Charlotte (Kerbel) Kaiser
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Charlotte (Kerbel) Kaiser (1882 - 1939)

Charlotte Kaiser formerly Kerbel
Born in Grimm, Saratov, Russiamap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married 1903 in Grimm, Saratov, Russiamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United Statesmap
Profile last modified | Created 2 Feb 2016
This page has been accessed 616 times.



Volga German
Charlotte (Kerbel) Kaiser is a Volga German.
Charlotte (Kerbel) Kaiser has German Roots .
Flag of Russia (German)
Charlotte (Kerbel) Kaiser migrated from Russia (German) to Wisconsin, USA.
Flag of Wisconsin, USA

Birth Date and Place

  • 24 November 1882
  • Grimm, Saratov, Russia





  • Immigrated to United States in January 1906; refused entry due to sick child
  • Immigrated to Argentina in February 1906
  • Immigrated back to Russia, before April 1910
  • Immigrated to United States in October 1912

Death Date and Place

  • 03 June 1939
  • Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States

Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser's family is one of many that immigrated to Russia from Germany in the mid- to late-1700s. The history behind the mass immigration is detailed in the History section below.

Germans typically gave their child three names, using the middle name to identify them. Interestingly, Charlotte only appeared to have a single name. It may be that it was her middle name and her first name has been forgotten over the years, but we have not found any indication of that in the documents and family papers we have.

Charlotte's parents were Johann Konrad Kerbel and Anna Margaretha Brester Kerbel, according to documents in the possession of her descendants through Georg Jakob Kaiser and the records of other descendants who did not know each other before comparing genealogical data on our common ancestor. [1] This includes descendants in Germany and Russia.

There are two Konrad Kaisers who may have been her father. DNA records confirm a more distant relationship with other Kerbel relatives on WikiTree, the descendants of Philipp Jakob Kerbel and Eva Katharina (Lipp) Kerbel. This makes it clear the Charlotta Kerbel of this profile did not directly descend from their son Konrad Kerbel who was born in 1855. The only other possible father is Johann Konrad Kaiser.

The problem resulted from trying to find her family in the 1897 Grimm census, which we known from family documents was the village where they lived when the census was taken that year. The known facts:

  1. Charlotte would have been 14 years old, turning 15 later that year.
  2. She had a sister named Eva Katharina who would have been 9 years old.
  3. The women had a younger brother named Jakob.

These match nothing in the 1897 Grimm census. The only similar person is a 14 year old Charlotta who was the daughter of Johann Friedrich Kerbel, who, based on his age, seems more like her grandfather than her father. [2] This Charlotta has a brother Georg Jakob but no sister named Eva Katharina. Their parents are listed a Johann Friedrich Kerbel and an unknown, deceased wife.

The possible scenarios are:

  1. Charlotta's Kerbel family was somehow omitted from the census.
  2. The family was visiting relatives in another village and not counted in the Grimm census, possibly not counted in any other census either, since they wouldn't have been residents of any other village.
  3. The family actually lived in a different village and would have been recorded in that village's 1897 census.
  4. While father Konrad Kerbel was serving in the military, his family lived with his in-laws, another family, etc., and their surname wasn't clearly identified as being Kerbel. Furthermore, they were not indexed as Kerbels in the 1897 Grimm census.
  5. The children, living with other family members, were mistaken as belonging to different parents.

The more I review this, the more I feel that her parents are Johann Konrad Kerbel and Anna Margaretha Brester Kerbel. There are too many examples of incorrect translations, incorrect census entries, omitted entries, etc. I will connect with the Grimm village coordinators with AHSGR to review my concerns with them and see if they have more helpful information for me.

In the meantime, I am changing her linked parents to Johann Konrad Kerbel and Anna Margaretha Brester Kerbel. If I learn that is incorrect, I will change her parents accordingly.

A fuller discussion of this issue is listed in the Research Notes below.

