About Me


I first became interested in genealogy when I was about 10 years old and my mother brought home a family tree from her family that a relative had managed to get out of Germany (click HERE to see it).  I found all the patterns and interconnections fascinating.  I became further interested when my parents and I were driving through the German countryside, and my father pointed to a nearby town, Steinheim, and said that was where our family came from.  I wanted to know who, and when, and where, and all about them. I still do.

My family was a German Jewish family.  Because of this, the preeminent event in our family history was the Shoah, or Holocaust.  Before the Nazis came to power my family had been living in Germany for hundreds of years (the earliest records are from the 1500’s and 1600’s).  Until the 1800’s most of them lived in small villages, raising and trading cattle, being small time traders.  In the 1800’s they moved to larger towns, becoming doctors, lawyers, scientists, businessmen, philosophers, politicians, artists.  I can record hundreds of relatives who lived in Germany at the beginning of the 1930’s.  By 1945, only a tiny handful were still living there. Those who could, had gotten out.  To the United States, if they could get a visa.  To the other countries of west Europe. To Palestine. South America. Shanghai. New Zealand.  Those who couldn’t get out were killed.  I can identify 60 who were killed in Auschwitz alone, including three of my grandparents.

In a ten year period my family went from being concentrated in one small country to being spread out all over the world. Today I have relatives in the U.S., Germany, Israel, France, Argentina, Ireland, Bolivia, Spain, New Zealand, Sweden, Australia, the U.K., and more.

My mother was born in Berlin, my father in Wiesbaden.  My father’s father’s family (KLEINSTRASS) came from Westphalia, specifically the towns of Steinheim and Bredenborn and other nearby towns.  His mother’s family came from Wiesbaden and the surrounding areas.  The BAUM family came from the town of Schierstein, now part of Wiesbaden. The BAERs came from the town of Nassau and from Wiesbaden.  Other branches came from Romrod (FLÖRSHEIM) and Viernheim (GERNSHEIMER). See this MAP PAGE to see where these places are.

My mother’s family came from the eastern part of Germany.  Much of that area became part of Poland after World War II.  Her father’s family (LUFT) came from West Prussia.  On her mother’s side, the EISENSTÄDT family came from Stuhm (now Sztum), near Danzig (now Gdansk).  The JACOBIs came from Bromberg (Bydgoszcz), while the SORAUER and MÜHSAM families lived in Upper Silesia (now in southwest Poland).  See this other MAP PAGE for those places.

My parents were able to escape to Sweden before the war, and then immigrated to the U.S. in 1948, settling in Los Angeles, as did their sisters and brother.

About me: I was born in Los Angeles in 1954 and grew up there. I studied Physics at Grinnell College, then worked in the solar cell industry for a couple of years.  I went to graduate school at Penn State University, where I received a masters degree and a Ph.D. in Materials Science.  My area of specialization has been thin film coatings, especially ultra-hard coatings such as cubic boron nitride and diamond-like carbon.  I worked in industry for several years before starting a consulting firm, DJK Coating Solutions.  I have always liked to travel, and have so far been to 84 countries.

For more about me, see THE REST OF MY WEBSITE.



Name: Daniel Kester

Gender: Male

Age: 54

Status: Married

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Current Residence:

    Buffalo, NY


    English, German

Also known as:

    Dany Kester

   Danny Kester


Occupation: Scientist


     Grinnell College (BA)

    Penn State Univ. (Ph.D.)


You can email me at:

geneo (at) theKesters.net

or you can


About me and my family

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Top: my father, me, Gunilla, my mother.

Bottom: my daughters Anya and Shiri, Gunilla