth & Baptism Certificate of Christian Strole & Family (MS Word 7 document; 20 KB; 24 Mar 2000) . If you wish to see an image of the complete document, click here (GIF file; 817 KB; 25 Jan 1998). (Any critique or further analysis of this document and my translation are welcomed.)
Unfortunately, no marriage of Michael Kiser to Anna Maria Eppert (or Lingel) has been found.
The first appearance of our Michael Kiser is a land warrant dated 1 May 1751, in which he warranted "30 acres" of land adjoining Peter Tresler [Dressler] and Jost Hetrick in Heidelberg Township in what was then Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. When Berks County was formed in 1752, this land went with it. A subsequent survey of the land on 23 March 1761, showed it to contain 55 acres, 118 perches. (A perch is 1/160th of an acre.) Previously, on 7 October 1750, a Valentine Keiser bought two tracts of land from Hans George Minheer of 101.5 acres and 45 acres that adjoined the land purchased by Michael K(e)iser. A Land Grant Map of Lower Heidelberg Township ( GIF file; 68 KB; 7 Feb 1998). shows the relative locations of these parcels of land. (Valentine's two tracts were parcels 5 and 5A; Michael's was parcel 8.) (The baptism of Johann Michael Kayser in Rumpenheim in February 1735, and his confirmation there in 1749 at "age 15", make his birth date possibly in late 1734. This would make him only 16 or 17 years old at the time of the 1751 land warrant in Heidelberg Township. Was someone this age allowed to warrant land in Pennsylvania in the colonial period?)
In 1763, Michael and his family moved about 15 miles southeast to Cumru Township in Berks County, where they eventually purchased 234.5 acres of land. (See Berks County, PA deeds.) A 1764 deed is important in that it proves that the Valentine Keiser who purchased the Heidelberg Township land in 1750 was Michael's father. In that document, Michael (who had in 1762 been conveyed the two tracts of Heidelberg Township land by his father), deeded the land in trust to John Heckart, guardian of Michael Sommerladie and Valentine Sommerladie, minor children of Michael's sister Catharine. She had been married to Jonas Sommerladie, of Heidelberg Township, who died around February 1759. She remarried to Jacob Mohr, of Heidelberg Township. (No more is known about Catharine. Her son Valentine Sommerladie moved to Mahanoy Township, Northumberland Co., Pennsylvania by 1780 and was there at the time of the 1800 census. Was this Catharine the Anna Catharina who was born in Rumpenheim in 1732? See Sommerladie records (Rich Format Text document; 13 KB; 6 Oct 1998).)
All of the ten children (five daughters and five sons) of Michael and Mary Kiser were probably born in Berks County. Michael served in the American Revolution in Capt. Philip Krick's 8th Company, Fourth Battalion, Pennsylvania. His name appears on a list of fines assessed in the years 1777-1778 for being absent from muster or drill.
In 1782, Michael Kiser purchased the indenture of a recently capture Hessian soldier named Christian Strohl (Strole). Some time later, Michael released Christian from his obligations and Christian then married (in 1788) Michael's daughter Elizabeth. Christian Strohl was born in Rumpenheim, Hesse, Germany on 31 August 1754, a son of Johann Peter Strohl and Anna Margaretha Seybel. The Reformed Lutheran church records from Rumpenheim show that the Kayser and Strohl families lived near each other, attended the same church, intermarried, and witnessed each other's baptisms. The Strole birth and baptism certificate (see above) shows that Christian Strole was confirmed at this church in Rumpenheim in the spring of 1772. It appears possible that Michael purchased Christian's indenture and subsequently freed him because their families were closely linked in Germany.
At the time of Michael and Mary Kiser's departure from Pennsylvania in 1783, only their oldest son Valentine was married. He and his new wife Catherine Stiehl accompanied Michael and Mary Kiser and their other nine children to their new home about 150 miles to the southwest in Virginia.
