52 Ancestors: #1 Claudia (Wagman) Rempp

So, Amy Johnson Crow at  No Story Too Small issued a challenge a few days ago to blog about one ancestor per week during 2014. I’ve been researching my own family’s history for a few years now, and this seemed like a great way to collect and share some of my favorite stories, photos, etc., and to lay out a few research problems too. So I’m going to do my best to keep up with the challenge, starting out with my 5x great grandmother Claudia (Wagman) Rempp.

Claudia Wagman Rempp obituary

Claudia Wagman Rempp obituary

My interest in Claudia was piqued when I got her obituary from the Williams County Public Library (Ohio).  It said that she came to the US from Switzerland in 1841 when she was about 27 years old, and that same year married Michael Rempp, who had come to the US on the same ship. That was all of this story that was given, so it raised a lot of questions for me:

  • Did Claudia and Michael know each other before their immigration? It doesn’t seem likely – they married in Ohio after arriving here; she’s from Switzerland and he’s from Germany.
  • Did they fall in love on the voyage? Or was this more of a marriage of convenience, both needing a spouse to face the challenges of pioneer life in the early days of Ohio? Either way, it seems like it would make for a good story.
  • Why did they choose to live in Ohio – Ashland County first, and then Williams County? Did they have relatives there?
  • Why did Claudia leave for the US all by herself, as a young single woman?
  • I already knew of her one daughter, Margaret, who is my 4x great grandmother, but who was the other child mentioned? I haven’t seen any records for another child, so my guess is that this other one died very young.

After finding this obituary, I was able to find a few immigration records that gave me a little more information: Michael was a glazier who was born in Iptingen, Württemberg, and Claudia was from Switzerland. They traveled on the barque Virginia from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, Maryland and arrived in Baltimore during June 1841 with the intention of going to Ohio.

Census records show that they lived in Jefferson Township in Williams County for most of their married life, and had a very successful farm there.

I probably won’t ever get answers to most of these questions, but I still like to imagine what happened on that ship when Michael and Claudia traveled to the US.


7 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #1 Claudia (Wagman) Rempp

  1. Those are just such tantalizing little tidbits! I always fantasize that I will find a diary that will answer ALL those types of questions, but since I never do I like to imagine the answers.

    • Me too! I wish there were more diaries floating around out there. I do have typed copy of my 3x great grandmother’s diary, and for the most part, it’s about rather mundane things in her day-to-day life. But that gives such a wonderful, fuller picture of who she was and what her life was like. I’m lucky to have that one diary, but I’d love to have one for every ancestor!

  2. Pingback: 52 Ancestors Challenge: Week 1 Recap | No Story Too Small

  3. The timing puts them in the middle of the government’s efforts to expand the Northwest Territory. Land was fairly inexpensive to entice new settlers, so that might explain “why Ohio.” I had ancestors who left Virginia in 1836 and headed to Ohio and ultimately Indiana.

  4. My husband’s great-great grandfather immigrated from Switizerland also. I haven’t been able to find what year yet but did find from another family historian that Mobile, Alabama was the port where he came into the USA. I know that he was from St. Gallen, Switzerland and he spoke German. It is possible that they at least spoke the same language and possibly had family connections. Great story and how lucky you were to find so much info in her obituary.

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