Keyser Family History
History of my Keyser Ancestry
The origin and meaning of the name is unclear, but it is believed that it is
derived from the german word for Emperor or Caeser namely, Kaiser.
From the very beginning the Keyser's lived in Alsace. The Alsations (people
of Alsace) speak there own German dialect called Alsation. They consider
themselves as Alsations (of which they are very proud) and neither German nor
French. Alsace, situated where it is, west of the Rhine valley has a long
history of then being part of Germany and later again being part of France. It
has now been part of France, in the province known as Alsace-Lorraine for more
than a century.
There seems to be a long tradition, namely three generations, of Lock-keepers
in the Keyser family. Up to this day the Lock at Vendenheim in Alsace, France of
which my great Grandfather Friedrich Keyser was the Lock-keeper, is still
operational. The operation of the lock today is however mechanised, but is still
operated by a lock-keeper. The house in which my grandfather Fritz Keyser lived
as a child is also still there and looks virtually the same as it did a century
ago. When grandfather Fritz returned to his fatherland for the first time in the
1950's, since leaving in 1911, he made a pencil sketch of his childhood home.
This is now my proud possession and has a prominent position in our living room.
Just as with my Küsel ancestors approximately 60 years earlier, grandfather Friedrich
Keyser left his fatherland to become
a missionary in Africa.
Keyser Ancestry (France)
My family roots in France
The first recorded ancestor from my mother's (Keyser) side was Georg
Keyser who's occupation was Lock-keeper in the north eastern French province
From this generation more detail is available but I will only mention
those direct in line of my lineage.
Legend : * = Born, + = Died, ¥ = Married.
Great- Great- Great Grandfather
|I - Georg Keyser|
Georg Keyser (Lock-keeper), * Schmieheim in Baden in 1783, + Alsace
16 February 1829, ¥ Magdalena Walter.
Great- Great Grandfather
|II - Georg Keyser|
Georg Keyser (Lock-keeper), * Obenheim, Alsace 12 January 1817, + Klingental,
Alsace, ¥ , L?? Alsace 20 January 1845 Anna Marie Christ, * 1 May 1816
Botzheim, + 11 September 1878 Obenheim, Daughter of ?? Christ, * 17 September
1784 in Obenheim, Alsace and Anna Maria ?? * 24 January 1783 in L??, Alsace,
¥ 27 Juni 1811 in L??, Alsace.
|III - Friedrich Keyser|
Friedrich Keyser (Lock-keeper), * Obenheim, Alsace 16 November 1853,
+ 25 June 1918 Vendenheim, Alsace, ¥ Louise Kögler Obenheim 23
September 1879, * Obenheim 8 March 1851, + 14 August 1911, Vendenheim,
Daughter of Friedrich Kögler, * 1 September 1822 Obenheim, + 8 April
1892 Obenheim and ¥ 27 December 1847 Obenheim Eva Buldenspergen, *
5 May 1824 Obenheim, + 17 June 1907 Obenheim. 8 Children were born from
|IV - 1 Louise Keyser, * 13 July 1881 Obenheim|
|IV - 2 Friederich (Fritz)
Keyser, * 19 March 1882 Obenheim, my grandfather|
|IV - 3 Salome Keyser, * 21 March 1884 Heinrichsdorf|
|IV - 4 Georg Keyser, * 20 February 1885 Heinrichsdorf|
|IV - 5 Philipp Keyser,
* 10 April 1886 Vendenheim|
|IV - 6 Friedericke (Rickel) Keyser, * 3 November 1887 Vendenheim|
|IV - 7 Sophie Keyser,
* 19 June 1889 Vendenheim|
|IV - 8 Lydia Keyser, * 8 May 1891 Vendenheim|
The second child was my grandfather. Louise, Salome, Georg, Rickel and
Lydia never married. Georg was killed in action in World War I. Apart from
grandfather Fritz only Philipp
and Sophie had children. We still have
contact with these descendants
|IV - Friedrich Keyser|
Friedrich (Fritz) Keyser, * 19 March 1882 Obenheim Alsace France, +
?? 1969 Pietermaritzburg (Buried at Bishopstower Lutheran cemetry near
Pietermaritzburg), KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, ¥ Marie Knoop 16 July
