Tuesday, February 28, 2012
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
"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
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 "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 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
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
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
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
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
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 ancestry.com 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 ancestry.com!
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:
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
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.
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!