Chapter 1

Revised 5 December 2019 by author Lawrence Eugene Vaughn Jr

Vaughan Surnames Emerge



  • Foreword: Vaughan/Vaughn Etymology
  • Chapter 1 – Vaughan Surnames Emerge
  • Chapter 2 – Vaughan Families of Wales
  • Chapter 3 – Vaugh(a)ns of Colonial America
  • Chapter 4 – Vaugh(a)n Migration in America
  • Chapter 5 – Little Egypt of Southern Illinois
  • Chapter 6 – The Choates of Southern Illinois
  • Chapter 7 – Whittenbergs Of Johnson County Illinois
  • Chapter 8 – The Great World War
  • Chapter 9 – Reverend William Thomas Vaughn
  • Chapter 10 –  Jessie Beulah Phillips Vaughn
  • Chapter 11 – Autobiography of Jessie Beulah Phillips Vaughn
  • Chapter 12 – The Alfred Morefield Phillips Family
  • Chapter 13 – Vaughn Aunt, Uncles and Others
  • Chapter 14 – Lawrence Eugene Vaughn (Sr)
  • Chapter 15 –  Lawrence Eugene Vaughn (Sr) Military Service
  • Chapter 16 – Marjorie Gwendolyn White
  • Chapter 17 – The Wallace Benjamin White Family
  • Chapter 18 – Vaughn and White Great-Grandparents
  • Chapter 19 – White Aunts, Uncles and Cousins
  • Chapter 20 –  Hannibal, Missouri – Mississippi River Town
  • Chapter 21 – Childhood and School Days
  • Chapter 22 – Meeting “Granmom”
  • Chapter 23 – Adulthood and Related Notions
  • Chapter 24 – Lea’s Family – The Tates
  • Chapter 25 – Boonville MO
  • Chapter 26 – Danville to Indianapolis
  • Chapter 27 – Moberly & Mexico
  • Chapter 28 – Holts Summit MO
  • Chapter 29 – Chillicothe MO
  • Chapter 30 – Indianapolis to Noblesville
  • Chapter 31 – Indiana Railroading
  • Chapter 32 – Asher Goodrich Walton
  • Chapter 33 – The Asher Walton House
  • Chapter 34 – Surviving God’s Woodshed
  • Chapter 35 – Hartford to Noblesville
  • Chapter 36 – Austin TX
  • Chapter 37 – Return to Hannibal MO
  • Chapter 38 – U.S. Navy In World War II
  • Chapter 39 – James Joseph Hoffman (Navy WWII)
  • Chapter 40 – Robert Dean Niemeyer (Navy WWII)
  • Chapter 41 – Voices of Bombing Squadron VB-19 (WWII)
  • Chapter 42 – U.S. Navy Armed Guard (Navy WWII)
  • Chapter 43 – August Lee Bergmeier (Navy WWII)
  • Chapter 44 – Rainbow Division in WWII (U.S. Army-Europe)
  • Chapter 45 – Wallace Benjamin White Jr (U.S. Navy)

In this Chapter:

  • How Surnames Evolved
  • Patronymic Naming
  • The First Vaughn Surname
  • Ednyfed Fychan Ap Cynwrig
  • The Welsh Vaughn Name
  • Post-Roman Britain
  • Rhodri, King of Gwynedd
  • Sir Robert William Vaughan
  • Walter Sais ap Roger Vychan of Llechry
  • Welsh Longbow
  •  The Vaughans Of South Wales
  • Thomas Cromwell
  • King Edward of Windsor
  • Hugh Despenser the younger
  • Edward II Deposed
  • Edward III
  • Walter de Seys
  • Vaughan Houses and Locations
  • The New World
  • Vaughan Coat of Arms
  •  Summary

How Surnames Evolved

The family of Vaughan, or Vychan, as it was originally written, is one of the oldest in the British Isles. Vychan is interpreted to mean “young,” or sometimes “small,” or “little” to infer “junior.” This was often used to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same personal name, typically the son of a father with the same name. As is usual with medieval orthography, a variety of spellings were used for this name in medieval times, such as Vychan, Vachan, Fychan, Bychan.

