Need information on Charles Keyser

+5 votes

Help is needed in straightening out a few serious errors between the line of Dirck Keyser-65 who emigrated from Amsterdam, Netherlands to Germantown,  Pennsylvania in 1688 and the lines of other Keyser/Kayser immigrants who came  from Germany some sixty plus years later. I maintain these are not consanguineous lines.

I posted a notice on the profile for Charles Keyser-99  of impending changes. The Biography states that Charles, born in 1702, was the son of Johannes Keyser-1045, my 6th great-granduncle, and Barbara Funk-2013 who married in 1747 in Philadelphia. Obviously Charles cannot be the son of Johannes Keyser who was born in 1721 which is 19 years after Charles was born.

Keyser-99 is also a duplicate of Charles Keyser-337. They should be merged once the question of the wives (Elizabeth Grossgloss  or Mary Shelly or both) has been resolved. If we take Keyser-337 on its face then we have to accept that Charles married a woman, Elizabeth Grossgloss-1, who was at least 41 years old (some have her as 43) and that they then had 10 children together. Possible but highly unlikely.

Then there is a third Charles Sebastian "Karl" Keyser-154 who is a possible, and arguably more age appropriate, husband for Mary Shelly.

Just wanted to give anyone interested a heads up on the changes to Keyser-99 and elicit comments, questions and input on the other descrepancies.

Skip, a double Keyser descendant 

WikiTree profile: Charles Keyser
asked in Genealogy Help by Skip Magyar G2G6 (9.2k points)
It looks to me like you've given very fair notice before making changes to lineages which are impossible as currently seen in WikiTree. With solid sourcing you can't go wrong sorting this out.

4 Answers

+2 votes
If you go to the changes page, this Charles Keyser was originally imported as the son of Pieter Keyser (Keyser-113) and Anna Keyser (Ruffnacher-1)

The information regarding Charles Keyser being the son of Johannes and Barbara (Funck) Keyser was because this Charles Keyser was connected to Mary Shelly, who married their son.  This part of the bio can easily be backed out and he can be removed from the image.  But, the real Charles Keyser, who did marry Mary Shelly should be attached to her profile.
answered by Janne Gorman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.8k points)


Backing out to the originally imported data is doubly wrong. Pieter Keyser-113 was merged and is now Keyser-64, the father of Johannes Keyser-1045 and my 7th great-grandfather. He came to America with his father in 1688 and was not the father of Charles Keyser-99 born 1702 in Germany. Likewise Anna Ruffnacher-1 was "possibly" an incorrect transcription of Anna Schumacher-744, the mother of Charles Sebastian "Karl" Kayser-154.

The problem is proving who married Mary Shelly-175 born between 1730 and 1737 in Lancaster,  PA. Regardless of which Charles she married there is no bloodline connection between these Germany born Keyser/Kayser/Kiser men and the Dutch Keyser line of Dirck Keyser-65 (abt. 1645 - 1714). The Keyser Reunion book mistakenly implies a connection which does not exist.

Look at the website for an early tree for Karl Kiser born 1702 in Germany. This is the same person we have on WikiTree as Charles Keyser-99 and Charles Keyser-337 (duplicate). This tree was posted on the web around 1996 and they list the same two women as possible wives of Karl Kiser aka Charles  Keyser that we do.

Hope this makes sense. Questions and comments are, as always, welcomed. 

Skip - 

I am not suggesting backing him out to his original imported parents.  Just removing the portion of the bio that relates to a Charles Keyser, son of Johannes and Barbara, and removing him from the image.  In other words, my involvement in this messed up profile.  (My note above states "this part of the bio...)
+2 votes

Part of the problem with the profile of this Charles Keyser is the wife, Mary Shelly.  [[Shelley-175]]  If you look at the profile of Christian Shelly [[Shelly-102]] there is a source that includes a "DEED OF JUNE 6, 1761, RECORDED DEED BOOK FF, PAGE 166 STATES CHRISTIAN SHELLY AND HIS WIFE, MAGDALENA, BY THEIR DEED OF MAY 15, 1759, DID GRANT TO THEIR SON JACOB 78 ACRES, THE SAME BEING PART OF THE 265 ACRES GRANTED TO CHRISTIAN BY PATENT. JACOB SHELLY HAVING SINCE DIED INTESTATE AND UNMARRIED. ( 1 ) CHARLES CAYSER ( KEYSER OR KISER ) AND MARY HIS WIFE , LATE MARY SCHELLY.

