The Counts of Virneburgs' ancestral home was located at Virneburg Castle, near Mayen in the Eifel. They were very influential in this area and had dominated it since Bernhard of Virneburg in 1042 AD. From the 11th Century until 1545 AD the Counts had the rights under lease from the Archbishops in Trier . Taxation included the areas of Virneburg proper, Baar, Freilingen, Nitz, Hirten, Luxem, Niederelz, Parish of Weiler (church built 1330 AD), Arbach, Barenborn, Coplverath, Liersthal, Mannenbach, Oberelz, Nachtsheim, Anschau, Ditscheid, Lind, Mimbach, Munk, Boos Lagenfeld and the Castle and Estate at Monreal.
We can find a Johannes Clausges in the Sudlich und wesdich der Grafschaft Virneburg Monreal, Germany between 1670-1689. A special census was conducted of the valley in 1676. During this time period no members of nobility lived in the shire just serfs/subjects.
The surname Clawges is truly an American invention in the way it is spelled. It can not be found any where else in the world written as "Clawges". There has been some confusion with the surname "Clague" which can be found on the Isle of Man, British Isles. This family, "Clague" may be the Falcon trainers, that some unknown person has attached to our family name. But I have not found any proof to substantiate the story of Falcon trainers. I think it is very romantic story, indeed.
According to Church records, "Klages" was the original spelling of the name. The Dictionary of German Names, by Hans Bahlow, page 296 translated by Edda Gentry, Max Kade Institute for German Studies University of Wisconsin, 1993 states; "Klages" (lower German)= Klawes=Nikolaus; also Klage, Grotklage, Klagemann, Klagge(s). For the w or the g, which sometimes are inserted in a lengthened syllable, compare LGER. Pawel or Pagel for paul. And German American Names, by George F. Jones, page 98 states; Clawes < Niklaus =American adaptation Niklaus < St. Nicholas =14 & 17 century adaptation. St. Nikolaus was the patron saint of mariners and ship captains, seafaring merchants and children ( DEC 6!)
The real history of the Family would be here in the United States of America.