15 February 2007 – an amazing genealogical day.
On a previous trip to Germany (January 2001), I had spent some time at the Mainz city archives and was able to add two additional generations to the VOGT line. An excerpt from my notes from 2001:
“I found 2G-GF Jean Henri Joseph VOGT’s birth card, confirmed as being 28 January 1762. His father, 3G-GF Jean Nikolaus (not Nikolas as I have it) VOGT, was a butcher and was born 15 March 1710 in the village of Lich (near Geißen) to Heinrich VOGT (also a butcher – ein metzger) and Anna Maria (nee WOHMANN) – my great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.”
That was then. This is now. I’m back in Germany on business, and had some spare time for research. Today, I drove from Ramstein (near Kaiserslautern) up to Lich (about 50 miles north of Frankfurt) to continue the research on the VOGT line.
My first stop was the Rathaus (city hall) to see if they had an archive or clerk’s office equivalent where vital records from the 1700’s could be found. They did not, and I was told that the civil authorities didn’t record such records back then so none existed. BUT… the church did (an evangelical protestant church). The lady at the city hall office called over to the church office to ask if I could stop by, which was allowed. After buying a heritage book about Lich (“Licher Heimatbuch“) and getting a map and some other brochures for free, I headed up the street to the Marienstiftskirche office. There I met Frau Richtsmann, and she pulled out the original record book from the 1680-1720 range, to look for Jean (or Johann) Nikolaus VOGT, born 15 March 1710. Nothing. No record for any child born in the village in all of March 1710. February and April, but not March.
She then pulled out note cards that went back before that time organized by last name, looking for a Heinrich VOGT. Still nothing. That was the extent of her records for that time period, and she said that there were no other churches in the village at that time – everyone in town was evangelical protestant.
She then told me that there was a teacher in town who was also a genealogical researcher and she had an enormous amount of information on the VOGT name, as it was a very common name back then, as well as now. She gave me her name, address, and phone number, but said that she would be in school now (it was then about 1 pm) and would not be at home until a little after 3 pm when school got out for the day.
I thanked her for her help, walked back to my car and put the books and brochures in the trunk, took my camera and walked around the city center (VERY old buildings in traditional half-timbered style) taking pictures and looking for a place to grab a bite for lunch. I found the street where the teacher/genealogy person lived, found her house, and had a bowl of potato goulash soup in a café near her house.
After eating, I called her number to see if she was home, but she was not, so I walked back to the car to call occasionally and wait until 3 pm or so. I called every 20-30 minutes, but there was no answer, even up to 3:30 pm. I decided to have one last walk around the town center before driving back to Ramstein (2-plus hours drive).
While I was walking, she called me back (caller ID works in Germany too). She had bumped into Frau Richtsmann from the church, so she knew I was looking to talk to her.
I walked to her house, and we talked for over 2 hours. It turns out, she specializes in researching VOGT genealogy, and has an 18,000 name database of various VOGT and VOGT descendants. She had no record of Jean (or Johann) Nikolaus VOGT being born in Lich (she claims to have all recorded VOGTs from Lich in her database – she’s been collecting them for a long time). It is likely that I read the birth card in Mainz incorrectly back in 2001, and that Jean Nikolaus was born in Mainz, not Lich. BUT, she did have Nikolaus’ father, listed as Johann Henrich VOGT, (previously mentioned 5G-GF, born October 12 1682 in Lich; baptized October 17 1682 in Lich; Profession: Metzger [butcher] in Mainz 1708). His parents were Johann Balthasar VOGT (6G-GF, born July 31 1657 in Lich; baptized August 4 1657 in Lich; died April 2 1716 in Lich; Profession: butcher) and Juliana HELLER (6G-GM, born July 30 1662 in Lich; baptized August 2 1662 in Lich; died December 10 1715 in Lich). Johann Balthasar VOGT’s parents were Cloß VOGT (7G-GF, born 1614 in Lich, died October 21 1692 in Lich; Profession: butcher) and Anna SCHMANDT (7G-GM). Cloß VOGT’s parents were Hermann VOGT (8G-GF, Profession: butcher) and Barbara ????? (8G-GM). This adds three more generations to our VOGT line!
She is preparing an exhibit of VOGTs that emigrated to America to be on display in the city museum this summer sometime, and she asked if I could send her the group photo from our 1995 reunion and a copy of my sister’s and my book from the reunion so they can be included in the museum exhibit. On my list of things to do when I get home! We will be exchanging information via email as well.
Talk about a find!!