Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday Pop-Pop!

Today would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday! William Arthur "Art" Cubbage was born on December 31, 1912 in Swissvale, PA and died on December 5, 1996 in New Jersey. This is a picture of him in 1976 celebrating his birthday with my family. I love this picture of him!

This is a picture of Art around age 2 or 3, so it would have been 1914 or 1915. This is the oldest picture that we have, and he would have still been living in Swissvale at this time. There is a picture of his sister Leah next to the same chair and dog that was taken around 1909.

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Genealogy Workshop Leads to a Find!

A few weeks ago I attended a genealogy workshop sponsored by the Monmouth County Genealogy Society titled, "Energize Your Research". My research needed some energizing and this workshop was great! The session included vital records, internet research, tools to handle brick walls, and the Genealogical Proof Standard.

So I came home energized, educated and motivated! The Pennsylvania State Archives was mentioned at the workshop and I though that I had checked it out before, but I wasn't sure for which relatives (and yes, one of the things I did learn was that I need to keep better track of which sources I have checked for each person!), so I went back for another look.

The archives has a wealth of resources, including indices for births (1906 only) and deaths (1906-1961). Since most years are listed alphabetically and a few years are listed using the Russell Index, I was able to look for a few long lost ancestors and easily find the State File Number and request a non-certified copy of the record. My big find was the death date on my great grand aunt, Margaret Swank Speedy!

I knew that "Aunt Mag" (as my Dad remembers her) was alive in the late 1940's because my father remembers visiting her when she lived with her niece Marian Cubbage in Bell Vernon, PA. So after a quick search of a couple of years, I found that she had died on July 3, 1953. I then went to Google News Archives and checked the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and found her death notice.

I have sent away for a copy of the death record and now know that she is buried at Braddock (Russell) Cemetery in Braddock, PA. There is no tombstone for her, but her husband has a stone. William Arthur Speedy died at sea, so maybe she was buried in his plot. Answers seem to lead to more questions! More to come on the Speedys!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah & Mary Cubbage

Sarah and Mary Ann Cubbage were my great-grand aunts, and the daughters of James Cubbage and Barbara Black. Sarah was born on this date, March 6th, in 1855 in Butler County, PA. She died on December 25, 1902 and was buried in Thorn Creek (Rockdale) Cemetery in Penn Township, Butler County, PA. Her sister, Mary, and her parents are buried alongside of her.

I found Sarah's obituary in the Cubbage Family Bible. She died on Christmas Day a week after a "severe fall". I don't believe she ever married, and she lived for many years with the Logan family.

This is a page from the Cubbage Family Bible which lists Sarah and Mary Ann's birth dates along with those of her siblings.

I don't know too much about Mary Ann yet. She died when she was 14 years old. This is the list of deaths from the Cubbage Family Bible, which include Mary Ann, her sister Nancy. Sarah's death is listed on a separate piece of paper that was in the Bible, and also lists their parents' death dates.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Speck Family Photo

The Speck Family
Elizabeth (Linneman) and Frank F.
Frank R. and Agnes

This is the only family picture that we have of my grandmother, Agnes, and her parents and brother. We do have other pictures of the Specks, but this is the only one with all four of them. I'm guessing that it was taken in the late 1920s. Frank R. looks to be about 8 or 9 years old, and Agnes about 12 or 13. It was probably taken in Monessen, PA where they lived.

My grandmother wrote on the front of many of her pictures. This one says "Um! Um!", "Hungry!" and "Let's eat!" and then "Specks" at the bottom. They are dressed in shorts and Frank R. looks to be eating some watermelon or some other food.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Family Recipe Friday - Oma Cookies

I received a wonderful surprise for Valentine's Day! My darling son made "Oma Cookies" for me, with help from my mother & husband. We had been talking about favorite foods and I mentioned the cookies that my grandmother, Elise Gegenheimer Haberkern, made (and always brought a few when we went to her house). My son remembers having them a couple of times before she was unable to bake them anymore.

This is the recipe from Oma's recipe box for Wildbader Ringele, but we always called them Oma Cookies!

My mother worked on the translation and the recipe before my son made them. These taste just like her cookies, but looked a bit different (bigger). I couldn't find a picture of the cookies or us with Oma when she brought them to our house. Here is the recipe they used:

1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 package baking powder
1/2 package vanilla sugar
1 tablespoon Hirschhorn Salz (seal up leftover package well)
3- 3 1/2 cups flour (supposed to be 1 pound of flour)
1/2 cup milk (I forgot to put into cookies when I made them)

Cream butter, add sugar and eggs and beat till creamy. Add milk and flour very gradually. You may want to mix with spoon at the end. Dough should be able to be rolled out. Start with 3 cups flour and go from there. You may want to sprinkle a "tiny" bit of flour on top of dough as you roll it out so rolling pin doesn't stick. Cut out with cookie cutter (don't push down on red center). Put on baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with egg YOLK, not the whole egg. Back at 350F for about 8 mins. Of course, it depends on ovens so keep a good eye on it for first batch.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Oma!

