Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thankful Thursday - Library of Virginia Staff!

A HUGE shout-out to the staff at the Library of Virginia!

I spent last week in Richmond, Virginia at the awesome National Genealogical Society Family History Conference. The conference was great, but the best part of the week was the research time at the Library of Virginia!

The LVA staff was so very nice, helpful and patient. They were well-prepared for the huge influx of genealogists and family historians (both beginner and advanced). They reminded us when our time was up on the microfilm readers and helped us locate records, resources, documents and more. Thank you all for your friendly assistance so that we could get the most out of our limited research time. I am looking forward to returning to LVA in the future.

More to come on what I was able to find on my husband's Virginia ancestors in future posts!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sentimental Sunday - Playing "Hearts" Through the Mail

I was raised by some serious card-playing Cubbages! Family favorites included Hearts, Poker and "Aw $hit" (also know as Oh Hell or Oh Pshaw). If there were Cubbages gathered together, there was always card game. We even had an honorary game of "Aw $shit" after my grandfather's funeral.

My grandfather Art was an avid card player. He played Hearts regularly with his friends Bob and Ralph.They would get together every year or so for a Hearts weekend. "Easter Sunday 1952" was typed on the back of the pictures above and below. Easter Sunday!

My grandfather Art and friend Bob Lewis

They had a flag and a medal that was passed to the winner of the weekend to keep until the next tournament. In later years they also had matching shirts.

"Hearts Tour April 1953"

"Hearts Tour April 1954"

"Hearts Tour 1958, Zanesville OH"

In between the "Hearts Tours," Art, Bob and Ralph would play cards by mail. One of them would deal out the cards and mail them to the other two players. The person who was to the "left of the dealer" would mail his card to the next player, who would add his card and mail all three to the next. The last one would mail the "trick" to the winner, who would then play a card to his "left" and so on. The games would last weeks and months! Those were some serious card players!

Later in the 1960s and 1970s, my grandfather hosted a Poker game in his cellar twice a month with some friends from his neighborhood in New Providence. This picture is probably from the late 1960s and my grandfather is in the middle with all of the poker chips. The young fellow to the left is my father, who was probably sitting in for one of the guys.

Fast forward another 20 years and the weekend card playing returned! This time Art played "Aw $hit" (notice the matching sweatshirts for the occasion!) near the Poconos with his sons Jeff and Corky, and his friend Willie.

My older son is already good at Hearts, Poker and "Aw Pshaw" (we have renamed it for the kids) and my younger one is learning Poker, with the others to follow as he gets older. This family tradition will be passed down to another generation of Cubbage descendants!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday - Art's Pictures of Agnes

My grandfather, Art Cubbage, was the photographer of his family. He wasn't in many of the pictures, so I am thinking that he was the one behind the camera most of the time. Art took pictures of his family and friends on holidays and at family events. I have written about his awesome slide collection (dated and labeled!), but the black-and-white earlier prints were just a great (but not labeled). While Art's posed pictures of family in front of the Christmas tree were nice, it was his candid shots of his wife Agnes that I love the most.

I absolutely love this picture! It's in these candid shots of Agnes that I feel I get to know her better (she died when I was six years old). Some of the older pictures (like the one above) have the date that the picture was developed printed on it, so it gives me an approximate date that it was taken.

I like this one because it shows their kitchen in New Providence in the 1950s. I remember visiting in the 1970s, but some things had been updated by then. I wonder what she was saying when Art took this one.

This series of pictures isn't labeled at all, but by the background I think that they were taken in their backyard in New Providence, so it was probably taken in the 1950s.  

Clearly something happened after the first two shots and Agnes is now smiling and going towards Art. This one really shows a more playful side ... different from the posed pictures.

Many of Art's pictures are of Agnes doing everyday activities ... cooking, drinking coffee, reading the newspaper. I love these snapshots of their life together.

This is one from the slide collection. Obviously it was double exposed with another picture on the bottom. Even with that, I like her seriousness and expressive hands while she is talking. Agnes almost looks a little sad, but there are poker chips in front of her. Maybe she lost! Again, I would love to know what she was talking about.

Another picture of everyday life ... talking on the phone. I can remember where the phone was in the hallway. I like the glimpse of the bedroom in the background.

Even in this posed shot, I love Agnes' expression and the way her sons, Corky and Jeff, are looking at her.

A more serious, pensive picture of Agnes. The red lipstick is a contrast to the simple housecoat.

I am so thankful for all of the pictures that my grandfather took, especially the ones of my grandmother. I wish I had seen them years ago so I could have asked him about them. Lesson learned ... ask your family about pictures now so that we aren't leaving it up to speculation years later!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Black Sheep Sunday - Arrest by Prohibition Agents

I love old newspapers! I know that I have posted about them before, but I always seem to find something interesting in a newspaper search! I received an email offer from fold3 for a half-off subscription to Since starting the subscription, I have been slowly going through each state to look for newspapers in the areas of my ancestors. I found The Daily Republican in Monongahela, Pennsylvania, which is only a few miles from Monessen.

In my search for Cubbage, Linneman and Speck families in The Daily Republican, I found some hospital admissions and reports of surgery, a few car accidents, a few articles about my great-grandfather's business, and this article about my great grand uncle, Christian "Christ" Linneman.

click image for a larger view

"At East Monogahela, the officers visited the East Monongahela hotel where they arrested Peter Yalch, 46, of Monongahela and Christ Linneman, of Monessen. They were released on bond in the sum of $1,000 for hearings November 20 before U. S. Commissioner Roger Knox. Beer on tap was found here, the officers say. The warrant was sworn out when a federal officer reported that he purchased four drinks at fifty cents each."

