History of the surname VAUGH
To start with let's set the record straight with surnames NOT
associated with the surname VAUGH. It's not linked to VAUGHAN,
VAUGHN, VAUGHT or VAUX. How can I be so precise? Well it's
a matter of no supporting documents being found to confirm a link to
our surname, that is to state, none that I've found throughout many
years of careful searching. We are definitely linked to the name WAUGH
and quite possibly also to BAUGH though the latter is a pretty
tenuous link. McVAUGH and MacVAUGH also feature as linked
surnames but as these are common forms of 'the son of' they can be forgiven
However there are one or two little snippets, the 'Forty Nine Lots' is a case in point or to give the printed work it's official title; The Irish And Anglo-Irish Landed Gentry, When Cromwell Came to Ireland: In this book there is a list of names referring to the province of Connaught; Connaught Certificates, Transplanters, AD 1653-1654. Dublin, see the records of Ireland marked '1821-1825' pp 576-58. this being the transcribed list. The original manuscripts have long since been destroyed. Now we have mention of one Ensign James VAUGH, however there is a corresponding entry for Ensign James WAUGH, so it's all a bit hit and miss.
Now that piece of information is a little tantalising as it neatly fits into the family tree drawn by George Victor VAUGH, or as he liked to be called LaVaux. He has the head of the family tree named as one Walter VAUGH a Captain in Ironsides. His age as shown as 110 not so remarkable as we at first suspect, there being other documented cases of very old people in this time, we're talking 1777 here. Subtract the 110 and we have 1667, still it's far too late for Cromwell (1599-1658) but there could be a missing generation or two. It's all a bit of a stretch and I choose not to believe the man named Walter VAUGH could not have been a Captain in Ironsides. This is the term given to Cromwell's cavalry, it might have been applied after the reconstitution of the monarchy but I think by the 1680's it would not have been used to refer to the cavalry. Taking the Ensign VAUGH /WAUGH noted above he could well have been the father or uncle of Walter, without proof it's difficult to judge either way.
The link to the VAUX or LeVAUX name is a little fanciful for my mind. I did however spend quite a time trying to find a comparable link into a VAUX family with no success. Nor was I able to find a birth or christening record for George Victor VAUGH (LaVAUX) in Manchester or the surrounding areas. However there were two VAUGH families in the Lancashire area in the 1840's so it's possible this is where George Victor VAUGH was born. There are also two tantalising census entries for VAUGH families in Scotland, both in the 1851 census, whether these are linked to my family line is a question I've not been able to prove.
Returning to the thorny question of where did the name come from, we have to look at the available data and there's very little of that. The standard works showing birth marriage and death records are of little use pushing the time frame much before the late eighteenth century. There are, however considerably less in England than Ireland so Ireland is naturally the starting point. The name, as I've mentioned is not an Irish one so it's an import. With the spread of families seemingly within the midlands of Ireland, it's safe to assume this is where they settled in the 1700's, staying put until the late 1960's. There is no mention of the surname VAUGH in any of the early records for Ulster and just the one entry from the 1600's, noted above from the Forty Nine Lots. However in Scotland we have, as I've noted, two families in the 1850's, presumably as I can find no other linking records they left Ireland as part of the great exodus during the famine years. There is a corresponding family in Lancashire, again around the same dates, 1845 and onwards, the surname dies out with daughters only in the one main family.
There are several isolated mentions of the surname VAUGH in Scotland's old parochial records, these date from March 1670 in West Linton, Peebles, fifteen miles south of Edinburgh to almost one hundred years later for June 1764 in Glasgow, so not far in geographic terms. The usual male names, John and William appear within the thirty or so records, but more importantly we also have Robert, Laurence and David for the first and only time. I've cross checked these for the surname WAUGH and not found any duplicate entries. These records then, form the earliest occurrences of the surname VAUGH in official records, so does that make the name Scottish? I think not as it's not found in any great numbers and for that matter it's only these thirty or so entries in this very narrow time frame. I like to think the name was also in use in Ireland for the same period but a lack of extant records precludes us from any assumptions here.
So there it is a short history of the surname VAUGH based on
the facts, it appears in official records from Scotland in the seventeenth
century and somehow moved across to Ireland, possibly with the population
movement of the time. The match with and inter changeability with the
surname WAUGH occurs only in isolated records and these I feel
are clerks guessing at the first letter of the name presented and not
for any other reason, certainly in the very early records the letters
V and W seem to be mutually interchangeable.