Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!

Happy Birthday Pop-Pop! 

I love this picture of my grandfather, Art Cubbage, taken on New Year's Eve 1959. This was probably taken at a neighbor's house in New Providence, NJ. Art's mother-in-law, Elizabeth Linneman Speck Merz is on the far left and I believe the other two women lived on the same street. My grandfather was born on December 31, 1912 in Swissvale, PA. Since his birthday was on New Year's Eve, he always had a party!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Thanksgiving Family Photo

In this Thanksgiving photo from my parents' slide collection, I am about 6 and half, my sister is almost 5 and my brother is about 10 months old. My father wore that red vest every Thanksgiving for about five years! My parents took pictures almost every Thanksgiving, some of my dad carving the turkey and others of the family seated at the table. After my brother arrived, there seems to be more of the posed family photos by the turkey. We still take a family photo every year before dinner, but since there are now 14 people in the picture we take the photo by the fireplace. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday - Charles G. Schwenk

This is the tombstone for my 2nd great grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk, at Braddock Cemetery in North Braddock, PA. It was also known as Old Braddock Cemetery and Russell Cemetery. He died on 12 November 1893 and is buried in the G.A.R. Plot.

Charles was born in or near Norristown, PA and enlisted in the Civil War in July of 1861. He served in the 82nd Pennsylvania Infantry in both Companies A and C and mustered out in July of 1865. But this tombstone doesn't seem to be him, right?

After looking at many records, I do believe that this is my ancestor Charles. First, the stone is newer, definitely not from 1893, as are many of the stones in the G.A.R. Plot. Below is Charles' Pennsylvania Veteran Burial Card, which was dated 1935.

The information found in this record confirms what I learned from Charles' Civil War muster rolls and pension records. He mustered out of Company C on 13 July 1865 as a First Sergeant and died on 12 November 1893.

I have been unable to find Charles' death in a Pittsburgh death register nor an obituary in the newspaper, but all of his military pension records as well as his wife's widow's pensions list the same death date. In the 1890 Pittsburgh City Directory, Charles is living in Swissvale, right next to Braddock. In the 1895 Pittsburgh City Directory, his wife Mary is listed as the widow of Charles G.

In addition, Charles' wife Mary was buried at Braddock Cemetery as well (according to her obituary as there is no tombstone). Many of Mary's family are also buried at Braddock, including her daughters, niece and nephew.

Lastly, I checked the roster of Company D of the PA 82nd Infantry, just in case there happened to be a "Schwek" veteran who died on the same date and was buried at Braddock. There is no Schwek on the roster.

So with the information that I have compiled from his military records, as well as census records and city directories, I do believe that this is the tombstone for my ancestor and that a mistake was made at a time long after his death.

There is much more to write about Charles's time in the Civil War and afterwards when he lived in the Braddock area, but those will have to wait for future posts.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Amaneusis Monday - A Letter to Charles A. Cubbage

Amanuesis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from geneabloggers.com which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvania Dutch.

Below is a letter to my great grandparents, Charles A Cubbage and Maine Swank Cubbage, from Charles' brother James L. Cubbage and his wife Annie.


May 17 1908

Dear Brother & Sister
I got your letter the other day and was glad to heare that you all was well as it found us in fair shape.  wee had a letter from George W and he said he wood be out in 2 ore 3 weeks. dave sent me 3 of his girls faces and GW sent me his on a post card. how is mag & minnie. I was fishing yesterday but the rain sent me home be fore I got far. I only got 8. the farmers is not done sowing oats some is and planting corn it has been weet fore 3 days. my potatoes is coming up and the onions looks fine. the fruit is no good but I think the apples is all right yet the ground was white with snow the 1 day of may. that fixed the peach cherry plumbs & pairs. the times is no good a round here. dose your mother stay with Cas [Chas] and his wife. you ought to git the old man to write when you are busy. I have lots of time but to lazy. I will be looking fore the kids faces this week. the country is getting nice and green. annie has a [or 9?] little chicks out & a nother hen to be out on next Saturday. what is chas doing. he never has anything to say tell him to wake up and say something. hoping that this will find you all well and working from
                                                                                   Good bye bye
                                                                                       write soon
Valencia Pa

This letter was found in the Cubbage Family Bible. James and Charles were two of the six boys born to James and Barbara (Black) Cubbage in Butler County, PA. They had three sisters, all of whom died before 1908.