Charlotta Kerbel was a direct descendant of Adam Kerbel and Magdalena Franz, two of the first settlers of the colony of Grimm, Russia, who were accounted for in the 1798 Grimm Census along with their six children.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Germans were disillusioned with life in Russia. The government had reneged on some of their promises to the settlers, and many dreamed of a better life in another country. In early 1907, Charlotte and her husband Georg Jakob "Jake" Kaiser decided to immigrate to the United States with their young son Alex. They traveled in a group with other family members and their children. Upon their arrival at Ellis Island, it was discovered that one of the children had an ear infection and the child was denied entrance to the U.S. Rather than break up their families, neither of the families chose to remain, but that said, they still did not want to return to Russia. Once back at their original port of departure, Hamburg, Germany, the families decided to go to Argentina, where there was already a large population of Germans and Volga Germans.

The circuitous route took them back to Hamburg Germany, where they boarded a ship bound for La Plata, Argentina. Traveling steerage, they made the ardurous journey which included stops in Dover, England; Boulogne-sur-Mer, France; Coruña Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and finally La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Note that although the two brothers' families were listed together in the passenger list, the surname for Alex's family was misspelled as Heiser, instead of Kaiser.

Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [3]

Name: Charlotte Heiser
Gender: weiblich (Female)
Departure Age: 24
Ethnicity/Nationality: Russland (Russian)
Relationship: Mutter (Mother)
Birth Date: abt 1882
Residence: Saratow (Saratov)
Departure Date: 2 Feb 1906
Port of Departure: Hamburg
Destination: Buenos Aires
Port of Arrival: Dover; Boulogne-sur-Mer; Coruna; Lissabon; La Plata; Buenos Aires
Ship Name: Cap Blanco
Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft)
Shipping line: Hamburg-Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrt-Gesellschaft
Ship Type: Dampfschiff, kein Auswandererschiff
Ship Flag: Deutschland
Accommodation: Zwischendeck
Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 175
Household Members: Name Age
Georg Heiser 29
Charlotte Heiser 24
Alexander Heiser 1

The ship docked in Argentina, and the two families made their homes there. Already pregnant at the time of their travels, Charlotte gave birth to son August Kaiser on April 26, 1907, in Bahia Blanca. Charlotte and her family remained in Argentina for perhaps a year, but she was miserable. As soon as it was financially possible, she convinced her husband to move the family back to Grimm, probably in late 1908 or early 1909. Her third child, Jacob, was born in Grimm on April 28, 1910.

Back in Grimm, nothing had changed, and Jake and Charlotte were still restless for a new life. Once again they made plans to immigrate to the U.S., this time departing from Liverpool, England, on 20 September 1911. When Charlotte said goodbye to her mother, Margaretha, she had no way of knowing it would be the last time she saw her. Margaretha Kerbel died on September 28, 1911, well after her daughter's family left Russia and made their way south to England, the first leg of the journey.

Once in England, the family headed to Liverpool where they boarded American Line's S.S. Merion and set sail for the Port of Philadelphia. The trip must have been far easier than the one the family took four years earlier to Ellis Island. That's because service to Philadelphia was designed to carry only one class of passengers, rather than three classes. According to, the passenger service on the S.S. Merion was considered equal to first class service on other ships. I'm not sure that's entirely accurate since the ship was built for 150 second class passengers and 1700 third class passengers, not 1850 first class passengers. Certainly there were not 1850 first class staterooms. Further research from shows that the passenger service on this ship was considered exclusively second class, still a far better option for those who usually traveled in steerage.

Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962 [4]

Name: Georg Jacob Kaiser
Gender: Male
Nationality: German
Arrival Age: 34
Birth Date: abt 1877
Birth Place: Karamysch, Russia
Last Residence: Russia
Departure Place: Liverpool, England
Arrival Date: 3 Oct 1911
Arrival Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Father: Christian Kaiser
Friend or Relative: Christian Kaiser
Relationship to Passenger: Father
Ship: Merion

Although her name does not appear to be indexed in the passenger manifest, it is clearly visible beneath her husband's name and above the names of her three children at that time.[4] A copy of the manifest is attached to this profile.