The Vaughan family of Wales, long before the Restoration of the Stuarts, had accurate genealogies written, and traced their ancestry back for centuries before the Norman Conquest. Skilled genealogists traced their lineage to a Welsh Knight of the famous Round Table in the mythic time of “King Arthur,” and have clearly established their line of descent from the ancient king of Wales, Moreiddig Warwyn of Breconshire and North Carmarthenshire.

Moreiddig Warwyn Coat of Arms.jpg

Moreiddig Warwyn Coat of Arms

The family has an unusual coat of arms which is attributed to Moreiddig Warwyn: three boys’ heads with snakes entwined around their necks. The coat of arms was based on an ancient family legend that says when the pregnant mother of Moreiddig Warwyn was resting in the garden, she was frightened by a poisonous Adder snake. Moreiddig was, not long after, born with a prominent mark, resembling the bite of the Adder, on his neck. The legend says that the mark was a sign of God’s protection of him while he was in his mother’s womb.

  Before record keeping began, most people only had a first name. As the population increased, people began adding descriptive information, such as John “the smith,” to a person’s name to distinguish him or her from others with the same name. It was common to see John ap John the smith, meaning John, the son of John, the smith. You can understand why “cooper,” “potter,” “baker,” and other trade names became so common, as there would usually be at least one in every settlement.

At first, a surname applied only to one person and not to the whole family. Patronymic surnames are based on the father’s given name. Generally, ap or ab was added between the child’s name and the father’s name. For example, David ap Owen is David “son of” Owen. For a woman’s name, the word ferch or verch (often abbreviated to vch), meaning “daughter of,” was used. There were many exceptions made, including ab to indicate “daughter.”

Patronymic Naming

Wales traditionally has a history of patronymic naming which used your father’s first name as your surname (last name). The practice gradually slowed down in Wales around the early 19th century as wealthier families began to carry the same surname to future generations.

Common classes of Welsh / modern Welsh surnames can be summed up in the following classes:

  • 1. Recent settled surnames of Welsh patronymic origin – These originally came from the first name of the father which usually changed from generation to generation under the patronymic system of Wales but now mostly stay the same from generation to generation. So for example the Jones surname comes from the father’s first name of John with an ‘s’ added at a later date as it became more fashionable. Other modern examples of settled surnames of Welsh patronymic origin include Williams, Evans, Lewis, Roberts, Davies and Thomas.
  • 2. Purely native Welsh / Celtic and patronymic names – These are also patronymic names that derive from the first name of the father but come exclusively from the Welsh language. Examples include Llywelyn, Morgan, Rhys, Owain, Madog, Tudur, Arthur and Caradog. These can also be descriptive Welsh words rather than just names ,often describing the person, their occupation, or a place. Examples are Llwyd, (meaning grey / brown) Coch (meaning red – developed into Gough), Fychan (small / younger), Mawr (big / large) and Gwyn (white / fair) etc.
  • 3. Ap / Ab (‘Son of’) – The same as point 1 and 2 but with an added Ap or Ab to denote ‘son of’ under the patronymic Welsh system , similar to Mac or Mc in Scotland and Ó as in Ó’Reilly and Ó’Connell in Ireland. For example ‘John ap Richard means ‘John son of Richard’. Likewise ‘Dafydd ap Llywelyn’ means ‘Dafydd son of Llywelyn’. This practice has also developed so that, in the case of Richard for example, the ‘ap’ before Richard became abbreviated and shortened in everyday speech over time to become Pritchard. Further examples include Bowen (previously ab Owen) and ‘Puw’ or ‘Pugh’ (from ‘ap Huw / Hugh’)
  • In the case of daughters, ap / ab is often replaced by ‘ferch / verch’ (daughter of / girl) instead. So a daughter of John who is named Nest would become Nest ferch John (sometimes also spelt ‘verch’). Later on, ap was often also used in the case of daughters, so Nest ap John can also be seen for example. All of these except the ‘ferch / verch’ naming system can still be seen in use today.