I love this letter because it tells much about their lives as farmers. In 1908 James was living in Valencia. I believe he had the family farm that belonged to his parents, who had died in 1906 and 1907. Charles was living in Swissvale, PA with his wife and children and working as an iron worker at the blast furnace. The other four brothers had moved to Ohio, Texas, Montana and Washington. The letter mentions a letter from "dave" which would be brother Jacob David Cubbage, and his "girls faces." I would love to see those pictures! The letter also mentions "George W" which would be their brother George who was living in Montana at that time. I wonder if he ever came back to Pennsylvania to visit.

The letter also mentions "mag & minnie" which could be either Maine's sister Margaret, and Charles and Maine's four month old daughter Minnie. It could also be Maine's brother's wife Minnie and daughter Margaret, who lived next door. They all repeated the same names generation after generation!

My favorite part of the letter is when James says "what is chas doing. he never has anything to say tell him to wake up and say something." I am guessing that he really addressing the letter to Maine. I am so thankful to have a family record like this, as it adds so much more color to the pictures I've pieced together of these ancestors.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Here are a few Halloween snapshots from my childhood. My sister and I went trick-or-treating in our neighborhood every year and my mom always made homemade costumes (she made many dresses for us over the years too!).

Here we are at ages 3 and a half and almost 2. My sister is clearly a witch, but I'm not sure what I am dressed as ... will need to check with Mom on that one!

This is the next Halloween and I love this picture of the bride and groom!

Another year later and we are now hobos! Mom sewed patches on our clothes and we had a stick with a little sack tied to the end. The final touch was some ash from the fireplace rubbed on our faces! We revived the hobo costume many times over the years!

Which Halloween costume do you remember the most??

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Mary Swank

This article was on the front page of The Monessen Daily Independent on September 20, 1927.[1]  Mary Swank was my second great grandmother and had died three days earlier while visiting her daughter in Cape May, NJ. She was born Marian Burd, but also went by "Mary" and "Mary Ann". She married Charles Schwenk in 1871 and they had four children before he died in 1893. The surname Schwenk evolved over time to Schwank and finally to Swank. Mary has been a difficult person to research at times due to the variations of both her first and last names! As of now, I still cannot find a death record for her in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

Mary was visiting her daughter Margaret Speedy, who was living in Cape May at the time. Margaret's husband, William Arthur Speedy, had died at sea just over a year earlier (you can read about him here). I can't imagine how difficult it was for Margaret to be alone after losing both her husband and her mother in Cape May, while the rest of her family was in Pittsburgh and Monessen. Margaret eventually moved back to Monessen and lived with her sister Maine Cubbage and her family.



[1] "Mother Dead," The Monessen Daily Independent (Monessen, PA), 20 September 1927, p. 1, col. 1; digital images Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 August 2013).  


Monday, October 21, 2013

Amaneusis Monday - The Will of John Black

Amanuesis Monday is a daily blogging prompt from geneabloggers.com which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Amanuensis Monday is a popular ongoing series created by John Newmark at Transylvania Dutch.

Click on images for a larger view.

In the name of God I John. Black of Buffalo Township in the County of Butler + State of Pennsylvania being sick + weak in body but of sound mind memory + understanding (Praised be God for it) Considering the certainty of Death + the uncertanty time therof and to the end I may be the better prepared to leave this world whenever it pleases God to take me hence do therefore make + declare this my last will and Testament in manner following (That is to say)
First and princapaly I Commend my Soul into the hands of almighty God my Creator.
I Will + Bequeth unto my beloved Wife Margaret Black her living off of my farm during her natural life (I, E) My Son Daniel Black has according to my will ^to provide a comfortable living for her. I will and bequeth unto my Son Daniel Black Eighty two Acers of Land, that part of my farm surveyed by [?] Walker for him. And all my personal property, if he shall provid a comfortable living for my Beloved Wife and Truly pay all my [?] Debts. And pay my sons + Daughters the sum herein after mentioned, to each of them as follows
Namely to my Daughter Catharin Ann married to Daniel Hughy twenty Dollars _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
unto my Daughter Jane, married to Jacob Cubage twenty Dollars _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
unto my daughter Margaret Married to Thos Peters Twenty Dollars, to be paid within five years to each of them from my death,
I will and bequeth unto my son John Black Thirteen Acers of Land to be taken off of the Corner next to [W or Mr?] Ritchy. and that part sold by me to Thos Harbison, if he [be?] my son John move on it if not my will is that my daughter Barbary is to get it my meaning is that he