Christ Linneman was my great-grandmother's oldest brother. He never married and lived much of his life in Monessen with his mother or siblings. I have his Gesangbuch (German hymnal) and a photo of him from World War I. On several records he lists his occupation as bartender or "hotel clerk", so in some ways it was not surprising to find this article. 

A similar article ran in The Monessen Daily Independent, but Christ's name was not mentioned, just Peter Yalch (listed as Yehak). I looked in both papers after the stated November 20th hearing date, but found nothing. Next up is to see if I can locate those court records. Any suggestions? The county seat?

This was the only article that I have found about Christ's involvement with alcohol during Prohibition. I did perform a quick search on Peter Yalch in those papers and found a few other arrests, one after a raid on his "speakeasy" in Monessen. I guess it was hard to be a bartender during Prohibition!



"Dry Agents Hit Six Places In District," The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania), 12 November 1928, p. 1, col. 1; digital images, ( : accessed 31 January 2014).

"County Detectives and Federal Officer Make Raids Over Week-end," The Monessen Daily Independent (Monessen, Pennsylvania), 12 November 1928, p. 1, col. 7; digital images, ( : accessed 31 January 2014).  

"Six Monessen Buildings Hit By Dry Agents," The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania), 16 December 1932, p. 1, col. 6; digital images, ( : accessed 31 January 2014).

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Talented Tuesday - A Beautiful Stained Glass Family Tree!

My dear friend Amy Brooks is an amazingly talented stained glass artist and the owner of Paradise Custom Stained Glass. She created a beautiful custom stained glass family tree for her client's Christmas gift (how happy was that person on Christmas morning!!). It is absolutely stunning and I wanted to share her flyer and images with others who might be interested in this beautiful way to display your family history.

You can learn more about Amy and Paradise Custom Stained Glass on her website or Facebook.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Mary Ann Burd and Charles Schwenk

A few days ago was the wedding anniversary of my second great-grandparents, Charles Schwenk and Marian "Mary Ann" Burd. They were married on 12 January 1871 in Pittsburgh, PA.[1] I had found and posted a copy of their marriage certificate a while ago ...

While it's so wonderful to find documents about our ancestors, there is so much more that  I want to know about them besides the details (or lack there of) in each document. I would love to know more about my family and am admittedly jealous of those who have diaries, letters and old photos that really paint the pictures of their ancestors' lives!

Finding this photocopy in my father's files was wonderful, and I was happy to have this to confirm the date of their marriage. But I don't have any pictures of Charles and Mary Ann, or diaries or letters, but what if I could know a little more about the wedding ...

In the many, many incredible documents in Charles' Pension File that I ordered from NARA, there is an affidavit that Mary Ann submitted for her Widow's Pension. The affidavit was from Isaac and Martha Mason and dated 3 March 1899.[2]

That the soldier Charles G. Schwenk and Mary A Schwenk now a Widow were married on January the 12" 1871 at Pittsburgh Pa. That said Mary A Schwenk was living with them at Saltsburg Pa at the time of her marriage to the soldier Charles G. Schwenk.
That after the return of the couple from Pittsburgh were the marriage took place, they had the wedding supper at their (Deponents House) and that they the Deponents participated at the wedding festivities held in honor of the said marriage.
That the said Mary A. Schwenk lived with them (Deponents) for about 2 years before her marriage to the soldier and know that she was not married prior to the marriage to the soldier above named.
That they know the facts testified to in this affidavit of their own Personal knowledge, having had an intimate aquaintence with Mary A Schwenk before and after her marriage to the soldier.
That their Post Office address is Creighton in the County of Allegheny State of Pennsylvania.

Wow! So now I know a little more about Charles and Mary Ann's wedding. They had the wedding "supper" at the home of Isaac and Martha Mason in Saltsburg. In the 1870 census, just the year before the wedding, Mary Ann is living with the Masons as a domestic servant in North Versailles.[3] Charles is also living in North Versailles in 1870 and was enumerated on the same day and only a few pages apart in the census book.[4]

There is another interesting item in this affidavit that needs further research. One of the Witnesses to this affidavit was Margaret Orris, who was Mary Ann's sister. When Margaret Orris died, her obituary listed eight children including Mrs. Harry Mason.[5] Next up is to see if there are any connections between the Burd/Orris families and the Mason family. Maybe that's how Mary Ann found work, or how Margaret's daughter met her husband?

In the meantime, I'm happy to know a little more about the wedding of my great-grandparents and how they celebrated this important event!


[1] Marriage Certificate, Charles Schwenk-Mary Ann Burd, 12 January 1871; photocopy privately held [name and address for private use,] ca. 1975. 

[2] Affidavit of Isaac and Martha Mason, 3 March 1899, Mary Ann Schwenk, widow's pension application no. 586124, certificate no. 475533, service of Charles G. Schwenk (1st Sgt., Co. C, 82nd reg., Pennsylvania Infantry, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications ..., 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files, Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

[3] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 20 (penned), dwelling 137, family 137, Isaac Mason; digital image,, ( : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[4] 1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, North Versailles, population schedule, McKeesport Post Office, p. 23 (penned), dwelling 156, family 156, John Rogers; digital image,, ( : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393_1294; Family History Library Film 552793.

[5] "Former Creighton Woman Summoned by Death," The Valley Daily News (Tarentum, PA), 17 February 1922; photocopy, Community Library of Allegheny, copied by library staff, 12 October 2012.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Friday's Faces from the Past - Minnie Cubbage Reabe

Minnie Beulah Cubbage was born on this date, January 10, 1908 in Swissvale, PA. She was my grand aunt and was about five years older than my grandfather, Art. This is a beautiful picture of Minnie with her newborn daughter Marna. I was able to spend some time with Minnie's grandchildren (my second cousins) at a Cubbage Family Reunion last summer. Lots of photos were scanned and shared, including this one of Minnie.