The Family Name

Johannes’s family name in Germany may have been Epgert (possibly from the village of Epgert or another nearby Palatine village in the Westerwald). If Johannes could not properly write his name, the ship captain, Daniel Reed, may have written it phonetically as Apgard, later changed to Apgar.

On a crisp Saturday morning in May of 1997, I drove my rented German car from Frankfurt up the Rhine River toward Cologne. Herr Winfried Weber, my German friend from Darmstadt, had purchased for me some detailed roadmaps of the region and let me borrow his historical atlas of old German maps, which showed how the area looked in 1734, when Johannes left his homeland for the New World.

The little town of Epgert, nearly lost among its larger neighbors, but still there.