Elise Gegenheimer was born on February 28, 1919 in Ittersbach, Germany. This picture was taken at a place for children with malnutrition, where she went for about four weeks (click on the picture for a larger image). She was about 10 years old and third from the left on the very top row.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sports Center Saturday - Ice Hockey & Skating

This is a picture of my father Corky's hockey team in 1957 - the New Providence Rangers. Also on the team was his brother Jeff, and the head coach was Joe Dill (who lived next door to my father). The uniforms were maroon and white and had been donated by Summit High School(they were old football jerseys). My father's thoughts on the hockey team:

"We played in a league (can't remember the name) and games were at Branch Brook Park Arena (outdoor) in Newark on Sunday mornings - 6am (we had to get up at 3am!). The other teams were Summit Redwings, a team from Cranford and I think Chatham & Engelwood. We also played some independent games with private schools like Lawrenceville & Oratory. They had their own rinks. Great Times."

My father lived in New Providence, NJ as a teenager, and the Passaic River ran along the back end of their yard. It would freeze over in the winter and Corky, Jeff and their friends would play hockey there as well.

Check out the boots as goals!

Corky and Jeff on the Passaic River in 1960.

What a skater!

Fast forward around 20 years and here I am skating in the same place with my sister, brother and mother.

That's my grandfather Art, on ice skates (at age 68), taking our pictures!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Frank Speck & Elizabeth Linneman

Frank Speck and Elizabeth Linneman, my great grandparents, were married on January 18, 1915 in Pittsburgh, PA. I found this marriage certificate in with a bunch of old family pictures and memorabilia.

During our trip to Pittsburgh in the fall, we went to the Allegheny County Courthouse and were able to get a copy of their application for a marriage license at the Orphan's Court (click for a larger view). We were very excited to find some great NEW info to help in our research.

The application lists Frank's parents as Peter and Agnes. Frank has been (and still is) my biggest brick wall - I know nothing about him before he shows up in Monessen, PA in 1915 (except that he was born in Germany). His parent's names put a little chip into that brick wall! The application also states that his parents were born in Germany, that his father is deceased and his mother still lives in Germany.

We also found some other new pieces of information from this document: Frank is working as a hotel clerk in Monessen in January of 1915, and Elizabeth (known here as Lizzie) is living in Sprigg, West Virgina. This is helpful because I don't know where the Linneman family went after their arrival from Germany (they also show up in Monessen around 1915).

While the application did confirm some things that I know (Elizabeth's father was a miner and both she and her parents were born in Germany), there were a few contradicting details. Elizabeth's age is listed as 22, but she was born in 1897 which would make her not yet 18 years old (I have her birth certificate). Also, her father is listed as Albert, but my records (including her birth record) show him as Gerhard.

This was with the application and states that they were married at St. Peter's Church in Pittsburgh and it is signed by the Rector. This is also new information about their marriage!

I looked up the church, which was St. Peter's Episcopal Church. Sadly, this beautiful church was torn down in 1986. The next step is to see if the Episcopal Diocese still has the records from this parish.

This newspaper clipping was also found in the family memorabilia and was probably in a Pittsburgh newspaper.

This is a picture of Frank and Elizabeth, probably taken around the time of their marriage or shortly after. My grandmother, Agnes (which we just learned was named after her grandmother) was born later that year, in September of 1915 in Monessen.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Alexander Burd's Obituary

Alexander Burd died on this date, February 21st, in 1925 in Natrona, PA. Alexander was my great-great grand uncle and the father of William Harrison Burd, who I wrote about a few days ago.

Alexander "Alex" Burd was born in Canada, but spent most of his life in Natrona, which is part of Harrison Township, PA. His wife, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ryan died sometime before 1900 and his son William lived with Maine Swank Cubbage (William's cousin) for most of his life. After his wife's death, Alex spent most of his life working as a laborer in the chemical works or salt manufacturing plants.

Alex's obituary lists his son, William, of Monessen, and two daughters. I believe that the daughters are a misprint. Mrs. Amos Conners is his sister, Jane "Jennie" Burd and Marion Swank is his sister Marian Burd. He is buried in Mt. Airy Cemetery, which is in Natrona Heights, PA.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

William Harrison Burd

William Harrison Burd died on this date, February 18th, in 1942 in Monessen, PA and he was my 1st cousin 3 times removed. So why is he here on my blog? William Burd was the key that helped me find some big leads in my Burd family tree!

