Favorite Photos Friday- Art’s Pictures of Agnes

Agnes (Speck) and Art Cubbage, New Providence, New Jersey, circa 1954.

It’s Women’s History Month, and I am highlighting my female ancestors. My grandmother, Agnes Speck Cubbage, died when I was only six years old. These beautiful images of her, long before I was born, capture some of her personality.

My grandfather, Art Cubbage, was the photographer of his family. He wasn’t in many of the pictures – he was usually the one behind the camera. Art took pictures of his family and friends on holidays and at family events, but also around the house and yard. I have already written about his awesome slide collection (which was dated and labeled!). The black-and-white earlier prints were just as wonderful, although these were not labeled like the slides. 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.

Agnes 1957

I absolutely love this picture! These mundane, everyday shots of Agnes might seem unremarkable, yet I feel that I know her a little better through these images. Agnes’ expressions share so much about her.

Agnes 1957

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 that time. I wonder what she was saying when Art took this one.

This series of pictures isn’t labeled, but appear to be taken in their backyard in New Providence, probably in the 1950s. It looks like something happened after the first two shots and Agnes was going towards Art. This one really shows a more playful side … different from the posed pictures, and so many of the other candid shots of Agnes where she seems more serious.

maybe 1950s

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.

Agnes August 1959

This is one from the slide collection. It was double exposed with another image overlaying it towards the bottom. Even with that, I like her seriousness and expressive hands while she is talking. Again, I would love to know what she was talking about.

Jeff, Cork, Ag August 1959 (1)

This serious picture of Agnes was with a series of images of her and sons Corky and Jeff, where they appear to be on a boat trip. I love this picture too!

d February 1960 (9)

Another picture of everyday life … talking on the phone. I can remember where the phone was in the hallway, as well as the one-piece table and chair by the phone (some call it a “gossip chair”). I like the glimpse of their bedroom in the background too.

Spring 1961

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

d May 1962 (4)

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!

As you research your family, go through any photos that you can find. Ask your living relatives about the people. Look for those everyday images of your ancestors’ lives.

Did you have an amateur photographer in your family? Do you have any favorite pictures of your ancestors?

Workday Wednesday – Women in the Census

For Women’s History Month, I will be highlighting different women and/or records of my female ancestors (and my husband’s ancestors too). Today is all about the jobs we find for women in the census. Census records are one of the most valuable resources that we have available when researching our family. Occupations were not specifically recorded until 1850, and in 1910 a column for industry was added, providing more details about where our ancestors worked.

I have learned much about the women in my family though the occupations that were recorded in the census. The most common occupation for women, especially in the 19th century, as well as in rural farm or mining communities, was that of homemaker. The instructions for the 1870 note that “Women keeping house for their own families or for themselves, without any other gainful occupation, will be entered as ‘keeping house.’ Grown daughters assisting them will be reported without occupation.”

1870 Etna CUbbage

In 1870 “Cath” [Catherine] Cubbage, age 50, reported an occupation of keeping house. She was living with her grown and teenage children and was likely separated (her husband William is consistently found living elsewhere). Her daughter Mary, age 20, was working as a seamstress.

1870 Penn Cubbage

In the same year, “Barbary Copige” [Barbara Cubbage], age 35, was keeping house in rural Butler County. Her daughter Sarah, age 15, was “at home” and likely helping her mother.

1870 Burd

Another common occupation for women in my family ws that of domestic servant or simply servant. In 1870, “Mary Bird” [Mary Ann Burd], age 18, was working as a domestic servant with Martha and Isaac Mason in McKeesport, a suburb of Pittsburgh. The Masons, only a few years older than Mary,  would later file an affidavit for Mary’s veteran’s widow’s pension to provide details about her wedding and marriage to Charles Schwenk in 1871 (less than a year after this census).

1880 JCubbage Census

1880 Sara C Middlesex

Sarah Cubbage worked as servant for many years with the Logan Family in Butler County. Sarah never married, and she worked for, and possibly lived with, the Logans until she died in 1902 after falling on some ice. In 1880, Sarah, age 25, was found enumerated twice – once with her parents in Penn Township, and then again with the Logan family in neighboring Middlesex Township. She was recorded as a servant in both records.

I am always happy to see women in our family who have the occupation of at school – especially when they are in the teenage years, since many did not attend school past 8th grade (until into the 20th century). In 1900, Carrie and Hattie Draper, ages 16 and 19, are at school while living with their brother in Bedford County, Virginia. Their father had died the year prior, and the sisters and widow lived with older brother Walter Draper.

Occasionally, I have found women who had taken over a husband’s occupation after his death. Also in 1900, Jane Cubbage, age 72, was recorded as a farmer just a few months after her husband Jacob died. They had a substantial amount of property in Buffalo Township, Pennsylvania, including land that was being mined for oil and gas. Her son John would take over managing the land and farm a few years later.

