The Custer family was the first of our families that I researched. My husband, Gary, and I already knew some of the basics and a cousin, Robert Livingston Custer, had done quite a bit of research into our Custer ancestry.
We knew that Gary was a cousin to George Armstrong Custer who the family called "The General" but we knew little else about the early ancestry of the Custer family. Boy! Were we in for a surprise! It turns out that Kuster/Custer family were one of the first settlers of Pennsylvania. They were of the Mennonite religion in the Rhineland area of Germany. The Mennonites were persecuted for their religion in Germany in much the same way that the Quakers (Society of Friends) were persecuted in British Isles. In fact, when William Penn was trying to get people together to settle in what would become Pennsylvania, he contacted some of the leaders of the Mennonite religion in Germany and asked if they would like to join the Quakers. They settled in the Montgomery County area while the Quakers settled in the Chester County area of the new "Penn Settlement". Among the new German settlers were Paulus Kuster and Gertrude Doors, our American Custer patriarch and matriarch.
Gary's line from his grandmother Lena Custer, who married Marion Lovel Coats, is as follows:
Lewis Maxwell Custer
Alexander S. Custer
Arnold Arets Kuster
Reinhart (or Reiner) Kuster
Ololus Kuster (Believed to be)
This is by no means a complete Custer genealogy and I haven't spent a lot of energy on George Armstrong "Autie" Custer. There are plenty of reference materials on both and others have done a fantastic job recounting both histories. My husband and I read whatever we can find on "The General". He was a fascinating person. As I was entering the vital information on him and his family, the devastation of 25 Jun 1876 becomes abundantly clear. In one day, his parents, Emanuel Henry and Maria Ward Kirkpatrick Custer lost 3 sons, a son-in-law and a grandson. I can only imagination the heartbreak that greeted them every day.
I have mainly concentrated on the descendants of Alexander S. Custer even though I have tried to thoroughly research Alexander's siblings and their descendants. I want to say thank you to Robert Livingston Custer, Catherine Burke and Grace Ebneter, Ronald Custer, Susan Schnelbach, Michael Godshalk and all others who have shared their Custer knowledge with me. Their help was invaluable. Any new information on these families is very appreciated.