So, the daughter of Christian Shelly was deceased before 1761, while the Mary Shelly that is listed on WikiTree and Find A Grave died in 1776 and has nine children attributed to her, born between 1752 and 1766.

answered by Janne Gorman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.8k points)
The phrase "late Mary Schelly" as used in this context does not mean that Mary is deceased but that her name until lately was Mary Schelly. That is the way they often listed the wife's maiden name in documents of this era.

Similarly if you lived in Boston and your neighbor had recently moved to your town from New York you might write "My neighbor, Mr Smith, late of New York"

In 1767 when her father's will is finally probated, Mary and her sisters each receive 50 pounds from Christian's estate.

The deed being reference to support Mary Shelly as his wife is located in Pennsylvania not Virginia.  How can that possibly be considered when there is deed in the county they are buried being referenced in the WPA written in 1936 by a descendant to support the home they lived in.   They are also buried on the same property.  

  Also I am confused by Skip's statement regarding how to attribute the children.  Is it to attribute them to a different profile not in this merge or not?  Because Skip says to remove wife from this profile but also attribute them to same Mary on a different profile. Until that is clarified and how a deed in Pennsylvania could possibly support a wife in Virginia I would not approve this merge.

   Also please review the WPA with deed referencing his widow is named Elizabeth.

I think that the Mary Shelly, who married the son of Johannes and Barbara (Funck) Keyser lived in Pennsylvania is NOT the same Mary Shelly in the questionable profile, because she would have been born much later to be the mother of the following children:  Joseph, John and Charles.  Her son, Charles was born in 1793 and was still living in 1889...and is NOT the Charles Keyser, who married Elizabeth Baker (1750-1796) in Shenandoah county, Virginia.

So Janne are you saying there is 3 possible wives then?  What source would there be then that Charles even had a wife named Mary without that deed?  I have seen no other source claimed to prove her name.

Even if the profiles are merged, there will then be problem with the children duplicates.  There is already 2 Joseph Kisers and  2 Susanna Stacys.

I personally don't believe there is any proven  parentage for Charles Keyser.  I do not believe that Carl Sebastian Kayser (with birth record of 1726)  is the same person as Charles Keyser born 1702.  I believe that even with DNA showing German relatives to descendants of Carl matching this Charles is not enough proof they are the same person.  Too many sources list birth of 1702 not 1726.  My husband has been tested to German relatives to a specific village and is a match due to something similar to Ashkanzi Jew which means you will be a dna match to every single person who descends from the same village.  He has matches going back 7 generations with proven trees.

I believe the children are correctly attributed to "A" Elizabeth (not positive on last name but have seen sources with variants of Grossclose and Charles Keyser 1702-1778/4.

Just my 2 cents.


Just for the record, the entry in the Keyser book was a mistake. There was no child of Johannes and Barbara Funk Keyser who married a Mary Shelly.


I do not claim to be any authority on the Keyser family.  I am researching my ancestors, who came from Virginia.  In doing so, in the same week I came across Nancy Lucas [Lucas-7994] who married John Keyser [Keyser-1032]  and Charity Bean [5503] a daughter of Hannah Keyser or Kayser, who married John Bean.  

While attempting to find the correct parentage of John Keyser and attempting to find the mother of Charity Bean, I got "tangled up" in the Keyser family, and noted some inconsistencies in the sources on Find A Grave.  

If you find any Keyser profiles that I have created along the way that have errors in them, please add a bulletin to that profile so that I will get an email from WikiTree with the profile number and I will continue to research further.
+2 votes
Thank you Skip and Janne for your contributions to this discussion and for clarifying that we are dealing with two different people here.

I see that Kayser-154 has been set as a rejected match with the other two. And the merge of Keyser-337 and Keyser-99 is now proposed.

I am not sure if I fully understand the issues surrounding the wives, but that is a separate problem from the merges and can be dealt with separately.