There does appear to be a Kiser/Eppert linkage in Rockingham County, Virginia. In the Land Tax List of 1792, John Eppard, Jr. first appeared, having purchased 100 acres of land from Michael Kiser! In 1796, Andrew Erbart/Eperd/Eppert/Ebert/etc. first appeared, having purchased 88 acres of land, again from Michael Kiser. See Rockingham Co., VA Notes (Adobe Acrobat document; 235 KB; 21 Feb 2004) . When Andrew Eppert left a will and died in 1804, his witnesses were Jacob Kiser and Daniel Kiser (sons of Michael Kiser). Who were John and Andrew Eppert? Could they have been brothers to Michael Kiser's wife Mary? These were the only landholders with the surname Eppert (and its variations) in the part of Rockingham County (later Page County) where Michael and Mary Kiser lived during the late 1700s. Furthermore, there was a John Ebbert living in Bern Twp. in Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1752, at the time that Michael Kiser was living in adjacent Heidelberg Twp. Could this John Ebbert have been the father of John, Jr. and Andrew, who moved to Rockingham County, Virginia in the 1790s? Did John Ebbert leave a will?
Document in Michael Kiser's handwriting, with his signature, accompanying the 1788 marriage bond of his daughter Catharine to Martin Kite (with Jacob Spotts as bondsman): "Einen gruss an dich Jacob Spats sey so gut und gehe mit dem Marthin Keit zu dem Klerck das er ein leissen grickt so viel von deinen schwer Michal Keiser; translation: "A greeting to you Jacob Spats, Be so good and go with Marthin Keit to the clerk so he can get a license. So much from your father-in-law Michal Keiser" (thanks to Alan Keyser for the translation). Note that Michael spells his surname "Keiser".
Michael and Mary would remain in Rockingham County for the rest of their lives. He died in 1798; she in 1805. Michael's will can be found in Rockingham County, VA Minute Book 4, pp. 175-176.
Many of their descendants lived in present-day Page and Rockingham Counties, although most of the descendants carrying the Kiser surname (and its variations) moved elsewhere. Over 25,000 descendants have been identified. Of the 8,886 known descendants in the first five generations (children through great-great-great-grandchildren), the most common surnames were Kiser (Kizer, Keiser) (1,021), Kite (642), Strole (337), Foltz (276), Dovel (Dovell) (231), Huffman (Huffmon) (200), Spotts (162), Coiner (Koiner) (145), and Gant (137), comprising 35.5% of the descendants. A study of this family shows how the population of post-Revolutionary America increased so quickly. Michael and Mary Kiser had 10 children, 95 grandchildren, and 627 great-grandchildren. Here are listings of descendants (through five generations).
[Note: To view the Adobe Acrobat files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This can be downloaded free from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. You can download the files to your disk to view them, or use your web browser with the appropriate plug-ins.]
Children of Michael Kiser & Anna Maria "Mary" Eppert|Lingel (Adobe Acrobat document; 88 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
Descendants of Valentine Kizer (#1) & Catherine
Stiehl & Nancy Berry (Adobe Acrobat
document; 1,829 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
GEDCOM (GEDCOM file; 1,109 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
Descendants of Jacob Kiser (#2) & Elizabeth Kissling (Adobe Acrobat document; 714 KB; 1 Sep 2003)
Descendants of Anna Maria Kiser (#3) & Jacob Spotts (Adobe Acrobat document; 365 KB; 2 Nov 2003)
Descendants of Catharine Kiser (#4) & Martin Kite (Adobe Acrobat document; 961 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
Descendants of Philip Kiser (#5) & Elizabeth Kite (Adobe Acrobat document; 323 KB; 21 Feb 2004)
Descendants of Elizabeth Kiser (#6) & Christian Martin Strole (Adobe Acrobat document; 690 KB; 1 Aug 2004)
Descendants of Mary Magdalena Kiser (#7) & John Shuler & Abraham Step (Adobe Acrobat document; 436 KB; 26 Aug 2004)
Descendants of John Kiser (#8) & Margaret Null (Adobe Acrobat document; 464 KB; 30 Sep 2004)
Descendants of Eve Kiser (#9) & Henry Pirkey (Adobe Acrobat document; 255 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
Descendants of Daniel Keiser (#A) & Mary Ann Koiner (Adobe Acrobat document; 338 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
1810 (Adobe Acrobat document; 109 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
1820 (Adobe Acrobat document; 53 KB; 30 Dec 2009)
1830 (Adobe Acrobat document; 91 KB; 30 Dec 2009)
1840 (Adobe Acrobat document; 128 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