Ednyfed Fychan Ap Cynwrig

Fychan Coat of Arms.png

Ednyfed is believed to have been the first person to have adopted Fychan (Vaughan) as a surname. And, it is possible that he thought he was adopting the surname “Young, Younger, Junior, Small or Little.”

Ednyfed Fychan ap (son of) Cynwrig (c. 1170–1246), called by some Ednyfed the young, was a Welsh warrior who in 1215 became seneschal (Chief Councilor or Prime Minister) to the Kingdom of Gwynedd in Northern Wales. He was appointed to the position by Llywelyn the Great, and later served under Llywelyn’s son Dafydd ap Llywelyn. He was a descendant (9th in descent) of Marchudd ap Cynan, Lord of Rhos, Lord Protector of Rhodri Mawr, King of Gwynedd and an ancestor of Owen Tudor, and thereby of the Tudor dynasty.

Ednyfed was married twice, first, it is believed, to Tangwystl Goch ferch Llywarch of Menai, or Rhos, the daughter of Llywarch ap Brân, then, secondly, to Gwenllian, daughter of the prince Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth. Gwenllian died in 1236. By Ednyfed’s first marriage he had six children, and six by his second marriage, and another which was illegitimate by an unknown woman.

Ednyfed is said to have first come to notice in battle, fighting against the army of Ranulph de Blondeville, 4th Earl of Chester, who attacked Llywelyn at the behest of King John of England. Ednyfed cut off the heads of three English lords in battle and carried them, still bloody, to Llywelyn, who commanded him to change his family coat of arms to display three heads, in memory of the feat.

Ednyfed continued as seneschal in the service of Llywelyn’s son, Dafydd ap Llywelyn, until his own death in 1246. Ednyfed was buried in his own chapel, now Llandrillo yn Rhos Church, Llandrillo-yn-Rhos (Rhos-on-Sea), North Wales. Ednyfed’s son, Goronwy, gave rise to the Penmynydd branch of the Vaughan family in Anglesey, from whom
Owen Tudor, and later, Henry VII were descended.

The Vaughan family was, in the Welsh language, named Fychan. Gruffydd Fychan was married to Katherine, daughter of Maredudd ap Tudor. Their  son, Hugh Fychan, moved to Carmarthenshire in 1485, and married Jane, daughter of Morris ab Owain, Steward, of the Lordship of Kidwelly and Receiver of the Commotes of lscennen and Carnwyllion.

Kidwelly Castle

Hugh Fychan was appointed Forester of Kidwelly and by 1492 was Gentleman Usher at the court of Henry VII, his cousin. In 1532, Hugh Fychan, or Vaughan as he was now known, was appointed Keeper and Receiver of lands in Kidwelly confiscated by Henry VIII from Rhys ap Gruffydd of Dynevor.

The family home, in those days called “the family seat,” was Cwrt Bryn y Beirdd, a 14th century unfortified mansion opposite Carreg Cennen Castle in the Commote of lscennen. Hugh and Jane had one son, John Vaughan.

The Welsh Vaughan Name

The word Vaughan is a variant, or an Anglicised form of the Welsh word “Vychan.” Additional meanings, when it was a popular Scandinavian first name, included terms of endearment, such as pet, or something like “darling.” It was not an unusual case in former days, in England as well as in Wales, to have two children in the same family named by the same Christian name, as that’s, perhaps, how the “little,” or “younger,” evolved.

For example, suppose the name to be ” Watkin,” — then the younger of the two would be distinguished as the ” little Watkin ” (Watkin vychan), and the elder would be ” big Watkin” (Watkin vawr), and the father, if he was a ” Watkin,” would be ” old Watkin ” (Watkin hen).

