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The Smelser information that follows is a compilations of sightings, census, marriages records and family stories from Smelser descendants. It is provided here in hope that you will be able to find your Smelser descendants through the information we have provided. We ask that this information be used for your own family tree research and not be published. If you have any questions, please write the person submitting the information, or write me, Cindy Dickinson, at


The Smelser family lived in Alsace -Lorraine about 1490 when it was held by the Germans. They were iron ore smelters. They were called "The Smelters" which later was changed to Smeltzers. Either before or after the French captured Alsace-Lorraine (in German: Elsass- Lothringen; Southwest part of Germany; Alsace became part of France after 30 years war which ended 1648; Lorraine became part of France in 1766) the Smelters emigrated to the New World, settling in Old New York which was held by the Dutch (note: Word "deutsch" means "German" and many people confuse it with "dutch"). They prospered there. When the English captured New York, the Smelzers left the colony, some going with the Dutch to Pennsylvania and the other part of the family going to Virginia.

(Note: Paulser Smelser's great-grandson Joshua named one of his daughters Minnie Moselle. Moselle is the name of a present state in France of what used to be the northern part of the Alsace- Lorraine state of Germany.)


Germans began migrating to America in the 1680's. From 1680-1776 German's emigrating usually came in groups. The first mass emigration was 1700-1750 due to war and religious persecution. Palatine area was devastated by both the 30 year war (1618-48) and Palatinate war (1688-1697) which laid waste to that area of Germany. (Palatine and Rhineland were the northern neighbors of Alsace-Lorraine.) Rhineland immigrants might also include those from French Moselle and Bas-Rhein (Alsace), the Sarrland, Rhineland-Pflaz, northwestern Baden-Wurttemberg, western Hesse and southwestern Westfalen. They represent the major portion of the Pennsylvania Dutch. The Rhineland was overrun by the French several times until driven out in 1689.

Until 1800 the German's were broken down by classes. First class were the nobility; Second class parsons, scholars and scientists; the next level was craftsmen and merchants who were bound by Guilds and finally farmers. Farmers were not released from bondage until about 1800. Due to restrictions, Germans did not move much. The population in Europe doubled after 1750 and competition for land was so strong farmers began leaving. Before 1850 most of emigrants were farmers and craftsmen.

Most emigrants left Germany through Bremen or Hamburg. Bremen's records were destroyed. Most who left from Hamburg ended at New York City. Before 1870 less than 20% left by indirect means through England, France, etc. Southern Germans might have left from LeHarve (France), Antwerp or down the Rhine to Rotterdam, Holland.

German parents often named their first born sons and daughters after parents and othre sons and daughters after both grandfathers and both grandmothers. (Note: If Paulser followed the naming pattern--his parents were John and Elizabeth--a Johannes Schmeltzar b. ca. 1706 Karlsruke, Baden, Germany d. ca. 1753-71 PA m. ca. 1734-37 Anna Elizabeth Korr b. 23 Dec. 1715 Karlruke, Baden, Germany d/o Michael Korr and had several children in Lancaster Co., PA---of the ones known, none a Paulser though.--Robin Smith)
[Special thanks to Robin Smith ( the Smelser research.]

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Jacob Smelser of Hart, KY, s/o ?
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