1850 (Adobe Acrobat document; 936 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
1860 (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,272 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
1870 (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,710 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
1880 (Adobe Acrobat document; 3,787 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
1900 (Adobe Acrobat document; 4,845 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
1910 (Adobe Acrobat document; 7,174 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
1920 (Adobe Acrobat document; 11,457 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
1930 (Adobe Acrobat document; 5,675 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
1885 Colorado (Adobe Acrobat document; 95 KB; 1 Jul 2003)
1856 Iowa (Adobe Acrobat document; 83 KB; 8 Aug 2003)
1885 Iowa (Adobe Acrobat document; 111 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
1885 Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 68 KB; 3 Nov 2002)
1895 Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 82 KB; 4 Nov 2002)
1885 Nebraska (Adobe Acrobat document; 102 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
Alabama (Adobe Acrobat document; 9 KB; 26 Jun 2010)
Arizona (Adobe Acrobat document; 8 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Arkansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 167 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
California (Adobe Acrobat document; 454 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Colorado (Adobe Acrobat document; 155 KB; 30 Sep 2004)
Florida (Adobe Acrobat document; 15 KB; 5 Apr 2010)
Georgia (Adobe Acrobat document; 93 KB; 25 Dec 2003)
Idaho (Adobe Acrobat document; 131 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
Illinois (Adobe Acrobat document; 299 KB; 24 Jul 2010)
Indiana (Adobe Acrobat document; 254 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
Iowa (Adobe Acrobat document; 506 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 161 KB; 1 Aug 2004)
Missouri (Adobe Acrobat document; 273 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Montana (Adobe Acrobat document; 96 KB; 5 Jul 2004)
Nebraska (Adobe Acrobat document; 120 KB; 22 Oct 2004)
Nevada (Adobe Acrobat document; 9 KB; 25 Apr 2010)
New Jersey (Adobe Acrobat document; 123 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
New Mexico (Adobe Acrobat document; 36 KB; 25 Apr 2010)
New York (Adobe Acrobat document; 127 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
North Carolina (Adobe Acrobat document; 73 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
Ohio (Adobe Acrobat document; 220 KB; 5 Jul 2004)
Oklahoma (Adobe Acrobat document; 32 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Oregon (Adobe Acrobat document; 108 KB; 9 Dec 2004)
Pennsylvania (Adobe Acrobat document; 150 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
South Carolina (Adobe Acrobat document; 92 KB; 5 Jul 2004)
South Dakota (Adobe Acrobat document; 113 KB; 30 Sep 2004)
Tennessee (Adobe Acrobat document; 416 KB; 26 Jun 2011)
Texas (Adobe Acrobat document; 892 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Utah (Adobe Acrobat document; 107 KB; 30 Sep 2004)
Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 189 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Augusta Co., Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 217 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
Page Co., Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 108 KB; 30 Dec 2009)
Page Co., Virginia Obituaries (Adobe Acrobat document; 528 KB; 26 Aug 2004)
Rockbridge Co., Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 176 KB; 3 Nov 2002)
Rockingham Co., Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 490 KB; 16 Feb 2008)
World War 1 Draft Registrations (Adobe Acrobat document; 827 KB; 21 Jun 2011)
Miscellaneous (Adobe Acrobat document; 134 KB; 5 Jul 2004)
Biography of William M. Kizer (#173) (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,439 KB; 30 Dec 2009)
Excerpts from Ups and Downs of a Confederate Soldier, by James Huffman (#6A4) (text file; 6 KB; 22 Apr 1999)
This Kiser family should not be confused with the Charles Keyser family of Shenandoah and Page Counties, Virginia. They are apparently not related to Michael Kiser, although some of Charles Keyser's descendants did intermarry with our Kiser descendants. Michael's descendants did vary the spelling of the Kiser surname as Keiser and Kizer, but I've not found any of our branches that spelled it Keyser.