At a top speed of 14 knots and with no additional stops, the trip would have lasted almost 10 days. The ship entered the Port of Philadelphia on October 3, 1911, six days after Charlotte's mother passed away. This time there were no problems with sick travelers and the families were allowed to enter the country.

Although the family's first destination was Illinois to visit friends, their first residence was in Colorado. As was typical for Germans from Russia, Charlotte's husband Jake was a hard worker, willing to do anything to support his family. Whatever he earned at his first jobs, however, wasn't enough to care for their growing family. Charlotte may have worked intermittently after her boys were in school. Her son Alex was forced to drop out of school and start working to help support his family. He probably worked in the nearby sugar beet factory or fields. Her second son, August, was the first in the family to graduate from high school.

According to the 1920 U.S. Census, the family was living in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, but they may have gone back and forth between Wisconsin and Colorado for a period of time. The couple's youngest son, Paul Edward, was born in Fort Collins on March 29, 1922. Son August graduated from high school in Fort Collins in 1924. By 1925, however, the family was together Fond du Lac, a town where many of their friends and family members from Grimm were living. That gave Charlotte's eldest son Alex plenty of time to strike up a friendship with Mollie Fritzler, also born in Grimm. The two fell in love and married in Fond du Lac on May 1, 1926. By this time Charlotte's husband Jake had been working steadily at Northern Casket Company, just blocks away from the family's home on North Brooke Street.

One bonus of living in Fond du Lac was that she once again lived near her sister Eva Felda and her husband Peter. Charlotte offered comfort and solace to her Eva when her brother-in-law passed away unexpectedly in 1934. Charlotte's son Alex was a groomsman at his cousin Peter Jr.'s wedding. Their children and grandchildren remained close.

Despite being in the U.S. since 1911, Charlotte did not seek citizenship until well into the 1930s. She received her final naturalization papers on May 9, 1938. The witnesses were her long-time friends Elsie Leonhardt and Lydia Fritzler. This accomplishment was somewhat bittersweet, since she was only able to enjoy being an American for about a year. Several years earlier, Charlotte began to have problems with a blocked bile duct. Surgeons tried several times to correct the problem, with only partial success. In May of 1939 Charlotte began to show signs of jaundice. She was hospitalized and surgery was scheduled for June 3, 1939. Much to her family's shock, Charlotte died on the operating table from hepatic failure. She was buried in nearby Estabrooks Cemetery.

1920 United States Federal Census [5]

Name Charlotte Kaiser
Event Type Census
Event Date 1920
Event Place Fond Du Lac Ward 14, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, United States
Gender Female
Age 38
Marital Status Married
Race White
Race (Original) White
Relationship to Head of Household Wife
Relationship to Head of Household (Original) Wife
Birth Year (Estimated) 1882
Birthplace Russia
Immigration Year 1912
Father's Birthplace Russia
Mother's Birthplace Russia
Sheet Letter B
Sheet Number 3
Household Role Sex Age Birthplace
Jacob Kaiser Head M 42 Russia
Charlotte Kaiser Wife F 38 Russia
Alex Kaiser Son M 15 Russia
August Kaiser Son M 12 Russia
Jacob Kaiser Son M 9 Russia

Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index [6]

Name Charlotte Kaiser
Event Type Naturalization
Event Place Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin
Event Date 1938
Birth Year 1882
Birthplace Russia

Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser died due to liver failure when she was just 56 years old in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Find A Grave Burial Record [7]

Note that the Find a Grave record bio is in error when it says Charlotte "probably" had two girls in addition to her four boys. This is incorrect. Charlotte and Georg Jakob Kaiser never had any female children.

