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Notes on Köller Descendants in America

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This page is intended as a discussion forum for the managers of profiles of 18th century Prussian immigrant Jacob Köller and members of his family. In looking at just the first few generations of the family in America, we have more than half a dozen different PMs involved, and there's a bit of inconsistency in the way we present our data. Among other things, I think we have several duplicate profiles to be merged, along with some inconsistencies in spelling of surnames and places of birth. Some normal differences in style are to be expected, but hopefully in a collaborative environment we can agree on a coherent presentation of the basic genealogy data. If we find inconsistent data among the sources we have available, we can highlight that and explain it as best we can.

One of the site leaders suggested that the best approach in a situation like this would be to create a free-space page that lays out the issues, and then invite all the PMs to add their own observations, comments, questions, agreements, disagreements, counter-proposals, and other issues. Hopefully with that approach we can reach a consensus on how best to present the family . So this is the free-space page that was proposed, and the following paragraphs lay out what I think the problems are and my own proposals for handling them. I'm asking everyone to assist with this effort, and to feel free to add your own thoughts and comments after my proposals. I'll be happy to add you to the trusted list for this page if you wish. (Just send the request.) And I'm told that when you add a comment, you can sign and time stamp your comment by adding four tildes right after the comment. Then when you save. the software will automatically add your name and the time to the comment.

Family Summary

Here's a summary of the profiles we currently have for the first four generations of the family, along with their managers. (The immigrant Jacob mentioned above is the Jacob listed in Generation 2.)

Generation 1.

Jacob Koller Cullers (~1700-1765) managed by Zoiya Tate and Carol Miller.
Elizabeth (Mullerin) Cullers (~1702-unk) managed by Carol Miller.

Generation 2.

Jacob Koller (1725-1805) managed by Carol Miller.
Jacob Koller Cullers (~1725-1805) managed by John Gaines.
Maria Magdalena (Abelin) Culliers (~1727-1775) managed by Vicki Kennedy.
Maria Magdalena (Abel) Kullers (1723-1775) managed by Zoiya Tate.

Generation 3.

Johann Michael Köller (1745-1818) managed by Dennis Barton.
Eleanora Catherine (Schmid) Culler (1747-1806) managed by Dennis Barton.
Johannes Cullers aka Kullers (~1747-1796) managed by Zoiya Tate.
Anna Maria (Mueller) Cullers aka Muller (1750-1832) managed by Vi Thiesing and John Gaines.
Jacob Cullers (1748-1829) managed by Vicki Kennedy.
Elizabeth (Muller) Cullers managed by Vicki Kennedy.
Johann Heinrich Köller (1755-unknown) managed by Dennis Barton.

Generation 4 Direct Descendants.

Note: Spouses are not shown, and not all of the children of the prior generation have been profiled to date.
Catherine (Culler) Ramsburg (1776-1856) managed by Sharon Casteel.
Elizabeth (Köller) Coblentz (1778-1857) managed by Dennis Barton.
Michael Culler (1789-1884) no PM, created by Sharon Casteel.
Mary Magdalena (Cullers) Burner (1776-1832) managed by Zoiya Tate, Vi Thiesing, and John Gaines.
Elizabeth Cullers (1780-1824) managed by John Gaines.
Catherine Cullers (1782-1843) managed by Vi Thiesing and John Gaines.
Jacob Cullers (1786-1862) managed by Vi Thiesing and John Gaines.
John Randolph Cullers (1789-1820) managed by John Gaines.
Henry Samuel Cullers (1792-1865) managed by John Gaines.
Daniel Cullers (1794-1882) managed by John Gaines.

Sourcing Note

The primary sources I have used for these observations are [1] and [2]. They generally agree on the details about the family, and they are described more fully in a Research Note on the profile of Johann Michael Köller. Source [1] is available in full-text version on Family Search. The Source [2] book is still in copyright, but I have the book and will be glad to e-mail a copy of the relevant parts or the entire Köller chapter to anyone who asks. (I'll need to do that in pieces, because a scan of the whole chapter produced a 30 MB .pdf file, which would be much too large for an e-mail attachment.) There are some other sources noted on the individual profiles, but there is quite a bit of reliance on ancestry.com trees and Find A Grave memorials, so if we can come up with some better replacements for those as part of this process, that would be a good enhancement as well.

Update: FYI, I now have the Köller chapter of Source [2] available as four separate .pdf files that are under 1 MB in size, and I'll be glad to e-mail them to anyone who wishes a copy. Just let me know. {Barton-1128 12:49, 11 June 2020 (UTC)}

Observations and Recommendations

Surname Spelling - 1

One of the consistent inconsistencies is the spelling of the surnames. Sources [1] and [2] both acknowledge the variety of spellings that can be found in various records (see the Research Note mentioned above). Source [1] notes that all the Frederick County church records up until about 1800 use the original German spelling, Köller. The anglicized surname used later for the branches of the family that remained in Frederick County, MD, or relocated to Ohio, was Culler, and the anglicized surname for the branch that migrated to Shenandoah County, VA, was Cullers. However the tombstones located in Shenandoah County, VA, use the spelling Kullers, and there are also records that use the spelling Koller without the umlaut. So there are at least five legitimate spellings that can be found in records.