[next page]
is to have it his life time if he lives on it of not Barbary is to get it.
I will and bequeth unto my daughter Elizabeth Twenty (20) Dollars, to be paid by my son Daniel within five years,
I will and bequeth unto my Daughter Barbary one Hundred Dollars to be pay by my Son Daniel, within five years

My will is that if my son Daniel shall fail to mention my beloved Wife as above And pay my Debts, And pay as herein willd by me to my Children, Then my Executors (who and hereby appoint to see that my will is fully Complyed with) is to Rent out my farm for to make up any deficiency on his part untill all is paid, always providing sufficient of the nesessaries of life for my Beloved Wife

And I do hereby nominate Constitute + appoint Robert Harbison and G C Sedwick each of Butler County Pa Executors of this my will declareing this to be my last will + testament   In witnes [?] whereof I the said testator John Black have to this my last will + testament set my hand + Seal the Evening of the 18th day of Sept AD 1851, 
John Black
[his mark and seal]

Signed Sealed published + delivered by the said testator John.Black as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who in his presents and at his request + in the presents of each other have subscribed our names as Witenss [?]
                                                                              Thomas Harbison [signature]      { of Buffalo Township
                                                                              William Fleming [signature]        { Butler County
                                                                                                                                 { Pennsylvania

This is the Last Will and Testament of my third great grandfather, John Black. I haven't done too much research on the Black family yet (my brother had done some work on this line many years ago). I was very happy to find this will on the FamilySearch website, since I am at least six hours from Butler County. 
It appears that John Black knew that he was near death ... "being sick + weak in body but of sound mind memory + understanding (Praised be God for it)." This will was dated 18 September 1851 and his executors filed his papers on 27 September 1851, so he died sometime during those nine days.
My second great grandmother, Barbara, is mentioned in the will (she is referred to as Barbary), as well as her siblings. The will also lists the names of Barbara's sisters' spouses. John left $20 each to Catherine Ann, Jane, Margaret and Elizabeth, but he left $100 to Barbara. I wonder why she was left so much more (especially at that time) than her sisters. I originally thought that it was because she was unmarried, but Elizabeth was unmarried too. Barbara did marry the next year in 1852, so maybe this was part of her dowry.
John left property to his sons Daniel and John, but if John was not going to use his land, we willed that Barbara was to have it. Again, I wonder why she was the only daughter that could have received land. My next step is to research the deeds to see what happened to John's land.
"Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1971-28949-12132-94?cc=1999196&wc=M99F-44N:n166376229 : accessed 18 Sep 2013), Butler > Probate files 1850-1883 no B106-B250 > images 904-924 of 2881, estate of John Black.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Agnes at the Hudson River

I love this picture of my grandmother, Agnes Speck Cubbage, from my grandfather's slide collection.  The slide was marked with "Ag, Hudson River, Bear Mtn Bridge October 58". She looks like she was enjoying the view as the sun warmed her on a cool fall day.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Art's Slide Collection

"Mom, Cork, Jeff Christmas 1953"

This is one of the many images from the slide collection of my grandfather, Art Cubbage. A few years ago, I scanned all of my grandfather's slides, as well as those of my parents and my maternal grandfather. Art had just under 600 images that he took from 1953 (right as they moved into their new home in New Providence) through 1974.

While I am thankful for these wonderful images of my father's childhood and my grandparent's home and lives, I am most thankful that he labeled almost every slide. That's right, my grandfather labeled most of the slides with the name of the person, the location if it wasn't at their home, the month and the year! What a blessing! This has been so helpful as I piece together our family history. Many of the images in my posts are from his collection. Here are a few more of my favorites ...

"July 1955"
This was their home in New Providence, NJ.

"Mem & Pap, Pittsburgh, July 1954"
My grandmother Agnes' parents in their backyard on Thelma Street.

"Min's August 1959"
Art and his family were enjoying Maryland crab at his sister Minnie's house in Baltimore.

"Jeff & Cork Thanksgiving 1954"
My father and his brother, ages 13 and 10.

"Harry, Janet, Barbara, Cork June 1959"
My father and friends before their senior prom.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Happy Birthday Mom!