1914, * 24 June 1892 Glückstadt Vryheid KwaZulu-Natal, + ?? Ekombela
KwaZulu-Natal (Buried at Braunschweig Lutheran cemetry near Paulpietersburg),
daughter of ?? Knoop. 5 Children were born at Ekombela Mission Station,
Paulpietersburg KwaZulu-Natal. The children were:
|V - 1 Hartwig Georg Heinrich Keyser, * 1 August 1917|
|V - 2 Friedrich Ludwig Johannes Keyser, * 19 August 1919|
|V - 3 Hildegard Minna Salome Küsel (nee Keyser), * 16 December
|V - 4 Lydia Bruwer (nee Keyser), * 13 November 1924|
|V - 5 Sylvia Schwegmann (nee Keyser), * 7 May 1929|
|V - Hildegard Minna Salome Keyser|
Hildegard Minna Salome Küsel (nee Keyser), * 16 December 1921 Ekombela,
+ Durban (KwaZulu-Natal) 2 April 1985 (Buried at Braunschweig Lutheran
cemetry near Paulpietersburg), ¥ Lüneburg (KwaZulu-Natal) 23 April
1942 Wilhelm Fritz Erwin Küsel, * Lüneburg (KwaZulu-Natal) 23
March 1911, + Pretoria (Gauteng) 12 September 1984 (Buried at Braunschweig
Lutheran cemetry near Paulpietersburg), grandson of Friedrich
Jürgen Christoph Küsel (South African Küsel Ancestry):
Extract from Diary
The following is a brief extract from my grandfathers
oldest sister's diary. After World War I she requested her siblings to
destroy this diary as she was a German sympathiser. This was dangerous
for some one living in Alsace, France at the time. Luckily it was never
destroyed and it is in possession of Hedwig Trautmann who is the daughter
of Sophie Keyser the second youngest sister of my grandfather.
|16 March 1910
||Fritz passes his Missionary exam at Hermannsburg,
|28 March 1910
||Fritz is ordained by Pastor Wagner in Chor der
Jung St Peters Church. Text John 20 verses 19-23. Witnesses: Pastor Horning,
Luke 24:32 and Pastor Hasselmann, Hebrews 4:14.
|30 March 1910
||Fritz is engaged to Hanna Stricker. John 20:19-20.
|1 April 1910
||Fritz becomes pastor in training (Vikar) in Metz,
|9 August 1911
||Hanna Stricker breaks the engagement to Fritz.
|14 August 1911
||Death of Fritz's mother.
|25 - 30 August 1911
||I (Louise) accompany Fritz to Hermannsburg and
could experience how much love and friendship he had enjoyed there. His
final preparations for his missionary career were in the evenings at 8
o'clock. Text 1 Timothy 2:4-7. Hymms "Ist Gott für mich"
(Is God for me) and "Mein Schöpfer steh mir bei" (My creator
stand by me).
|23 September 1911
||Fritz begins his trip to Africa. Father accompanies
him to Antwerp, Belgium. From there he leaves on the ship Rhenania on 25
||The first news in the new year is the egagement
of Fritz to Mariechen Knoop from Vryheid. May they enjoy much happiness.
|16 July 1914
||Wedding of Mariechen and Fritz. (Further news
from Africa was cut off due to out break of World War I).
||We receive news that Fritz has been captured
by the British, and is being held in Pietermaritzburg. (This was due to
his German background).
|21 March 1915
||Good news from Mariechen, which we received via
Switzerland, that Fritz was well. As he was still detained, Mariechen was
staying with her aunt in Sejuna Trieft.
|26 March 1915
||We receive a letter from Fritz.
|1 July 1915
||Fritz writes that he and other missionaries have
been freed from detention, but are still not allowed back to their respective
|15 July 1916
||Fritz writes that they had a stillborn son on
25 July, and that Mariechen's life was still hanging on a thread.
||We receive the happy news of the birth of a baby
son on 1 August. He was christend with the names - Hartwig Georg Heinrich.
|23 September 1919
||We receive the news that another baby son, Friedrich
Ludwig Johannes, was born on 19 August 1919. Friedrich Keyser III celebrated
his 80th birthday on 21 August 1999, by inviting all the Keyser dependants
in South Africa, to his farm Rosewood in the district of Richmond, KwaZulu-Natal.