Proposal 1. I believe use of the German spelling Köller prior to about 1800 would be technically correct, but there admittedly are English-language records that would not use the umlaut. If the newly-formed Germany Project Team has a policy or recommendation about the spelling that should be used, I would propose to follow their recommendation. In the absence of any such guidance, I propose to use LNAB Köller (with umlaut) rather than Koller. That spelling would apply to our progenitor immigrant, Jacob, his father, and each of his four sons who were born in Frederick County, MD. For the next generation, i.e., grandchildren of Jacob, most of our profiles now use LNAB either Culler or Cullers, so we should probably stick with those (indicating that only Elizabeth (Köller) Coblentz would need a LNAB change). The Virginia branch of the family with tombstones marked Kullers should probably also include that as an aka current surname. It doesn't appear that Culliers (with letter i) is a legitimate spelling that was ever used.

Surname Spelling - 2

We have the same issue regarding the umlaut with the surnames Muller (or Mueller) vs. Müller and Mullerin vs. Müllerin. In addition, the author of Source [1] (p. v of the Introduction) believes that the wife of Jacob's son Johannes, Anna Maria (Mueller) Cullers aka Muller, and the wife of his son Jacob, Elizabeth (Muller) Cullers, were cousins. If that is correct, it seems unlikely that the names would have been spelled differently.

Proposal 2. Again I'd propose to follow the recommendation of the Germany Project Team, if there is one. Otherwise I would propose to adapt the spelling Müller for both surnames. The Mueller spelling may have evolved from the pronunciation of Müller by those whose native language is English.

Surname Spelling - 3

In parts of 18th century Prussia it was apparently common practice to differentiate the surnames of females of a family from those of the males. In some old records, especially church records for baptisms, deaths, and marriages, females would often appear with the suffix -in added to the surname. [3] [4] [5] In this family, for example, we have Eleanora Schmidin (Schmid), Maria Magdalena Abelin (Abel), and Elizabeth Müllerin (Müller), where the surname of the father would be as shown in parentheses.

Proposal 3. Here again we should be consistent, and I think we should follow the policy of the Germany Project Team, if there is one. In the absence of a site policy, I propose to follow Source [5], the only source that specifically states that use of the surname spelling without the -in suffix is correct. Also note, as a possible item for discussion with the Germany Project, that use of this convention in the family might provide a clue as to what part of Prussia was "home."

Duplicate Profiles - 1

For Generation 2 there appear to be duplicate profiles for Jacob Köller, the progenitor of the immigrant family, that should be merged, Koller-120 and Cullers-32.

Proposal 4. I have already proposed a merge, with the comment that the birth name should be Köller and the current name Cullers aka Kullers.

Duplicate Profiles - 2

Sources [1] and [2] both indicate that Jacob Köller had two wives with very similar names, Mary Magdalena Unknown and Maria Magdalena Abel (or Abelin). For Generation 2 there appear to be duplicate profiles for the second wife, Abelin-6 and Abel-1575, but no profile for the first wife Mary. The sources indicate that the first wife, Mary, was the mother of all four sons, which would indicate that none of the sons is currently attached to the correct mother.

Proposal 5. I propose to use the profile for Maria Magdalena (Abel) Kullers as Jacob's second wife, since the LNAB would be correct if Proposal 2 is accepted. The profile would need to have Jacob connected as a spouse and the two children disconnected. We would then re-purpose Abelin-6, convert that into the profile for Mary Magdalena Unknown, and connect her as mother of all the children. This change would eliminate all the incorrect half-sibling indications among Jacob's children. The alternative to this would be to merge Abelin-6 and Abel-1575, detach the children, make sure the dates and places are correct, and then create a new profile for Mary Magdalena Unknown, the first wife, and connect the spouse and children to her. Also note that the first spouse, Mary Magdalena Unknown, would be the one who died in 1775 and is interred in the Culler Family Cemetery in Jefferson, Frederick County, MD.

Places of Birth

I haven't seen any authoritative data about when Jacob immigrated to Frederick County, Maryland, or whether he was accompanied by parents or a spouse. The sources I have agree that all of his children were born in Frederick County and grew up and married there before migrating elsewhere (except Heinrich who apparently died young).