William Burd, or "Bill Burd" as my grandfather referred to him, lived with my great-grandparents (Maine Swank and Charles Cubbage). Bill was born on January 29, 1894 in Natrona, PA. In the 1900 census he is living with his Aunt Marian "Mary" Burd Swank, who is widowed, along with his cousins Maine and Charles Swank, and is listed as "adopted son". By 1910, Bill is living with Maine Swank, who is now married to Charles Cubbage, and their children. Bill lived with Charles and Maine Cubbage until they died in 1938 and 1939, and continued living in their home with their children afterwards. Charles and Maine had 8 children, and Bill was about 10 years older than their oldest son, Lester. Over the years, he was listed on various censuses as cousin, roomer and boarder.

This photocopy of Bill's school record, along with the photo above, was found with Cubbage memorabilia (I don't know who had the original). Bill never married and spent most of his life with the Cubbage family in Swissvale and then Monessen. He lived with them when they lost two children (Leah in 1920 and George in 1921). In Maine's letter to her sister, she mentions how upset Bill was about George's death ... he was a part of the Cubbage family. Bill was living in the Cubbage home on Reed Avenue with Marian & Marge Cubbage and Margaret Swank Speedy (Maine sister) when he died.

Bill's obituary lists the Cubbage family as his own, with no mention of his birth parents or other Burds. Bill worked for many years as a foreman at the Blast Furnace at Pittsburgh Steel.

Bill Burd is buried at Braddock (Russell) Cemetery, in the same plot as Charles & Maine Cubbage, as well as George and Leah ... his adopted family. Right next to their plots is the headstone of William Arthur Speedy, the husband of Margaret Swank Speedy (Bill's cousin).

So how did he help me find the Burds? For starters, "Burd" is often listed as "Bird" or "Byrd" and I was having problems determining which was from our family line. At first, I only knew that Bill lived with the Cubbages and that he shared a room with my grandfather, but didn't know the exact relation t the family. I sent away for his death record, and found the names of his parents, Alexander Burd and Elizabeth "Lizzie" Ryan. I was then able to tie Alexander's parents to his sister Marian "Mary" Burd (my great-great grandmother).

Alexander Burd died in 1925 in Natrona and "Lizzie" died before 1900 (Alexander is listed as a widow in that census). I do not know yet what happened to "Lizzie"or why Bill did not live with them. I wonder if Alexander wasn't able to take care of Bill when his wife died? I will be sure to share that when I figure it out, along with more about the Burd family line.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thriller Thursday - Boys Rescue Pup

This article was published in a New Providence, NJ newspaper around 1954 or 1955. My father is one of the Cubbage boys who rescued the pup! He was about 13 or 14 years old and his brother was 10 or 11. I found this article in a box of family memorabilia - my father had never told us about the big rescue! When I asked him how old he was when this happened, he corrected the story (which reports that the boys jumped into the river). My father told me that they had walked out onto the ice to reach the dog and fell in! The water was about waist deep, so they grabbed the dog and all climbed out. My father then said, "See, you couldn't believe everything you read, even back then". What a great story!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Travel Tuesday - Pittsburgh

I mentioned in a recent post that I traveled to Pittsburgh in the fall with my father and my twelve year old son for a genealogy research and family history trip. It was my son's first visit to Pittsburgh and first research trip. He was bitten by the genealogy bug a year or so ago and had mostly been searching through my husband's tree. Before we left, he did a lot of searching for my great-great grandfather to pull together some possible leads (more on him in another post).

My son enjoyed our time at the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library, the Allegheny County Courthouse, and especially our quick visit with three sisters that lived on the same street as my father when he was a child. Listening to the stories that they shared was priceless!

Here are my father and son at the gravesite of my great-grandfather Frank Speck in Monessen, PA. Grandview Cemetery is on the side of a hill overlooking the Monongahela River, which you can see in the background. It was a beautiful fall day during a wonderful weekend where my son heard lots of stories from my father about his family and growing up in the Pittsburgh area.

Here is a picture that was found with the family photos of Franks tombstone. He died in 1940, so this was probably taken in the early 1940's. More posts to come about our finds!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sentimental Sunday - Orphan Photos

As I have sorted through all of the photos and memorabilia from my father's side of the family, I have come across many photos that are unmarked and unknown. I won't get rid of them and secretly hope that one day I can figure out who they are as I continue to climb the Cubbage family tree. The idea to post these orphan photos on Sentimental Sunday comes from Cindi Beane Henry at Mountain Genealogists. This photo has no marking or writing on the front or back. I wonder if we are related??