In 1920, Elizabeth Linnemann, age 54 and also a widow, was found working as a “stuart.” at a hotel in Monessen, Pennsylvania. She was most likely a steward, and could have worked as a waitress or bartender. Her son Christian (here as “Christopher”) had the same occupation and worked most of his life as steward and bartender in local hotels and establishments. Elizabeth lived in the city of Monessen, which provided more opportunities for work than was available for some of my women ancestors who lived in rural areas.

In the 20th century, I have found additional occupations for women – at least before they married. In 1900, Margaret Cubbage, age 26, was found working as a teacher in Allegheny City. Margaret also never married, and spent her life working in education.

Living in a city or suburb provided more options for women to work in clerical occupations. In 1930, the Cubbage sisters were living in the city of Monessen with their parents and siblings. Marian, age 25, was working as bookkeeper at a bank. Marian never married and would have a long career as a bookkeeper (my dad remembers Marian to be the most financially stable aunt, and the first of those Cubbage siblings to own a car). Minnie, age 22, and Gladys, age 19, were working as stenographers at a real estate office and the steel mill. Both sisters would leave these positions after they married. And at this time, mother Maine had an occupation of none rather than keeping house.

I found an interesting “occupation” in the 1910 census. Jennie [Cubbage] Kearns, age 75 and widowed, was living in Pittsburgh with her daughter Jeanne. Both women reported an occupation of own income. Jennie’s husband, William D. Kearns, has been a well-known and successful physician in Pittsburgh. I guess they were financially stable!

I love piecing together the stories of my female ancestors. I encourage to take a look at your female ancestors through the occupations that you find in the census. Do you see changes in each generation? Do the women in more urban areas have better jobs? Did any young widows go back to work?


Census Office, Department of the Interior, “Ninth Census, United States, 1870; Instructions to Assistant Marshalls,” Washington: Government Printing Office, 1870; The United States Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/history/www/ through_the_decades/census_instructions/1870_instructions.html : accessed 1 March 2019).

1870 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Etna, p. 10 (penned), sheet 399B (stamped), dwelling 71, family 78, Cath Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1299.

1870 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Penn Township, p. 15 (penned), dwelling 115, family 115, James Copige household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 September 2016), citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 132.

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, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 January 2014) citing National Archives publication M5393, roll 1294.

1880 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Penn Township, Enumeration District (ED) 52, p. 413B (stamped), p. 10 (penned), dwelling 80, family 84, James Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 September 2016), citing NARA  microfilm publication T9, roll 1109.

1880 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Middlesex Township, Enumeration District (ED) 46, p. 326D (stamped), p. 12 (penned), dwelling 101, family 104, Sarah Cubbage in John R. Logan household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 September 2016), citing NARA  microfilm publication T9, roll 1109.

1900 U.S. census, Bedford County, Virginia, population schedule, Lisbon District, Enumeration District (ED) 11, sheet 12-A, p. 206 (stamped), dwelling 196, family 262, Walt Draper household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1900 U.S. census, Butler County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Buffalo Township, Enumeration District (ED) 54, sheet 5-A, p. 51 (stamped), dwelling 98, family 100, Jane Cubbage; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1920 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen Ward 1, Enumeration District (ED) 152, sheet 2-B, p. 147 (stamped), dwelling 22, family 38, Elizabeth Lineman household; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 November 2018), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1666.

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny City, Enumeration District (ED) 10, sheet 1-A, p. 102 (stamped), dwelling 8, family 9, Martha C. Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T623.

1930 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen City, Enumeration District (ED) 65-98, sheet 8-A, p. 106 (stamped), dwelling 119, family 163, Charles A. Cubbage household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626.

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Pittsburgh Ward 13, Enumeration District (ED) 450, sheet 4-B, p. 158 (stamped), dwelling 86, family 89, Jennie C. Kearns; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 March 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1303.


Fearless Females Friday – Women’s History Month

Scan of picture

Since today begins Women’s History Month, my blog posts in March will focus on the stories, records, photos and words of my female ancestors.

Above is a picture of some of my Cubbage women, taken in Monessen, Pennsylvania in the mid-1930s . In the back center is Maine Swank Cubbage, the matriarch, who was married to Charles Cubbage. This is the only image that I have of Maine! The women around her are daughters Marian, Marge, and Gladys “Babe.” I believe the woman at the top right is Maine’s daughter-in-law, Gladys “Happy” Griffith Cubbage. Apparently no one named Gladys used that name!

I looking forward to sharing about my fearless, beautiful female ancestors!


Thankful Thursday – Oma’s Birthday


Today would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday! Elise Gegenheimer Haberkern was born on 28 February 1919 in Ittersbach, Baden-Württemburg, Germany. I wrote about her origin store here. Oma, as she was known to us, married my grandfather in 1942, they arrived in the United States in 1952, and she died in 2010 at age 91. She lived a long life, full of energy, and devoted to her family. Below are a few of my favorite pictures of my beloved grandmother. Happy Birthday Oma!