My mother was born today, October 6th, in Bauschlott, Germany. This is a picture of  her around 1950 in Stein, Germany. The picture was taken while she was in school in kindergarten. When her mother (my grandmother, Elise Gegenheimer) saw the picture, she was mad that my mother wasn't wearing shoes! I always loved this picture and the story that went with it. Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Happy Birthday Nanny!

Agnes Elizabeth Speck Cubbage, my grandmother, was born on 26 September 1915 in Monessen, PA. She was the daughter of Frank Speck and Elizabeth Linneman. This picture was probably taken around 1930 in or near Monessen. Agnes is with her younger brother Frank.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Madness Monday - Dying of Laughter

I came across this article while searching for an obituary in The Pittsburgh Press. Who knows if it's true or not, but I hope that Annie was able to recover!



"Dying of Laughter," The Pittsburgh Press, 16 November 1893, p. 6, col. 1; digital images, Google News Archive (http://news.google.com/newspapers: accessed 8 September 2013).

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Happy Birthday Opa!

Adolf Emil Haberkern

I don't have many posts about my maternal side of the family, but today is a special day. My grandfather, who we called Opa, was born on 19 September 1919 in Stein, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany. He was the son of Karl Haberkern and Sidonie Lindenmann.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Motivation Monday - Summer is Over!

So it's been a while since I posted anything! I always have good intentions during the summer, but my genealogy research and blog tend to get pushed aside in favor of summer fun. And what fun a summer it was - a family reunion (the last one was 38 years ago!), some time away with my darling hubby, and lots of trips and activities while the boys were on summer vacation. We had a lot of fun with friends and family, and the slower pace was wonderful. Especially since my older son is starting high school today ... I'm not sure how much we are going to see him over the next few years.

Even with all of the fun, I did manage to spend a little bit of time on my research this summer:

Over Memorial Day weekend, we enjoyed a family trip to Pittsburgh and were able to make a couple of cemetery visits. I introduced my sons to their 3rd great grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk, who was a Civil War Veteran.

In June, I made my fist trip to a local Family History Center and searched microfilm for the marriage record of my 3rd great grandparents. I have already ordered more microfilm and can't wait for my next visit. [1]

In July I was back in Pittsburgh for the awesome Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. This is a picture of the beautiful prayer garden on the La Roche College campus. You can read about this amazing week here.

In August, I did research on some collateral lines and learned about great grand uncle who was active in the Socialist Party in Montana! [2]

So now that the kids are back in school, I am motivated to get started again. What will I be working on? A goal from my GRIP experience are to get my citations up-to-date, and I'd also like to get working on my application to the First Families of Western Pennsylvania. I am also thinking it is time for the NGS Home Study Course. I learned so much at GRIP, that I would like to continue taking classes and this seems like the best fit for where I am right now. Have any of you completed (or are in the process of) the NGS Home Study Course?

Summer is over and it's time to get back to work!


[1] St. Cuthbert's Parish (Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland), Scotland Marriages 1561-1910, Alexander Burd and Main Bingham (1846), FHL microfilm 1066766, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. 

[2] The Montana News (Lewistown, MT), 22 October 1908, p. 4, col. 2; digital images, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (http://www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 8 September 2013).   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Summer Picnic

This is a picture of my grandmother, Agnes Speck Cubbage (left), and two friends having a picnic. This photo was in my grandfather's photo collection and was presumably taken by him, probably in the late 1930's. I love the car, which was probably belonged to the friend (or he borrowed it), as I don't believe my grandfather had a car until much later. Anyone know about this old car?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Maritime Monday - Captain Speedy Lost at Sea

William Arthur Speedy was the husband of my great grand aunt, Margaret Schwenk Speedy. William was born on 24 January 1874 in Pittsburgh [1] and married Maggie Schwenk on 12 April 1899 in Braddock, PA.[2] They lived in Swissvale, PA for most of the next 15 years where William worked as a laborer (millworker and wireman) at Carrie Furnace.