This Welsh custom had a parallel in England also, as witnessed in old English records, where the following distinctions are set forth, thus: “John the old, John the middlemost, and John the young one “; “Robert Rey, Thomas Rey, junior, Thomas Rey, medium, o’rwise Thomas Rey, middlemost.”

Many families adopt and adhere to certain Christian family names, and the same may be observed, recurring with much regularity, in the lineage. This is specially noticeable in the Vaughan pedigree. In the Porthaml branch “Roger” (or more anciently ” Rossier”) prevails, and in very regular succession with Watkin, Thomas, and Walter, in the male line, and in the female we find Eleanor, Bridget, Joan and Elizabeth.

The Vaughans Of South Wales

The ” Vaughans ” of South Wales were the most widely distributed and distinguished of any of the ancient families of the Southern division of the Principality of Wales, their lineage being traced through the Princes or Reguli of the country.

Depiction of Ancient Tribal Briton and its Kingdoms

Their history is remarkable and interesting. In the pedigree we find two notably conspicuous personages. The first, who lived contemporaneously with the Norman invaders of Britain, was one ” Drum Bennog,” a name of some historical interest.

This Chieftain is sometimes known as ” Drym the-son-of Monarch the-son-of Dryffin, Prince of Brecknock, lord of Cantreseliff.” He married Gwen, a daughter of ” Iestyn ap Gwrgan,” Prince of Glamorgan (circa 1060). Moreiddig his son, married ” Elen ” daughter of Rhys ap Tewdor Mawr, one of the most distinguished of the Princes of South Wales.

The name suggests, in itself, rather a mark of office, or a military title, than a family name. It is unique in the language, literally meaning ” the Conspicuous Chieftain”; or, better, “the Chief Chieftain of the Eminence.”

As the word ” Drum ” is so often the appellation, in Wales, for a high hill-top or beacon summit, ” Drum-Bennog” would seem to indicate an officer whose post was to take charge of the beacons on the hills ; if so, this name refers the individual to be the Chief or Superior

Officer in charge of the Hill-beacons. This title thus throws light upon an important military post and duty, and one not referred to hitherto, by any historian, yet one which necessarily played a very material part in military strategy in early times. The existence of this name thus furnishes a new subject of historical inquiry.

With this individual we start the Vaughan pedigree, as start we must somewhere. It carries us back to a sufficiently remote period and is a reliable point. The other personage is a Sir Roger Vaughan, knight, living in the reigns of Kings Henry IV and V.

Among the gentlemen who responded to the Royal ” Proclamation,” and Letters of Invitation of Henry V, in relation to his intended invasion of France, were David Gamme, of Bredwardine, and his son-in-law, Roger Vaughan, of Tretower.

Gamme, although a Welshman, was one of the “Herefordshire men ” who sided with the late King (Henry IV) in the repression of the great Welsh rebellion under Glendower. His intimate relationship with the Court of England placed him under obligation to side with the King against his own countrymen.

Both Gamme and Vaughan were of the fighting race of British gentlemen, and who had at command always a number of retainers and followers at their call. They accompanied ” Harry of Monmouth,” as the King was called, in his expedition to France, Vaughan being in command of the Welsh troops.

The Welsh Longbow

English and Welsh longbow archers formed most of Henry’s army

Walter Seys, a prominent Vaughan ancestor, made history when he showed his mettle in battles in Scotland. It was in these battles that the prowess of large numbers of Welsh archers first came to the fore, and then again in the Wars in France, where the Welsh archers proved so valuable at Crecy in 1346. And, later, under Henry V at Agincourt, it was on that field, due to the overwhelming use of an army of longbows, that war tactics were completely changed.

The battle of the ” field of Agincourt ” stands out in history as one of the great battles won by British valor, Friday, 25 October 1415. David Gamme, a Vaughan ancestor, was made a Knight Baronet on that field. His son-in-law, Roger Vaughan was also knighted there. But alas, both Gamme and Vaughan were mortally wounded, and found graves in the soil of France.