Proposal 6. In the absence of a legitimate source indicating otherwise, I propose to follow the lead of the published books and show Frederick County, Province of Maryland, as the birth and marriage locations for the children. This would require a change to the place of birth for Johannes, now shown as Germany. Similarly, one of Johannes middle children (Jacob) is shown as being born in Frederick County, Maryland, while both his older and younger siblings are shown as being born in Virginia. If the data is correct, it seems like an inconsistency that should be either sourced or explained somehow.

Family Structure

Please note that two changes to the family structure have already been completed during the preparation of this page. Those who looked at the family earlier may recall that Jacob and Magdalena (Generation 2) were shown as having a daughter, Susanna (Cullers) Feathers. I could find no record of such a person and asked the Profile Manager about it. She quickly agreed that the profile had been attached to this family in error and disconnected it.

The other change was the addition of a different fourth child for Jacob and Magdalena, son Johann Heinrich, who is mentioned in the sources and apparently died in childhood. I have added a profile for Heinrich, but have no other proposal unless resolution of the other issues should imply a change to Heinrich's profile.

Changes Implemented

05 Jun 2020: Tracy (Frisken) Hope merged Anna Maria (Mueller) Cullers into Anna Maria (Mueller) Cullers aka Muller (Generation 3). Mullerin-11 now redirects to Mueller-2032. (Duplicate that had been overlooked in the initial Observations.) {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
18 Jun 2020: John added tombstone photos to the profiles of Johann Michael Köller and Eleanora Catherine (Schmid) Culler (Generation 3). {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
20 Jun 2020: Kylie Haese, leader of the Germany Project, added two comments to this page (below), and Dennis added an answer comment on 24 Jun. {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
20 Jun 2020: Carol completed the proposed merge of Jacob Koller Cullers into Jacob Koller (Generation 2; Proposal 4.) Cullers-32 now redirects to Koller-120. {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
20 Jun 2020: Vicki merged Maria Magdalena (Abelin) Culliers into new profile Maria Magdalena (Abel) Cullers (Generation 2) and edited the Biography. Abelin-6 now redirects to Abel-2744. {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
20 Jun 2020: Vicki merged Johannes Cullers aka Kullers into new profile Johannes (Köller) Cullers (Generation 3.) Cullers-36 now redirects to Köller-459. {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
27 Jun 2020: Dennis added Schmidin as an aka surname to the profile of Eleanora Catherine (Schmid) Culler (Generation 3.) {Barton-1128 16:58, 28 June 2020 (UTC)}
29 Jun 2020: For consistency with the rest of the family, Dennis changed the LNAB of Elizabeth (Köller) Coblentz to Culler and updated the Research Note on the profile. The names Köller and Koller were retained as aka surnames. (Generation 4; Proposal 1). The profile is now Elizabeth (Culler) Coblentz and Köller-176 now redirects to Culler-281. {Barton-1128 13:27, 29 June 2020 (UTC)}
13 Jul 2020: Vicki updated the profiles for Jacob Cullers and Elizabeth (Muller) Cullers (both Generation 3). {Barton-1128 16:48, 23 July 2020 (UTC)}
23 Jul 2020: Vicki merged Maria Magdalena (Abel) Cullers into Maria Magdalena (Abel) Kullers and proposed a merge of Maria Magdalena (Abel) Kullers and Maria Magdalena Abel. Both Abelin-6 and Abel-2744 now redirect to Abel-1575, and another apparent duplicate, Abel-410, was discovered in the process. Per discussion about original Proposal 5, Dennis will now create a new profile for Jacob's first wife, Mary Magdalena Unknown, and will then do a final cleanup of the resulting profile for Jacob's second wife to try to make it all consistent with the sources we have. {Barton-1128 14:11, 24 July 2020 (UTC)}
24-26 Jul 2020: Dennis adopted a Maria Unknown profile from the 'Recycle Unknowns' category, converted it into the profile for Jacob's first wife, Maria Magdalena (Unknown) Köller (Generation 2), and connected Jacob and the four Generation 3 sons (Proposal 5). Both Dennis and Vicki then did some additional updates to the profile of Maria Magdalena (Abel) Köller, Jacob's second wife. {Barton-1128 20:42, 27 July 2020 (UTC)}
26 Jul 2020: In response to a Suggestion Report item based on the new 'Possible Parent' analysis from Find A Grave data, Dennis connected the existing profile for John Culler (1774-1847) managed by Jason Garver as the son of Johann Michael Köller and Eleanora Catherine (Schmid) Culler. Dennis sent a private message to Jason about this ongoing activity inviting him to participate. {Barton-1128 20:42, 27 July 2020 (UTC)}
29 Jul 2020: Dennis changed the LNAB of our Generation 2 Jacob to the original German spelling, Köller (Proposal 1). Profile Koller-120 now redirects to Köller-474. {Barton-1128 19:39, 3 August 2020 (UTC)}
29 Jul - 01 Aug 2020: Dennis added [1] [2] and this free-space page as 'See also' sources to any of the Generation 1 through 3 profiles where they were not already mentioned. Dennis and Vicki both did some additional cleanup and editing to various profiles. {Barton-1128 19:39, 3 August 2020 (UTC)}
02 Aug 2020: Dennis added comments to the two profiles mentioned in Proposal 6 suggesting some additional research to try to verify the places of birth shown. {Barton-1128 19:39, 3 August 2020 (UTC)}
Thanks, folks! Looks like some progress!
As of 03 Aug 2020, Proposals 4 and 5 have been implemented, and the other proposals have been partially completed. At this point it seems appropriate to leave any additional profile updates or modifications to the discretion of the individual profile managers. I remain available to address questions or provide any assistance needed. Thanks again. {Barton-1128 19:39, 3 August 2020 (UTC)}


