The signature of Johan Paulus Vogt

Sunday, November 21, 2010


John Paul Vaught and his family may have been the first of our family in Virginia, but they were not the first Germans. The Colony of Germanna was truly in the wilderness (at it's start) in 1714. By the time John Paul Vaught and his family arrived in the area in 1735, the colony had expanded with and moved more towards the area where the Vaught's settled. This leads me to believe that Germanna had a pretty large influence in our ancestors daily lives.

The following site is the official web presence of Germanna today and it is fantastic. I highly recommend checking it out---maybe not for direct information on our family, but definitely for some very relevant background information on daily life in the area of Virginia where the Vaught's lived.

History of Germanna The memorial Foundation of the Germanna Colonies in Virginia Inc.

Germanna casts a long shadow over 18th Century Virginia. John Paul Vaught and his family no doubt had fairly close ties to this group starting in 1735 when they moved to the Orange County homestead. Indeed, before the family moved west to the Great Shenandoah Valley in 1744, their youngest daughter Maria Catherina married one Christohper Moyers, son of George Moyer (aka Jurgen Majer) who with his family settled the second Germanna colony in 1717.

At the bottom of the above link, there is a reference to the Hebron Lutheran Church being built (just a few miles southeast of John Paul Vaught's land) in 1740. Maria Catherina (Vaught) Moyers was a communicant at the church with her husband until 1792 (Christopher until 1790).

The first Vaught homestead in Virginia

John Paul Vaught moved his family to Orange County, Virginia in 1735.  The land is located  a little west of Culpeper, Virginia, right near the boarder of Madison County.  Here's a satellite image from the search engine that I have overlayed the estimated boundary lines between John Paul Vaught and Christian Clements (who would married John Paul Vaught's eldest daughter in 1738.

If you look closely, the layout of the trees still matches the old boundary lines. 

This image interpreted from the classic work on the Vaught family, "There was a Gaspar in the Family" by Spurlin and Martin.

My father and I visited this area in 1998 on a family history road trip.  The Hebron Lutheran Church is a few miles to the southwest just out of range of the picture.  If you've visited this land, I'd love to hear your impressions---for me it was almost a spiritual experience.  Knowing that we were walking on the ground, on roads (that were built on wagon trails) that our ancestors probably passed hundreds of years really was a wonderful experience.  I'd love to see it in the winter!

Friday, November 19, 2010

George Washington Vaught 1870 Census (Indiana)

So here's my first contribution of data to the site...a digital copy of the 1870 Census for Indiana (Clark Township, Johnson County). This is a detail of George Washington Vaught's household.

I have blurred out the other families on the picture to make it easier to find George, though if you look closely, he's really listed as "Washington Vought". What confirms that he is really George Washington Vaught are the names of his wife (Mary) and children. As an added bonus, the last name on the list for that household is one Jonathan Snow (soon to be the subject of another post) who is the father of George's wife, Mary.

Sadly, just four years later, George Washington Vaught would die at the age of 55.

Johan Paulus Vogt

The man, the myth, the legend. I suppose it's fair to start the story at the beginning. For many of the thousands of Vaught's across the country, the beginning of our story is one man. Johan Paulus Vogt, born sometime in or around 1680 in or near Frankfurt, Germany.

For any of you who've been at this quest for a while, you know the story: Johan Paulus Vogt brings his family (his wife, Maria Catherina, his two sons, Johan Andreas and Johan Gasper, and his two daughters, Catherina Margaret and Maria Catherina) across the Atlantic and arrives in Philidelphia in October, 1733.

The first solid proof that this man and his family even existed at all is the ship's passenger list from October 11, 1733, showing the family among the other 50-odd German immigrants. This passenger list, printed in numerous books and available readily on the internet, is invaluable.

How can a simple document that just shows names on a ship be such a treasure trove? Well, this document shows us all kinds of information:
  • The ship's name was the Charming Betty, captained by John Ball.
  • The ship arrived from London (so we know they were at least in England for a bit)
  • 62 passengers, split up into 15 families arrived on the Charming Betty
  • The ship arrived in port on the 11th, but the passengers were officially imported on the 12th of October, 1733---from this we can deduce that the ship arrived late in the day, after the time when the captain could have arranged paperwork with the local courthouse.
  • The ship was likely small---most ships of the time that deposited Germans in Philadelphia carried over a hundred, some as many as three hundred passengers.
  • On the 12th, the heads of the families of the Charming Betty were taken before the local court, where in the presence of the Lieutenant Governor and other magistrates, the oath of loyalty to the Crown was administered and they became British subjects.
  • We know the ages of the passengers, which gives us the birth years as well (Johan Paulus 53, Maria Catherina 46, Johan Andreas 12, Johan Gasper 8, Catherina Margaret 18, Maria Catherina 16)
  • From the arrival date in October, we can figure at least 2 months at sea, up to possibly 4 or even 6 months. Ocean transit was fairly commonplace but highly unpredictable in the 18th century. Most voyages seemed to average a couple months at the minimum.

So it's fairly easy to imagine Johan Paulus Vogt and his family staggering off the ship they had been cooped up in for weeks and weeks, finally walking on dry land and thanking God for dilvering them safely across the Atlantic. And with those first footsteps off the ship onto American soil, our family is born.

One Small Step...

So here it is, the first post to the Vaught Family History blog. Just to give you an overview of what I hope to accomplish here, this blog will be mainly a vessel for spreading the history of our family to anyone who is interested.
This blog isn't going to be my random thoughts, digitized. We'll be able to share information, stories, photographs, documents, and ideas on our families, the research process---especially those brick walls out there---and hopefully have some fun on the way. This blog will be many things, a place for collecting family stories and traditions, pictures, and anything else related to the Vaughts (and any family married into the Vaught line). I'm currently writing a book about our family history, so I'm sure bits and pieces of that will end up here as well.
In the course of my research into our family, I've encountered numerous websites and volunteers who have helped me. Through this site, I hope to "pay it forward" a bit and see if maybe I can't help others out there. You don't have to be researching one of our specific families---most of the techniques and tips family historians use today apply to just about everyone!
Hopefully, in time, this site will act as a compendium of knowledge about our families, a collective work to be shared so that the memory of our ancestors will be passed on to future generations.
With that, I look forward to sharing with you our common family history.