The Agincourt battle is notable for the use of the English longbow in very large numbers, with English and Welsh archers forming most of Henry’s army. The battle is the centerpiece of the play Henry V by William Shakespeare. Many of the 7,000 Welsh archers were mounted, and thus far more mobile than foot soldiers, dismounting to fire at the enemy. They were paid 6 pence per day, which was a very high rate for the time.

The Welshman, “Fluellen,” in Shakespeare’s Henry V, is supposed to represent that ardent and conspicuous character, Gamme.

Gladys Vaughan, heiress to David Gamme

The wife of Sir Roger Vaughan, Knight of Agincourt, was Gwladis, ” daughter and heiress to David Gamme.” She was Maid of Honor to Queen Mary, wife of Henry IV, and afterwards to Queen Joane, his second wife. Sir Roger left behind him in Wales, besides a widow, five sons and five daughters.

All the sons and the daughters made good marriages. They thus enlarged their estates and increased their influence both at Court and in the country. Their descendants, as will be seen, also made good family alliances.

Each of the five sons became the head of a house and lineage. Among their marriage alliances, eminently, were the Sisylls or Cecils, of Herefordshire, ancestors of the great Cecil, Lord Burleigh,* principal Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth.

Their descendants are found in the counties of Dorset, Wilts, Oxford, Hants, Sussex, Middlesex, London, Essex, and in Lincoln and Yorkshire. They are traceable by their retaining the ancient armorial ” charge ” of Sir Roger Vaughan: ARSIS. Sable, 3 boys’ heads couped at the shoulders, crined, or, with a Snake encircling the neck, Azure.

These arms originated, according to the Welsh Heralds, with Moreiddig, surnamed ” Warwyn ” (the son of Drum-Bennog), who was born, they said, according to the country folk-lore or tradition, ” with a snake round his neck.” As the word ” War-wyn” means fair or white-naped, the probability is that he had a white birth-mark on or round his neck.

Rarely, if ever, did one single family produce such a distinguished line of ” Knights ” as these Vaughans.

Vaughan Houses and Locations

The principal houses or locations of the family in modern days were: Bredwardine and Hergest, in Herefordshire; Porthaml (Talgarth) and Tretower, in Brecknockshire ; Cleirw, in Radnorshire; Dunraven Castle, in Glamorganshire, and Pembrey Court, in Carmarthenshire. But the cradle of the race, originally, was Bredwardine and Porthaml.

Another mansion and estate, namely, Falstone, sometimes written ” Falersdowne ” and “Falersdon.” in the parish of Fishopstone, in Wiltshire, was added, about the year 1560, by purchase, by Thomas Vaughan of Bredwardine and Pembrey. And Falstone then became a new and attractive center of settlement, whither many of the younger members of the various families gravitated.


The paragraphs above are excerpts from “Reminiscences and Genealogical Record of The Vaughan Family of New Hampshire by George E. Hodgdon” Supplemented by an Account of The Vaughans of South Wales, Together With Copies of Official Papers Relating To The Vaughans of New Hampshire, Taken Out of The English Colonial Records In London by Thomas W. Hancock, Copyright, 1918, by R.C.Shannon

From Mr Hodgdon’s APPENDIX in this publication are interesting notes that clarify some of the ancient names for ancestors whose names have been Anglicised by later genealogists, and give us some cultural insights on other matters relating to the family:


  • Bredwardine Castle was dismantled in the reign of Henry II or Henry III. Roger Vaughan, son in law of Dafydd Gam, later converted the castle and manor into a multi-gabled house. Currently, only traces of the original stone can be found on the walls of the tower.
  • Hergest Castle Twts has been described as a Timber Castle. There are only earthwork remains, and the site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
  • Photos of many of the old castles’ remains are available on line.