Between 1914 and 1921, William and Maggie traveled to and/or lived in St. Augustine and Daytona, Florida. The details on his time in Florida are fuzzy and still need further research. I found William and Maggie in a city directory in St. Augustine in 1914 [3], as well as a statement from her sister-in-law Della Groves Swank about them living in Florida. Della's divorce testimony states that her husband Charles was visiting his sister (Maggie) in St. Augustine, FL in 1914.[4] 

In September of 1918, William and Maggie were back in Swissvale. William's World War I Draft Registration Card states that they were living on Schley Avenue, at the same address as Maggie's brother George. Under "Description of Registrant" it states "left index entirely gone, also 1st & second joint of second finger left hand." I don't know how or when his hand was injured.[5] 
Neither William nor Maggie can be located in the 1920 Census in either Pennsylvania or Florida (or anywhere else). In July of 1920, Maggie is visiting in Braddock, PA when her niece Leah dies, and the obituary states that she is from St. Augustine, FL.[6]  I also have a photocopy of a picture from an unknown family member of William's boat "Marian C" in Daytona in 1921. Marian was the name of both Maggie's mother and niece.

Sometime around 1925, William and Maggie moved to Cape May, New Jersey. The Monessen Daily Independent mentions Marian Cubbage (Maggie's niece) visiting them in Cape May in July of 1925.[7]

According to newspaper reports in the Cape May Star and Wave, William Speedy, age 52, went out alone on Saturday morning, 7 August 1926 to fish and did not return that evening. He only had some lunch and water with him. It is believed that his boat "Merion" sank and he died when an electrical storm swept through the area. About 3 weeks later on August 28th, the Cape May Star and Wave reported that a piece of the wreckage, with "Merion" painted on it, was found by the Coast Guard.[8, 9] Click on either article to enlarge for reading.

My grandfather, William Arthur Cubbage, was named after his uncle, William Arthur Speedy. He was 13 years old when his uncle died. Maggie, also know as "Aunt Mag", moved in the with Cubbage family in Monessen, PA a few years after Captain Speedy's death.[10] As far as I know, his body was never found (there was no death certificate issued). There is a tombstone for William A. Speedy in Russell Cemetery in Braddock, PA.

The image of the Speedy's boat (above) was found in a photocopy from an unknown family photo album (my father believes it was from Marian or Babe Cubbage, both nieces of Maggie). This page also had a photo of Captain Speedy, some articles that appear to be from Pittsburgh newspapers, "Behold the Fisherman" poem, a handwritten poem "Dead at Sea," and another newspaper article about waiting for fishermen who were lost at sea. A family member must have complied these into the album and I wonder if the pieces were at one time Maggie's. I wish that we had the originals of these photos and articles!
I also wonder if Maggie or another family member wrote the poem "Dead at Sea." Below is a quote from the article in the center above, and sums up what it must have been like for his wife Maggie.

"Of all the agonies that rack the human heart, such waiting is the cruelest. The uncertainty of
hope deferred plunges the heart into a constancy of the bitterest grief. Better far to know the
worst than to hope on and on, without even the poignant consolation of knowledge of the
dear one's fate."

My family talks about Captain Speedy whenever we visit Cape May, especially when we stop at the Fishermen's Memorial. Family lore is that Captain Speedy and Maggie lived on Washington Street. I think it's time to plan another trip to this beautiful beach town and do some local research to see if I can find out more about them!


[1] "Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 05 Aug 2013), William Arthur Speady, 24 Jan 1874.

[2] "Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org: accessed 05 Aug 2013), William A. Speedy and Maggie A. Schwenk, 1899.

[3] "St Augustine, Florida, City Directory, 1914," Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (https://ancestry.com : accessed 05 August 2013), William Arthur Speedy.

[4] Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas, Case No. 700 April Term 1916, Della E. Swank vs. Charles W. Swank, Transcript of Official Notes of Testimony, 17 May 1916, Department of Court Records, Pittsburgh.

[5] "United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 05 Aug 2013), William Arthur Speedy, 1917-1918.

[6] Undated clipping, ca. 1920, from unidentified newspaper; photocopy privately held [address for private use] NJ, 2011.

[7] "Out of the Files, Twenty Years Ago, Monday July 13, 1925," The Monessen Daily Independent (Monessen, PA), 13 July 1945, p. 7, col. 3; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2013).  

[8] "Fisherman Still Missing," Cape May Star and Wave (Cape May, NJ), 14 August 1926, p.1; photocopy of clipping, privately held [address for private use] NJ, 2011.

[9] "Searching for Speedy's Body," Cape May Star and Wave (Cape May, NJ), 28 August 1926; photocopy of clipping, privately held [address for private use] NJ, 2011.

