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About the study

The Kester One-Name study started back in 1982.  My mother had been working on the families genealogy for many years, and in 1982 she handed most of her work over to me, it included her work on the Kester family, in the United States and over to Germany.  In 2017, the Kester surname was registered with the Guild Of One-Name Studies.

Variant names

The registered variant of Kester, is Kuster.  In the 1680's, a family of Kuster's left Germany, sailing to Pennsylvania, America.  They did not all travel at the same time, several of the son's sailed first, and were later followed by the parents and some more siblings.  In America, the Kuster name has had many different spellings, one of them being Kester.

Name origin

The Kester surname can be found all over the world.  The Kester line which I have been working on for years, arrived in America in the 1680's, as Kuster.    

In Germany, the official in charge of the church sacristy was the Kuster. (Kester, Kuester, Kiester and Koester are variations of that occupational name.) The English equivalent was Sexton, and in the United States most commonly called the Church Caretaker.

The Dictionary has "Sexton", Sex·ton, a noun: sexton; plural noun: sextons; a person who looks after a church, a church-yard, sometimes doing the bell-ringing and formerly did the grave digging (a grave-digger).

The Kuster family of Paulus Kuster, was part of the original families that William Penn assisted in emigrating to Pennsylvania, settling there and founding Germantown.  Germantown has since become part Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

Paulus Kuster and his wife, Gertrude Doors had many children.  Their son Johannes Kuster, was one of the them that left Germany before his parents, coming to America in 1684.  He is included in the Germantown 1691 Naturalization Petition.  Johannes was married to Elizabeth Cassell, and most of their children used the surname of Kester.

Paul Kester, a son of Johannes and Elizabeth, kept using Kester.  It is from this Kester that my line if from.