This is the last entry into Louise's diary.
My mother Hildegard
Minna Saloma Küsel (nee Keyser) was
born on 16 December 1921, on Ekombela Mission Station. On 23 April 1942
she marries my father Wilhelm Fritz Erwin Küsel, a farmer from the
neighbouring farm Welbedacht.
I.A - Philipp Keyser
Philipp Keyser, * Vendenheim 10 April 1886, +
Greiz (East Germany) 1969, ¥ ....., He was working as a missionary
nurse ("Diakon") in East Germany when World War II broke out.
After the war when Germany was divided up by the allies, he landed up in
Soviet occupied East Germany. He had two children who still live in the
previous East Germany.
|Gisela Bollman (nee Keyser)|
I.B - Sophie Keyser
Sophie Keyser, * Vendenheim 19 June 1889, + Lembach,
Alsace, never married but had a child Hedwig Trautmann (nee Keyser).
II.B - Hedwig Keyser
Hedwig Trautmann (nee Keyser), * Strassbourg Alsace,
married Georg Trautmann just before World War II in Alsace. They have 4
|Jean (Hans) Trautmann, * Lembach, Alsace|
|Liesel Trautmann, * Lembach, Alsace 1943|
|Sylvia Trautmann (twin), * Lembach, Alsace 1945|
|Lydia Trautmann (twin), * Lembach, Alsace 1945|
When WW II started in 1939 many people from Alsace
were detained because of their so called German connections, by the French.
Later when Hitler's German troops captured France they were again detained
because they were French. Still later however, they were called up by Hitler
to fight for Germany because they were "German". This also happend
to Hedwig's husband Georg. Hedwig Trautmann had two young children and
was pregnant when World War II ended. The last time Hedwig heared from
Georg was towards the end of 1944 when he was fighting somewhere in Poland.
She never heard from him again, and she assumed he went missing in action.
No one could however tell whether he died in action or was maybe captured
by the Russians and detained somewhere in their labour camps. The twins,
Sylvia and Lydia, never knew their father. Jean and Liesel obviously remember
very little of him. Hedwig had a very hard time bringing up her four children,
as a single parent, during the hard times after the war. Her only son Jean
(Hans) tragically died in a car accident in 1969. The twins Sylvia and
Lydia married the brothers Albert and Hermann Fortmann. Below a short summary
of their offspring.
Albert (bookkeeper) and Sylvia Fortmann have 4
children and live in Lembach, Alsace.
|Christian Fortmann, divorced has a son Mathieu|
|Bruno Fortmann ¥ Natalie|
|Jean-Luc Fortmann ¥ Rachel Haessig (Sons:
Daniel & André)|
|Isabelle ¥ Philipp Vogler|
Hermann (farmer) and Lydia Fortmann have 6 children
and live in Ober-Soulzbach, Alsace.
|Marc Fortmann ¥ Anne Catharine (Sons: Stephane,
|Cathy ¥ Frédéric Vogler (Daughter:
Manon, Son: Hugo)|
|Bethy ¥ Frédéric Ludwig (Son:
Christian, Daughter: Ande)|
|Pierre (Peter) Fortmann ¥ Cardine Fritzinger|
|Remy Fortmann ¥ Rosine Ludwig (Daughter:
Sophie, Son: Simon)|
Anybody who knows any of the
above persons or any of their descendants, family or friends, please send
an E-Mail to Heinz Küsel firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to the address on my home page.