[10] 1930 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Monessen, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 65-98. sheet 5-A, p. 106 (stamped), dwelling 119, family 163, Charles A Cubbage; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 August 2013) citing National Archives publication T626; imaged from FHL microfilm 2341891.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Captain Speedy

William Arthur Speedy, circa 1920

On this date 87 years ago, Captain William Arthur Speedy was lost at sea off the coast of Cape May, NJ.  Check back on Monday for more about Speedy's life and tragic death.

Monday, July 29, 2013

GRIP Overview - What a Week!

Ok, so my plan was to blog every couple of days, but it was such a full and overwhelming week that it never happened! So here are some of my thoughts on the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh.

There were six courses offered last week and I attended Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper. Paula Stuart-Warren was the coordinator and taught most of the classes. There was a range of "intermediate" students in the course, from somewhat new to genealogy, to professional genealogists. I felt that I was somewhere in the middle, so it was a great course for me!

Some of the most helpful and/or enlightening "classes" that Paula taught were about the records created during the WPA Era, military records, state archives, and federal government records. There were so many resources presented during each of these classes! I also enjoyed the classes that covered civil and criminal records, newspapers, and institutional records. There were many fun examples of what we could possibly find!

We all enjoyed the classes that were taught by Josh Taylor. I learned so much about JSTOR, which is an online database of scholarly journals. Later in the week, he taught us about using 19th and 20th compiled genealogies. His last class with us was titled "Doing Digital" and had all of our minds spinning with ideas and possibilities for digitally preserving and organizing our research. The most memorable moment was when a classmate looked at one of Josh's examples on the screen and realized that they had the same ancestors! It turned out that they were third cousins!

Our course also included two classes taught by Debra Mieszala on transcription and citing sources. I was looking forward to these topic areas, as I know that I need to working on both my transcription skills and citation "discipline". Both classes were very helpful!

Evening Lectures
There were three evening lectures during the week. On Monday evening I attended a lecture by Michael Hait on "What is a Reasonable Exhaustive Search?" He presented a great case study as an example. Tuesday night included Angela Packer McGhie's lectures, "Preparing to Research in Washington, DC" and "Read All About Your Ancestors by Locating Historic Newspapers." Both were excellent! Afterwards, we all watched the first episode of "Who Do You Think You Are." It was fun to watch with 100 genealogy nuts like myself! The final lecture on Thursday night was a last minute fill-in by Michael Hait, since the original presenter could not be there. "Of Sound Mind and Body: Using Probate Records in Your Research" was another great presentation.

People & Pittsburgh
It was wonderful to meet so many people in the genealogy community throughout the week! All of the instructors and lecturers were incredible. I met so many wonderful people, from beginners to professionals, in my course and during meals. At the end of each day in our course, we discussed a research issue or brick-wall for a classmate. There were so many ideas generated and we saw the value of collaboration. There are several of us who are hoping to stay connected!

One of the reasons I attended was because GRIP was being held in Pittsburgh. Many of my ancestors spent some time in the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, so I have been there before and love the city! There wasn't an evening lecture on Wednesday, so I went to the Carnegie Library in Oakland with a few new friends (thanks for driving Tracy!!). We only had a couple of hours there, but I was able to check a few books with local cemetery and church listings to look for some Sarvers and Cubbages. Afterwards, we grabbed some dinner in Oakland before heading back for the night. It was a great break from the course and campus, and a chance to apply what I learned (I transcribed my notes the next morning!).

College Life
GRIP was held at LaRoche College and most of the students stayed in the dorm, which was right next to the classroom building and dining hall. It was nice being able to walk everywhere or to run back t the room during breaks if I needed something. The food in the dining hall was good and they had a wonderful salad bar at lunch and dinner. LaRoche is a small school and there was a beautiful prayer garden next to the dorm plus wonderful labyrinth nearby. The people at LaRoche were all so nice, and the conveniences of the close proximity far outweighed the minor discomfort of the dorm beds!

So if you have considered attending GRIP, I highly recommend it! They announced the fabulous listing of courses for next year (including one on DNA and another on the law and genealogy) and I hope to attend again. For more details, check out the GRIP website.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

I Made it to GRIP!!