As for any profile edits or changes to images, they can be done at this time. We all seem to be on the same page here, so no need to delay that any further.
answered by Dave Rutherford G2G6 Mach 3 (33k points)
edited by Dave Rutherford

Thanks Dave. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

There are multiple ways to correct information once families have been incorrectly mingled and some paired with incorrect partners. Several things have contributed to the muddled up profiles of these Keyser's but the first mistake appeared in The Keyser family: descendants of Dirck Keyser of Amsterdam published in 1889 that claimed Johannes Keyser and his wife Barbara Funk had a son Charles who married an unknown Shelly, the daughter of a Dr. Shelly of Philadelphia and that the couple moved from Germantown, Pennsylvania to Page County, Virginia prior to the Revolution. 

Johannes and Barbara had a son Charles  but he was not the Charles who married Mary Shelly. In fact there is no known connection at all between the two Keyser families incorrectly linked in this family history book.

Johannes was the grandson of Dirck Keyser who came to America from Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1688. He settled in Germantown, Pennsylvania and his descendants are very well documented in the Keyser book with exception of the error I already pointed out.

The Charles Keyser we have been dealing with here emigrated from Germany sixty some years later and we know nothing of his parents.

Other factors contributed to the confusion as well, like someone on Find A Grave arbitrarily changing the year of birth on the gravestone of the Charles Keyser buried in Keyser Cemetery in Page County, Virginia. 

I could go on but suffice to say there are hundreds of incorrect family trees for these Keyser's posted online and precious few if any correct ones.

As a first step the merge of Keyser-337 and Keyser-99 should be approved immediately. Step two will be the removal of Mary Shelly as the wife of Charles Keyser-99.

Thirdly, I submit that all of the children referred to:

Charles Keyser Jr 1752 - 1796

Catherine "Kate" Keyser 1753 - 1777

Joseph Kenton Keyser 1756 - 1816

Andrew Keyser 1758 - 1833

Anna Keyser 1759 - 1824

Mary Keyser 1760 - 1824

Michael Keyser 1762 - 1798

Elizabeth Keyser 1762 - 1832

Esther Keyser 1764 - 1846

David Keyser 1766 - 1798

Phillip Keyser  1768 - 1768

John Keyser  1769 - 1849

...should be attributed to Mary Shelly and her husband Charles Sebastion Keyser who is shown on WikiTree as Kayser-154. I suspect that this Charles is the one who came to America in the service of the British army and not the much older Keyser-99. (go to Keyser-99 and click on Braddock's Defeat under Sources) They maintain it was the older Keyser but that is open to debate.

I hope all our fellow Keyser researchers weigh in with their comments, questions and any new information they may have.


Skip, a double Keyser descendant through Dirck Keyser 1645 - 1714

As I suspected from this discussion, the merge of these two men would seem to approve only 1 wife being accepted which is the whole point of not accepting the merge.  I have submitted on Keyser-337 a WPA for the home Charles Keyser and his widow Elizabeth lived in on the same property they are buried in for findagraves in Shenandoah county now Page county VA.  It would not be accepted to attribute all children to mother Mary Shelly if his widow is listed as Elizabeth.  I agree the 2 profiles are the same person but once merged how can it then be treated for their mother?  Also in this same discussion by Janne the children could not be Mary's if she was deceased.

Skip explained the idea that Mary was deceased by saying (above) that The phrase "late Mary Schelly" in her father's Will does not mean that Mary is deceased but that her name until lately was Mary Schelly. 

I was not aware of that, but it still does not explain how In 1791, Catherine Rhinehart married John Keyser, son of Charles Keyser and Mary Shelley.  This John Keyser was born circa 1754, when Elizabeth Grossgloss is still alive and married to her husband, Charles Keyser

Hi Kelly,

I understand your concerns but the merge of these duplicate profiles will just be the first step. The merge of Keyser-337 into Keyser-99  gives us a Charles Keyser born 1702 in Germany with two wives. Now the discussion can switch to was he married to Elizabeth Grossgloss or Mary Shelly or both?

Before we can have that discussion we need to merge the duplicate profiles and conform to WikiTree policy. No one will make any unilateral changes regarding Charles' wife or wives without all interested members reaching a consensus.

My post above was meant to explain the mistake in the Keyser book and state unequivocally that the Dutch Germantown Keyser line is not connected in any way to the Shenandoah Valley (Page County, Virginia) Keyser's. The rest is only my opinion currently and I should have saved that until the merge is completed.

Hi Skip

   In the middle of replies, you have re added a suggested merge that was has now been rejected 2x by the other manager and have not addressed any comments I have added about the deeds while I have commented about your posts.  This seems to be unilateral discussion by you to me and I would suggest we request a moderator to move forward.