Tuesday’s Tip – Family Bibles

A family Bible is a treasured family heirloom and a valuable resource to the family historian. I am so fortunate to have a family Bible for part of my Cubbage family. This Bible was originally owned by James and Barbara (Black) Cubbage, my second great grandparents. James and Barbara were married in 1852 and lived in Butler County, Pennsylvania.


Condition and Care

Be aware of the age and condition of your family Bible as you begin to glean genealogical details from the book. While that historical information is valuable, you will also want to preserve the family Bible for future generations. Wrapping the Bible in archival tissue paper and storing in an archival box is the best option for fragile or disintegrating books.

It’s best to transcribe and/or photograph any genealogical writings or other items found in the Bible, so that you do not need to reopen the book each time you need that data. If the Bible and binding are fragile, be sure to photograph rather than place it on a scanner (which will require you to lay the Bible flat and potentially damage the spine). If you are opening an old Bible, use care to support the spine and avoid expanding it so that it is completely flat – use your hands or a pillow to support the book. If there are pages falling out or the cover is no longer attached, do not try to glue or tape the Bible back together. I do not know that there is anything that is safe to add to your heirloom. You can see in the image above that the cover is no longer attached to the Bible.



Inside of the Bible is where you may find valuable genealogical information. Many older Bibles had blank pages to record births, marriages and deaths. If your Bible has this information, be sure to photograph and/or transcribe the vital events as it was recorded (spelling errors and all).

Nancy Cubbage was born October the 28 1853
Sarah Cubbage was born March the 6 1855
George Cubbage was born February the 3 1857
John Cubbage was born September 21 1860
Jacob Cubbage was born May 1 1863
James L Cubbage was born October the 19 1865
Mary ann Cubbage was born February the 8 1868
William H Cubbage was born May 1 1870
August the 3 1873 Charles Cubbage was Born

A few more tips:

  • look at pen that was used – was it different for each entry or the same to record all names? This will indicate if each event was recorded near when it happened, or if the information was added to the Bible at the same time.
  • look at the Bible’s publication date and compare this to the dates of recorded events. Again, this will reveal if the events were recorded at a much later time.

In the Cubbage Bible, it appears that the same pen was used for the first eight births (1853-1870) and that Charles’ birth (1873) was recorded in a different pen. In addition, this Bible was published in 1870, therefore it was likely that James and Barbara recorded the first eight births when they received the Bible, and then added Charles’ birth after he was born in 1873.


The next page lists two of the children’s deaths (again note the different pens):

Nancy Cubbage died January the 14 1854
Mary ann Cubbage died November the 20 1882

Your family Bible may also contain loose items tucked in the pages, such as newspaper clippings, locks of hair, pressed flowers and other items. The Cubbage Bible had all of these plus a few pictures of unknown children, funeral cards and obituaries, Sunday School lessons, scraps of paper with names and more. Some of the highlights that relate to those children recorded above are:

1908 Cubbage letter
A letter from James L. to Charles in 1908.
image 2009-11-4 0010
Sarah’s obituary from 1902.

image 2009-11-4 0018  image 2009-11-4 0019










Be sure to ask your family members who originally owned the Bible, and to whom it was passed until it reached it current location. This may help identify who added information or items to the Bible. For example, my father previously held the Cubbage Bible, which explains my grandfather’s funeral card (1996) in the book. Below is a citation that I used to reference the birth of Charles Cubbage:

[1] James and Barbara Cubbage Family Bible Records, 1853-1902, The Holy Bible (New York: American Bible Society, 1870), “Births”; privately held by the author, Metuchen, New Jersey. This Bible is said to have been passed from Barbara Cubbage (1834-1907) to her son James L. Cubbage (1865-1932) to his nephew William Arthur Cubbage, Sr. (1912-1996) to [living], who passed it to the author in 2017.

I hope that you find this helpful as you explore your family Bible as a genealogical resource. If you have other tips or suggestions, be sure to leave a comment.


Melissa Barker, “The Archive Lady: Preserving the Family Bible,” Abundant Genealogy, 29 June 2017 (https://abundantgenealogy.com/archive-lady-preserving-family-bible/ : accessed 10 February 12019).

Leslie Albrecht Huber, “Family History Preservation: Preserving Scrapbooks, Family Bible and Other Books”  FamilySearch Blog, 6 April 2017 (https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/preserving-scrapbooks-family-bible-books/ : accessed 10 February 2019).

“Safely Storing Family Bibles,” Advice from Donia [American Library Association] (http://www.ala.org/alcts/preservationweek/advice/bible-storage : accessed 10 February 2019).