I arrived in Pittsburgh today to spend the week at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh! The six-hour drive wasn't too bad (no traffic at all!) and I arrived at La Roche College in time for check-in. I got myself settled into the dorm and then enjoyed dinner and met some classmates.

I am very excited and very nervous, as this is the first week-long intensive genealogy course for me. I decided to register for Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper so that I can expand on the basic skills I have acquired through research and local workshops. This course is coordinated by Paula Stuart-Warren, with Debra Mieszala and D. Joshua Taylor as additional instructors.

I will post some updates about the sessions this week, but for now it's time to finishing unpacking and get some rest!!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Surname Saturday - Cubbage Family Reunion!

Last weekend we had the first Cubbage Family Reunion in 38 years! It was a great chance see long lost cousins (and second cousins and third cousins) and meet some of the younger Cubbage descendants. Click here for a post about the first Cubbage Reunion in 1961.

We even tried to recreate a picture from the last reunion. Lots of family are no longer with us, but we tried to get into the same spot.

Afterwards, I realized we missed one person who was at the reunion (sorry Nicole!!), but I don't think her Dad was going to get her on his shoulders anyways! The picture below is from 1975.

It was a great weekend and I hope that we don't wait another 38 years for the next reunion!! Stay in touch Cubbage and Reabe cousins!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Friday Funny - Our Family Tree and Fish??

I'm sure you are wondering how I'm going to connect my family tree to fish (no, there won't be a pedigree chart for these guys!). My youngest son finally got a fish tank! He's been asking for a while and got some Petco gift cards for his birthday. So after returning from vacation, we went right out to get the tank, supplies and the fish. It was decided that we would get some "starter" fish like guppies and platties (while we figured out the tank, feeding, etc.), as well as all males (we didn't want a bunch more fish!).

After we got everything set-up, he said that he needed to see my husband's family tree. Why, you ask?  To get names for his fish! He already knew some of my family names (I had been working on charts for a family reunion) but he needed some from my the Draper tree! My little guy named three after Cubbages (Arthur, George, Lester) and three after Drapers (Otis, Moses, Ernest).

What a funny guy he is! Instead of naming his fish after SpongeBob characters or athletes, he chose names from his family tree. It made me smile and chuckle! I often wonder if they are paying attention when "Mom is going on about genealogy stuff again."  I guess some of it is sinking in!  Thanks E-Man!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sentimental Sunday - Corky's Birthday!

Happy Birthday Dad! This is a picture from Corky's 4th birthday party! Corky is boy on the left sitting in the front, sort of looking around another boy. His brother Jeff is being held by an unknown woman.
Corky's father was still in Norfolk in the Navy at this time, so he and his brother Jeff, and his mother Agnes Speck Cubbage were living on Thelma Street on Pittsburgh's North Side with Agnes' mother, Elizabeth Linneman Speck Merz.
I wasn't sure what year it was, but I was able to zoom in on this picture and count the candles ... four!! The birthday party was in the backyard of Elizabeth's house and probably included many of the kids on the street.
I love this picture of Agnes looking up while she cuts the birthday cake, surrounded by all of the kids.
Happy Birthday Dad!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Workday Wednesday - Streetcar Motorman

This is a picture of my great uncle Frank R. Speck (left) who was a streetcar motorman in Pittsburgh. The back of the picture has 1946 written on it, so he would have been about 28 years old. Frank was born in Monessen, PA and lived there until the mid 1940's when he moved to Pittsburgh's North Side. A few years earlier, Frank was a Seaman with the Merchant Marines, and later became a police officer in Pittsburgh. I'm glad we have this picture of him!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past - Agnes' Graduation

As we celebrated graduations this month, I thought of these pictures of my grandmother. Agnes Elizabeth Speck graduated from Monessen High School in 1933. I don't know if this was taken near her home or who took the picture. They were living at 228 Donner Avenue in Monessen, PA at the time. At Monessen High School, Agnes was in the Glee Club, participated in operettas, and represented the school at a national speech competition. Agnes later went to Douglas Business College in Charleroi, PA and worked at Page Wire and Steel in Monessen. Agnes went to nursing school when she was 40's and worked as a nurse after her children were grown.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday's Faces from the Past ... and Present!

This is my father, Corky, when he graduated from New Providence Junior High School (9th grade) in 1956.

Fast forward 57 years ... Corky's grandson (my son) graduated from middle school (8th grade) this week! See any resemblance?? Congratulations!!