Hi Kelly,

No need to get defensive or call in a moderator yet <GRIN>. I am not an adversary, just a fellow lover of family history that is trying to help correct the record.

I have looked at the Find A Grave Memorial  #177534732 which you created for Elizabeth Grossgloss Keyser and I agree 100% with everything you wrote there. The fact that someone usurped the gravestone of her husband and changed the year of birth has caused as much confusion as anything else. 

The creator of Memorial #52597632 for Carl Sebastian "Charles" Keyser (we show him on WikiTree as Charles Sebastian "Karl" Kayser (Kayser-154) married to Mary Shelley, has no evidence that I have seen, to assume his "Carl" is buried next to Elizabeth, a woman 16 years older than him and implying she was his wife. He admits that there is an "unsettled controversy" about the wife or wives of his Carl Sebastian Keyser.

There are ten or eleven children attributed to one or both of the women, Elizabeth Grossgloss and Mary Shelly, in various online family trees. I suggested listing them (temporarily) under Mary Shelly until further research can determine which children belong with which mother.

One thing is certain. Elizabeth Grossgloss, born 1710 (many trees claim 1705), was biologically incapable of having all the children attributed to her in some trees. She would have been 42 when Charles, Jr was born in 1752 and was certainly not having children into her middle and late fifties.

As far as my not addressing your comments about "the deeds", I apologize for missing something I should have replied to. Please direct me to what specific deed or issue was in question and I'll be more than happy to comment on or provide an opinion on any issue you point out.

Finally, I did visit your Ancestry tree for Charles Keyser and looked through the Virginia, Wills and Probate Records but there are almost 600 pages of handwritten information and I couldn't find Charles' will. Can you direct me to the page his will begins on please?


Skip -  WikiTreers please feel free to email me anytime.

  The deed mentioned as proof Mary Shelly is Charles Keyser wife is listed on this feed.  I mentioned only that it as it is found in Pennsylvania (not Virginia) and is so far the only source mentioning a Mary as spouse, I am not sure why that would be considered a reliable source.

Please see profile Keyser-337 to answer your question about the deed I mentioned being added to the profile.  The deed is referenced in the WPA lists the name of Charles Keyser's widow as Elizabeth. 

Seems like a reference in the county they lived in would be more a primary source and accepted before a deed listing a possibly deceased Mary Shelly.

  The wills link I added goes straight to the page for me,  so not sure what you mean. This was not what I was referring to anyway.

As far as the children of Charles/Elizabeth I have not spent much time all of them only Joseph Sr.  I see your point if there is indeed a child born in 1793.  Are we sure there is not a generational gap between Charles Sr/Jr?


link to wills

Will Book, Vol A, 1772-1784; Will Book, Vol B, 1783-1789

Kelly, I have no problem with your links.  My "theory" is that the Mary Shelly that I am looking for in Pennsylvania, is not the same Mary Shelly that is buried in Virginia, because as you say, there is a generation gap.  Thank you for your input.
I agree with you as well and also I don't see any proof that there is a Mary Keyser much less Mary Shelly Keyser even buried in Virginia.
+3 votes

Phew! It looks like the one thing that everyone in this discussion will wholeheartedly agree to is that these people's genealogy is muddled.  I've stumbled into this mess as a concerned onlooker, due to my being (along with the estimable Dave Rutherford) a leader for the Palatine Migration Project, which is a profile manager for some of these profiles.

In my experience, the best way to start to un-muddle a situation like this one is to go back to the basics. For the time being, forget about whatever interpretations you have been given from Received Family Trees, Findagrave Memorials, and other derivative sources. Instead, open a work space (maybe you can do it in this G2G, or maybe it should be a Research Notes section on one of these profiles, or maybe it should be a free-space profile) and write down each specific fact about Charles Keyser or a wife of Charles Keyser that is documented in a primary record (or comparable source). Record exactly what each record says -- don't alter spellings or other details. When that's done, you may be better able to piece these people's lives together, or maybe you'll only have a clearer idea what you don't know. Either way, it should help resolve the current situation.