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Fogle, Patricia A., "The Descendants of Michael Köller/Culler and Eleanora Schmid Culler of Frederick County, Maryland," Willow Bend Books, Westminster, MD 21157-5026, 2001. (Full-text publication available online at <https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/558454-the-descendants-of-michael-koller-culler-and-eleanora-schmid-culler-of-frederick-county-maryland?offset=8>, accessed 28 Apr 2020.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Rice, Millard Milburn, "New Facts and Old Families From the Records of Frederick County, Maryland," Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD, 1984 (© 1976). (Limited preview version available online at <https://books.google.com/books?id=u42o5q-_YgMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false>, accessed 28 Apr 2020.) (The unnumbered chapter of interest in this publication is "Notes Relative to the Culler Family -- Descendants of Jacob and Mary Koller," pp 79-126. The limited preview version does not include this chapter. There is, however, an earlier draft of the chapter, dated 1969, available at <https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/602498-some-notes-relative-to-the-culler-family-descendants-of-jacob-and-mary-culler?offset=3>.)
  3. "Gender-specific surname variants," (<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_name>, accessed 10 May 2020.)
  4. "Grammatical Effects on German Names," (<https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/Germany_Names,_Personal>, accessed 10 May 2020.)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Kerchner, Charles F., Jr., "18th Century Pennsylvania German Naming Customs and Patterns," 1995 - 2006, Para. 5. (Online record at <www.kerchner.com/germname.htm>, accessed 18 May 2020.)

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Comments: 3

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Hi Kylie, thanks for the comments. Regarding the second comment, yes, there is a Culler Family Cemetery near Jefferson, Frederick County, Maryland, where some of the Frederick County descendants are buried. There are a total of 11 graves there according to the Find A Grave site (<https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/2161763/culler-family-cemetery?>). I read somewhere that it's part of a tract of land that was once owned by Michael Köller. Pat Fogle mentions it in her book (pp. viii-ix of the Intro and pp. 502-503) and says that the cemetery is overgrown, the stones have deteriorated, and the owner will not let anyone clean it up. It was also Pat who made the comment that there are a number of family members who were born a Köller and died a Culler, and I think we'll find some of them here.
posted by Dennis Barton
LNAB: Stay consistent. If you decide to go with the last name with the umlaut, which is the preferred way, make sure to include the known variations including the english version without umlaut in the other last name field on the profile edit page.

In saying that, in my personal ancestor profiles, I put the LNAB as the Australian spelt surname of Haese which is the universal translation of Häse. The reason being that I didnt know the surname was Häse before joining wikitree, I suspected it could have been Hase not Häse. And lastly, I figure that anyone researching my surname and thus my ancestors they would be searching Haese first.

So although wikitree says to put the spelling at birth or baptism records say, I do not think this is always the best policy for German heritage. So many families have a different variation of surname spelling in the records for every child that it can be hard to decide. So staying consistent is important also put the surname variations you find in the "other last names" field on the edit page.

Merging: Always merge to the lowest wikitree ID number, if the surnames are the same.

Places of birth: You can add a research notes section to the biography section, after biography and before sources is where you put the heading. This is a good place to write anything that you can't find sources for, or can't definitively answer. I would recommend not changing this for the proposal above unless you have a good source first. Instead write why you think it might be incorrect in the research notes section.

There are many reasons why there could be inconsistencies across births and locations. Just because children born first and last have different birth places than the middle child is not a good enough reason to say they werent or were born somewhere. This goes for everything.

Great page Dennis, great collabotive efforts here. I am sure you guys will have some great profiles once you work together and work on them. :-)

Kylie ~Germany Project Leader

posted by Kylie Haese
I just noticed in proposal 5 that there is a Cullers Family Cemetery....is it called that? If there are things like that, places and genealogically significant places which are called "Cullers" it really might be beneficial to keep the surname as that. And you can have the profiles born in Germany as Köller with Culler in the other last names field.
posted by Kylie Haese