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Mem, Pap & Corky

I love this picture! My father, Corky is about 2 years old. His grandmother Mem (Elizabeth Linneman Speck) and her second husband Pap (Charles Merz) are standing behind him. They are in the backyard of Mem & Pap's house on Thelma Street in Pittsburgh.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Madness Monday - Gerhard Linnemann

Last week I posted a photo of Gerhard's tombstone. Gerhard Linnemann was my great-great grandfather and for a long time we didn't know a lot about him (we still don't know too much). His daughter, Elizabeth, was the only grandparent that my father knew as a child. He knew that she was born in Germany and had two brothers that lived in or near Monessen, but that was it. He never knew that her parents had lived in Monessen too.

A couple of years ago, I was digging deeply into the Linnemann family and others in Monessen. I was searching The Daily Independent newspaper on and came across a notice that the funeral of Gerhard Linnemann had been held the day before. I assumed that this was Elizabeth's brother. I went to search the previous days and they were not available on!

That fall, I went to Monessen with my father, brother and sister to do some genealogy research. We went to the Monessen Public Library and spread out to start digging. I went right to the microfilm machines to search the newspapers and this is the front page news that I found:

Man Tied Belt Around Neck and Strangled Self While Family Is Absent

Gerhard Lennemann committed suicide yesterday afternoon around 4 o'clock in a bedroom of his home, corner of Schoonmaker avenue and Tyler pass. With a strap drawn tightly about his neck and tied fast to the foot of a bed, the victim of his own rash act was found.
He unbuckled his belt from his waist, circled it about his neck and after tieing himself to the bed dropped to the floor where he was found when dead. At the time of the tragedy there was no person about the place. Members of the family had gone out for a Sunday afternoon walk and had asked Mr. Lennemann to accompany them, but he said he preferred to remain at home. It is stated that there was no hint at suicide and no member of the family thought of such a thing.
The deceased was about 60 years of age and leaves a widow and several children. About six years ago he was injured in a coal mine and at times he seemed to feel irrational as a result of that trouble. He would take spells of anger and brooding, and it is thought that in a despondent state of mind he decided upon a short route to death. The widow and children survive.

Wow - were we surprised! My father never heard anything about this growing up. At this time in 1918, two of Gerhard's children were probably still serving in World War I, one had moved to Chicago and two were married. His daughter Elizabeth had just had her second child only a month earlier.

So was Gerhard really "mad"? Or was his anger, brooding and despondent state a result of the coal mining accident? I don't know if we will ever know, but it was certainly one of the bigger surprises that I have found since I started digging round the roots of my family tree.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Woodmen of the World

I am finally getting around to sorting through, scanning and posting all of the info we found on our research trip to Pittsburgh in November. I know, it's February! We came home and got right into the holiday seasons and it never happened. So here we go ...

Our first stop was at Braddock Cemetery (also known as Russell Cemetery). We were here four years ago, but returned because I had found a few others who were buried there. It was my son's first trip to Pittsburgh (and first genealogy trip!), so we stopped to see the Cubbage plots first. Next to them is the tombstone of William Arthur Speedy, the husband of my great grand aunt Margaret Schwenk/Swank.

On the top of his tombstone is the Woodmen of the World Memorial:

Woodmen of the World is a fraternal benefit organization that was founded in 1890 in Omaha, Nebraska. They primarily provided insurance to it's members, in addition to fraternal and social benefits. William Arthur Speedy's tombstone has some of the symbols of the organization that are often found on headstones - the tree stump and olive branches. Other symbols include an ax, a felled tree or a dove. In the early years, many distinctive Woodmen of the World tombstones were created in the shape of a tree stump. This was discontinued in the late 1920's due the cost.

So we know a little more about William Arthur Speedy. Watch for more posts about him!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Gerhard Linneman

Grandview Cemetery
Monessen, PA

This is the tombstone of my great-great grandfather, Gerhard Linneman. He is buried alongside his wife and two of his children in a plot on a hill overlooking the Monongahela River. I will post more details about his death soon.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Church Record Sunday - Methodist Sunday School

This is my grandmother's Sunday School Certificate from 1924-1925 (click on it for a larger view). Agnes Speck would have been about 9 years old and her family attended the Methodist Church in Monessen, PA. It is signed by her teacher, Mrs. Shutterly. My grandmother was good friends with Eleanor Shutterly, who lived next door to the Speck family on Donner Avenue.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Funeral Card Friday - Charles A. Merz

Charles August Merz was my great-grandmother's (Elizabeth Linneman Speck) second husband. While I am not a descendant of Charles, he was the only grandfather that my father knew, so I have heard many stories about "Pap".