Post-Roman Britain

Great Britain was governed by the Roman Empire, from 43 to 410 AD. The Romans vacated the British Isles because Barbarian tribes were attacking other parts of the Empire, and Roman Emperor Honorius decided that the Roman legions in Britain were needed elsewhere. He sent a letter to the people of Britain telling them the soldiers had to leave, and they would have to fight the Anglo-Saxons and invaders on their own. The Welsh, the original Ancient Britons, were left in sole possession of all of England, all the way north to the banks of the Clyde. The Saxons subsequently forced them westward into the mountains of what is now Wales, north to Cumberland and southern Scotland, and into Cornwall.

The People of Post-Roman Britain

The inhabitants of Britain were at this time somewhat Romanized, especially in urban centers; but by blood and by tradition they were primarily Celtic. Under the Romans, local chieftains had played an active role in the government of the territory, and some of these leaders took up the reigns now that the Roman officials were gone.

Large-scale and on-going invasions by various Germanic/Viking/Norsemen and Saxon peoples suggests that much of what is now England was cleared of its prior inhabitants, pushing them into what is now Scotland, Ireland and Wales,explaining why so much of the DNA of the later English people are inherited from Germanic ancestors.  The settlement of England was followed by the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the south and east of England, and later, throughout modern Great Britain.

The Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain defines the process which changed the language and culture of most of what became England from Romano-British to Germanic. The Germanic-speaking invaders, themselves of diverse origins, eventually developed a common cultural identity as Anglo-Saxons.

This process occurred from the mid 5th to early 7th centuries, following the end of Roman power in Britain around the year 410. The settlement was followed by the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the south and east of Britain, later followed by the rest of modern England.

The year 383 saw the Roman general Magnus Maximus strip all of western and northern Britain of troops and senior administrators and continuing to rule Britain from Gaul as emperor.

Rhodri, King of Gwynedd

Rhodri ap Merfyn, or Roderick the Great was king of Gwynedd, in Wales. He was succeeded by at least 4 sons, the youngest of whom was Tudwal Gloff, a man believed to have been too young to have been in the battle of 878 where Rhodri was killed, but who sustained injuries in the “avenging of Rhodri” battle of 881. That battle left him lame and unqualified for any kingship.  

The eldest son, Anarawd, succeeded Rhodri as King of Gwynedd. Cadell ap Rhodri held no known lordship or kingship, but probably inherited the manor in Ceredigion owned by his mother’s brother, along with scattered lands in Gwynedd.  

His death is recorded in ancient documents, but nothing is known of his life. The final son, Merfyn, had a lordship as an appanage of Gwynedd which included Llyn and probably the neighboring lands of Eifionydd and Ardudwy.

The ancient history of the name Vaughn also emerges from these same Welsh chronicles. It was first found in Shropshire where they were descended from Tudor Trevor, the Earl of Hereford, and Lord of Maylors.

His wife was descended from Howel Dda, King of South Wales, in 907. Descended was Gronwy, Earl of Herford, through a series of Lords of Maylors and Oswestry. They descended to John Vaughan, son of Rhys Ap Llewellyn, of Plas Thomas in Shrewsbury.

Although the surname Vaughan was mentioned in several different records, it was spelled Vaughan or Vaughn, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred, even between father and son.

It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, marry with another, and still have another on the headstone in his or her resting place. Often times this was the result of the recording scribes’ understanding of how it should be spelled.

The Norman Conquest of Wales was less conclusive than that of England. A testimony to the Welsh fighting spirit is that there are more ruins of castles to the square mile in Wales than anywhere else in the world.

As peace gradually returned to this country, the Welsh, attracted by the economic opportunities, moved eastward into the English cities. The distinguished Welsh Vaughan family name emerged in Shropshire. They remained seated at Dudliston in that shire for several centuries, playing an important role on the English/Welsh border. They branched to Burlton and Plas Thomas, and to Chilton Grove.

Dolymelynllyn Castle.png

Ruins of Dolymelynllyn Castle

Sir Robert William Vaughan

The chief of the Vaughan line in the 11th century was Sir Robert William Vaughan, who married into the descendants of Meuric, ancestor of the family of Nanau.