Name Charlotte Kaiser
Birth Date 24 Nov 1882
Death Date 6 Jun 1939
Death Place Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States of America
Cemetery Estabrooks Cemetery
Burial or Cremation Place Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States of America
Has Bio? Y
Spouse Jacob G. Kaiser [sic] should be Georg Jakob Kaiser
Children Paul Edward Kaiser [sic] missing sons Alexander, August and Jacob

Research Notes

I can't find an exact match for her in the 1897 Grimm census. The only match that comes close is in family #570, line 12, Charlotte Kerbel, age 14. The problem with this entry is that her father's name isn't a match. Instead of Konrad Kerbel, her father's name is Johann Friedrich Kerbel. Additionally, only she and brother Georg Jacob are listed; she had four other siblings born before 1897 who should be listed in this census but are missing. They could have been visiting relatives, but then they would probably have been listed with another family in the same census. I haven't found a match yet, and I'm just beginning to search this census. I checked the Bresters, in case they were staying with maternal grandparents, but can't find them in any Brester family.

It may be that the Bresters lived in a different village by 1897, but that goes against all family records and documentation about my grandfather's family from my grandfather, Alex Kaiser, Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser's son. According to him, his parents were both born in Grimm, married in Grimm, and had their first child in Grimm in 1904. When they immigrated to America, they left from Grimm.

Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser's parents' names -- Konrad Kerbel and Anna Brester-- were taken from her death certificate. These names match what other family members have told us based on their parents' and grandparents' documentation of their family vital details. While it's possible the names are wrong, it is not likely.

One more possibility is that Konrad Kerbel passed away and Anna Brester Kerbel remarried prior to the 1897 census. This means she and her children might be found in another family. They might not be part of family #570 in any way, other than cousins or in-laws. Based on what we know thus far, this seems to be the most likely scenario. However, other family records show her father passing away in 1910. This might open up the possibility that the couple were estranged or divorced.

There is only one Konrad Kerbel living and in an appropriate age bracket in 1897, but he was born in 1836, still an 18-year difference between him and the Johann Konrad Kerbel thought to be Charlotte's father, found in family #25, line 411 of the 1857 census. Her father may have been someone completely different, born after 1857, but then he still isn't listed in the 1897 census with a daughter named Charlotta born in 1882.

The answer could be something simple, as in the family was inadvertently omitted from the census. If so, the only way to confirm the names of Charlotte's parents may be if we can find her birth record from the Grimm church. Those records are not yet available to the general public.


  1. Death Certificate for Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser, located in the personal files of Julie Mangano, great granddaughter, Round Rock, Texas, names birth and death dates and names of parents.
  2. 1897 Grimm (Lesnoi Karamysh), Russia Census List, Translated by Richard Rye, Compiled and Edited by John Groh, Contributor Henry Schmick; American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA; Published 2017; pages 134 to 138 for all Kerbel families; family #570 on page 136, line 12, Charlotte Kerbel, daughter of Johann Friedrich Kerbel, age 14.
  3. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Microfilm No.: K_1793. Source Information: Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Bestand: 373-7 I, VIII (Auswanderungsamt I). Mikrofilmrollen K 1701 - K 2008, S 17363 - S 17383, 13116 - 13183. See:
  4. 4.0 4.1 Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Number: 4492386; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series: T840; Roll: 96. Source Information: Pennsylvania, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1800-1962 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2006. Original data: Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests. The National Archives at Washington, D.C. See:
  5. "United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 September 2017), Charlotte Kaiser in household of Jacob Kaiser, Fond Du Lac Ward 14, Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, United States; citing ED 43, sheet 3B, line 89, family 68, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1986; FHL microfilm 1,821,986.
  6. "Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 December 2014), Charlotte Kaiser, 1938; citing Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 94; FHL microfilm 1,432,094.
  7. Find A Grave, database and images (Find A Grave: Memorial #74598794 : accessed 19 February 2019), memorial page for Charlotte Kerbel Kaiser (24 Nov 1882–6 Jun 1939), Find A Grave Memorial no. 74598794, citing Estabrooks Cemetery, Fond du Lac, Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, USA ; Maintained by Jackie Edkins (contributor 47405045).

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Memories: 1
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Charlotte died from liver failure, during an operation intended to help extend her life. She was only 57 years old.
posted 18 Mar 2016 by Julie (Miller) Mangano   [thank Julie]
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It may be possible to confirm family relationships with Charlotte by comparing test results with other carriers of her mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known mtDNA test-takers in her direct maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share some percentage of DNA with Charlotte:

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