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!