The Vaughans branched to Merionethshire where they had a distinguished history of political involvement in that shire. They were seated at Dolymelynllyn in that county. Their present seats are at Shoborough House, Humphreston, Nanau, Burlton Hall, the Castle at Builth Wells, and Hallowell in Maine.

Prominent amongst the family during the late middle ages was Sir Robert Vaughan. For the next two or three centuries the surname Vaughan- Vaughn flourished and played an important role in the local county politics and in the affairs of Britain in general.

Religious conflicts followed. The newly found passionate fervor of Cromwellianism found the Roman Church still fighting to regain its status and rights. The power of the Church, and the Crown, their assessments, tithes, and demands imposed a heavy burden on rich and poor alike. They looked to the New World for their salvation.

Many became pirates who roamed the islands of the West Indies such as Captain Morgan. Some were shipped to Ireland where they were known as the ‘Adventurers for land in Ireland’. Essentially, they contracted to keep the Protestant faith, being granted lands for small sums, previously owned by the Catholic Irish. In Ireland they settled in Ulster in the 16th century.

Sir Henry Morgan (c. 1635 – 25 August 1688) was a Welsh pirate, privateer and buccaneer. He made himself famous during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements. He earned a reputation as one of the most notorious and successful privateers in history, and one of the most ruthless among those active along the Spanish Main.

REF: Excerpts from Notes on the Vaughan Families of Wales © by B.H.J.Hughes 1999

Full Text at

Vaughans of the English Reformation

The early part of the 14th century was a very turbulent time in the history of Britain. The influences and events of the day affected even the most distant parts of the country. Walter de Seys, founder of the one of the Vaughan families, that of the Welsh Marches, and Pembrokeshire, founded the family fortunes and played an influential part in the events of the time. Read more here:

The early part of the 14th century was a very turbulent time in the history of Britain, and the Vaughans seemed to be right in the middle of it . . . . . READ MORE . . . . Vaughans of the English Reformation

Contents of Vaughans of the English Reformation :

  • Thomas Cromwell
  • Hugh Despenser the younger
  • King Edward II Deposed
  • Roger Mortimer
  • Queen Isabella
  • King Edward III Coup d’état
  • Walter Seys and King Edward of Windsor
  • Walter Sais ap Roger Vychan of Llechry

The New World

America held many attractions for those who felt adventurous or desperate. They sailed across the stormy Atlantic aboard tiny sailing ships built for 100 passengers, but sometimes carrying 400 or 500. The overcrowded ships were to become known as the “White Sails.” They sometimes spent two months at sea, while wracked with disease. Those that survived the elements were often stricken with smallpox, dysentery and typhoid, sometimes landing with only 60 to 70% of the passengers they started with.

In North America, one of the first migrants which could be considered a kinsman of the Vaughn family or having a variation of the family surname spelling, were: George Vaughan who settled in Maine in 1629; Patrick Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1635; Elizabeth Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1654; John Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1636; Christopher Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1652; Rowland Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1635; Lewis Vaughan settled in Virginia in 1636; John Vaughan from Milford Haven settled in St. John’s Newfoundland in 1825.  William Vaughan was a planter in Mulleys Cove, Conception Bay, Newfoundland in 1844.

Vaughn Coat of Arms

While researching the Vaughan Coat of Arms, the most ancient recording and grant of Arms was a Black Chevron Between Three Silver Fleur de lis.

Many Vaughan/Vaughn family branch Coats of Arms which were granted down through the ages may also be appropriate to the name, and many examples are available on the internet, a few of which I have included in Chapter 2.

It is, perhaps, interesting to note that even the most ancient Vaughan family Coats of Arms display three primary elements, a nod, one presumes, to the Holy Trinity. The most ancient Vaughan Crest is; An arm holding the fleur de lis aloft. The age honored family motto for this distinguished name is; “Non Revertar Inultus,” (I will not return unavenged).