To get this party started, here are some examples of facts that exist:

  • The estate of a Charles Keyser had its appraisement in Shenandoah County, Virginia, on Ma 28, 1778.
  • The administrator of that estate was Charles Keyser, Sr. [At this point I would start to ask myself whether Charles Sr is the father of the deceased, or if the Sr. part of his name means that he was the oldest of at least two surviving Charles Keysers in Shenandoah County.]
  • A Charles Keyser is buried in Luray, Virginia. The stone has a death date of 1778.
  • A stone near that of Charles Keyser, with the same design, is Elizabeth Keyser (date not visible in photos).

Continue with baptism records, marriage records, other probate details (it would be good if you could locate the actual probate file to see if it has additional clues), military service records -- whatever you have.

To illustrate what I am suggesting you do, is a profile where I collected a bunch of facts that looked like they represented two different men of the same name. In that case, after I collected facts I was able to assign each fact to one of two different men, but unfortunately I haven't found solid evidence to determine which of these men belongs to the birth family for which other information exists (there's one good lead, but it's only a random reference on an Ancestry Family Tree). So the profile is still an example of a research effort in progress...

answered by Ellen Smith G2G6 Pilot (891k points)
edited by Ellen Smith
Thank you, Ellen.  As usual, your advice is spot on.
Thank you Ellen. This is a very good idea. Could I recommend to all that we start by adding facts to this thread. Ellen has already got us started. If we feel that it is needed, we could start a free space profile for it at any time, but I think we can start here at least.

I don't see a lot of additional data added!

I have found a few additional facts:

* Behind an Ancestry paywall is a baptism for Carl Sebastian, born Jan 16, 1726 -  I believe this says that his father Andreas was a butcher.

* There was a Carl Kayser who came on the "Patience" in 1749 -

* “The Earliest Records of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Vol. 2” translated by Frederick S. Weiser. It had the following entries on page 347-349 & 370:1. “From January 1, 1750 on, the following announced themselves for Holy Communion: #55 Carl Sebastian Kayser, recently arrived. Servant of Jacob Eichholtz.”2. “Those who have announced themselves to go to Holy Communion on Estomihi Sunday, February 17, 1751: # 21 Carl Sebastian Kayser, with Jacob Eicholtz.”

* Didn't access the original but " Will of Christian Shelly dated 22 April 1760, Lancaster Co., Pennsylvania. In it he mentions his wife Magdalen, children: Jacob; Catharina (and son-in-law John Gingry); Mary; Anna; Margret; Elizabeth; Ester; Frena; Susanna; and Christian. Then on 6 June 1761 we have the deed of Charles Kyser to Elizabeth Shelly. Here it states that Charles Cayser and Mary his wife, late Mary Schelly, Margaret Haldiman, widow, late wife of John Haldiman deceased and formerly Margaret Shelly, Samuel Huber and Esther his wife, late Esther Shelly, John Reisar and Catharine his wife, late Catharine Schelly and Susanna Shelly all of the County of Lancaster inherited the 78 acres of Jacob Shelly because he had died intestate and unmarried. They in turn sold their parts to Elizabeth Shelly." (

* A Charles Keyser was in Virginia by 1765: "deed recorded in Frederick County, Virginia on 6 April 1765, deed book No. 10, page 248, Lewis Rhinehart and Mathias Rhinehart of Frederick County, Va., conveyed unto Charles Keyser, of the same place, a parcel of land on the South Fork of the Shenandoah. This deed is transcribed on our website."(Same as above)

* The grave marker for Charles in Virginia is clearly too new to be original. It gives his birth as 1702, although FAG has reported his birth as 1726. The grave marker must have been installed when the remains were reinterred much later, or even later than that.

* The widow of Charles Kayser in Virginia is listed as Elizabeth here:

I am editing this entry to add a few thoughts here.

I don't think this is evidence for Elizabeth Grossglos at all. The entry for "a partial settlement of Charles Keyser estate, Elizabeth Keyser widow and relict" comes immediately after the entry for "September 12, 1796, appraisement of Charles Keyser, Junior's estate."

I think "Elizabeth widow and relict' is Elizabeth Baker widow of Charles Keyser Jr.

Does anybody have any additional known facts to add to this, or does anyone have any issues with these facts?

It appears to me that there is no real evidence for the 1702 birth date other than the memories of descendants in the 1880's.

And no hard evidence at all for a wife Elizabeth.

Perhaps we are looking at one Charles Keyser and wife Mary Shelly?

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