A new tool in genealogical research is the use of genetic markers in DNA to establish family relationships. See Genetics, DNA and Health History. The Y-chromosome is passed down from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc. along the male line (as are surnames in many modern western societies). Occasionally, due to random mutations, one or more of the genetic markers may change in an individual and be passed down to his son that way (similar to a surname changing from Kiser to Kizer or Keiser). Standard tests are available (based on a cheek swab) to identify 12, 37, 67, or 111 markers on the Y-chromosome. (The more the markers, the more precise the idenfication; I strongly suggest 37 or more markers, in order to be useful for genealogical purposes.) All direct male descendants of Michael Kiser would have a very similar, if not identical, set of markers (or haplotype). Someone with a surname of Kiser (or some variation), whether or not they had done in-depth genealogical research, could compare their haplotype to known Michael Kiser direct male descendants see if they were likely to be a direct male descendant of Michael Kiser. Likewise, the Michael Kiser haplotype could be compared to haplotypes of other families, like that of Charles Keyser (above), to see if these families were closely related in Germany. I would like to establish a confidential database of haplotypes of Michael Kiser's direct male descendants to give us a tool to identify Michael Kiser descendants and to find closely related Kiser families from Germany. Ideally, we would need several samples from direct male descendants of each of Michael's sons (i.e., those with the Kiser, Kizer, or Keiser surnames). The Family Tree DNA testing service is one of the most well-known. If anyone is interested, please contact me by e-mail. The tests range in price from $99-$339, depending upon the number of markers, when ordered from Family Tree DNA as a part of the Kaiser DNA Project.
To help defray the cost of the testing, I have set up a Kaiser DNA Project fund that will allow those of us without the Kiser Y-chromosome (such as females born with the maiden name of Kiser) to jointly share in the cost of this project. If everyone interested in this avenue of research can contribute a little from time to time, it will greatly help to increase the level of participation by direct male descendants with the "right" DNA. If you would like to take advantage of the fund for your test, let me know. Those of us not fortunate enough to have the Kiser Y-DNA chromosome may help others out by contributing. Pick the letter "K" on the menu and indicate that you wish to contribute to the "Kaiser" project.
Y-DNA results have been posted from a descendant of Michael Kiser's son Jacob. See the y-Results page under Valentin Kayser of Rumpenheim, Germany (Michael's great-grandfather). Now, any male with the Kiser surname (or some variation) who thinks they may be a direct male descendant of Michael Kiser can compare their Y-DNA to this haplotype for confirmation. The next step is to get participation from direct male descendants of each of Michael Kiser's other sons (Valentine, Philip, John, and Daniel). This will ensure that we have an adequate sample size to identify with certainty the DNA haplotype of Michael Kiser. It may also allow us to determine if recent mutations of any of the DNA markers have occurred that would allow us to differentiate between the descendant lines through one or more of Michael's sons or grandsons, etc.
Note that Charles Keyser's very different haplotype is also there (under his 3rd-great-grandfather Johannes Kayser of Mockmuhl, Germany.) These two families who lived in the same part of Virginia can now be sorted out on the basis of their DNA.
This web page is a result of my own research over 43 years, and includes the collective works of many, many others to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. I would like to acknowledge them here.
If you find this information useful and would like to contribute a small (or bigger) amount to help fund this research, please consider selecting one of the options below. This helps me pay for subscriptions to web sites (e.g., Ancestry.com), reference materials (maps, books), supplies (paper, ink, binders, folders), time, and travel.
If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to this branch of the Kiser family so that I can incorporate them into this page. Also, I would like to provide links to other pages on the Internet that deal with Kiser genealogy.
Mark B. Arslan
Last updated on 28 April 2014