The modernized version of the official Vaughn crest, became more conservative over time, and placed chivalry and knighthood more in the background. Nobility of birth is no longer required. Nobility of spirit is more important.

While living in Manchester, England in the mid 1980s, my brother, David Kent Vaughn, had a commercial genealogy shop there research our Vaughn family’s background, and the latest recorded version of the Vaughn family crest, which shown here, registered in Ireland, with the certificate of authenticity.

The certificate reads (with some minor spelling corrections): This Welsh surname is found in all four provinces of Ireland but was commonest in Munster. There certainly were a number of immigrants of the name who settled in Ireland like the Vaughans from Pembrokeshire who established themselves in County Offaly but while some Vaughans in Ireland will be of such settler stock others are descendants of Irish families who assumed this surname.

The O’Beachain family from County Clare who gave their name to the townlands named Ballyvaughan in Owney and Arra barony and in Illa and Offa East barony, County Tipperary, took Vaughan as the English form of their name.

Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Sir John Vaughan (1603-74) was the Welsh lawyer and politician born in Trawsgoed, near Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire.

He was educated at Christ College, Oxford and the Inner Temple. He sat in Parliament from 1640, but withdrew into private life after the execution of Charles 1. A Royalist, he was elected to parliament again in April 1661, and promotion to the Court of Common Pleas was accompanied by a knighthood.

The Welsh family of Vaughan have held the same estate, Trawsgoed for almost 800 years. They are said to have originated with Adda Vychan, who married the daughter of Ievan Goch in the year 1200.

The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory, Ulster King of Arms, in 1884.

  • ARMS – Or a lion reguard (on guard) rampant sable
  • CREST -A lion as in the arms
  • MOTTO – PLANE ET SANE (Simply and sensibly)

Dave’s Review

I asked my brother, Dave, to review the above introduction, and he replied, “My only edit might be something to the effect of Vaughan was not differentiated from Vaughn as Vaughan was accepted as the “correct” spelling. To me that means that even if a family used Vaughn, it likely would have been recorded as Vaughan by historians. To a certain extent, Vaughn was considered as misspelled, low class or rebellious which seems about right for our clan.”

Read about Trawsgoed Estate, owned by the Vaughan family since 1200. Trawsgoed Mansion is a 17th-century country house, also known as Crosswood Park, formerly the seat of the Earl of Lisburne. The Vaughan family has for many years worshiped at St Afan’s Church, Llanafan, that lies within the 42,666 acre estate.

Read more about Descents of the Vaughans of Bredwardine and South Wales. Topics include:

  • About British Genealogy
  • Early Descents from Drum Bennog
  • Major William Vaughan  Inquiry
  • The General Pedigree of the Vaughan Family
  • The Will of George Vaughan, Esquire
  • The Will of Thomas Vaughan of Pembrey
  • The Will of John Vaughan of Dunraven


This chapter provides some very important assurances for the Vaughan and Vaughn families of America, as the legal affirmation of one’s lineage was very important to our ancestors because of the need to prove the right to inherit lands, titles and privileges of their progenitors.

I have included only a sampling of Mr. George E. Hodgdon’s excellent research and documentation in his book, written in 1833, as an insight for the curious who would like to know more about the detail of life in those early times when America was still primarily virgin forest.

Though it can be difficult reading when scouring through wills written in the 1500s, there is much insight into the cultures and lifestyles of those from whom we are descended. Mr. Hodgdon’s book in now in the public domain and available in its entirety online, and is rich with details of daily life in those times.

In the following chapter you will discover much more detail about the Vaughans who held great estates and were prominent personalities in church and state, in Parliament, at court, and on the battlefield. Continue, to uncover the lords and ladies, knights and knaves, that made up the prestigious Vaughan families of Wales.

From Mr Hodgdon’s APPENDIX in this publication are interesting notes that clarify some of the ancient names for ancestors whose names have been Anglicised by later genealogists, and give us some cultural insights on other matters relating to the family.

Chapter 2 – Vaugh(a)n Families of Wales


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