Treasure Chest Thursday – German Gesangbuch

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For those of you who know me, you know that Thursdays are my favorite day of the week – choir and handbell choir rehearsals! I love being a part of the thriving music program at our church. A few years ago, my parents gave me the most wonderful little book as a gift. It is a German Gesangbuch, or hymnal, that belonged to my great-grand uncle, Christian “Christ” Linnemann.

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The first page is printed with “Ach bleib mit Deiner Gnade.” According to Google Translate, this means Oh stay with your grace.

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Christ’s name is written on the back of the first page. The first two pages appear to have been repaired with some white tape that covers the end of his name and part of the next  page. The following page is printed with “Widmung” which means dedication, but nothing is written on that page.

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The Evangelisches Gesangbuch is a Protestant hymnal. This edition was published in 1897 in Dortmund, and reads for Rheinland and Wesfalen. Christ was born in the state of North Rhein-Westfalia, so it appears to be an edition from that area of Germany.

There is a table of contents which lists times of the Christian year (New Year, Sunday, Advent, Easter, Ascension, etc.) and page numbers with hymns. There are also sections for morning, midday and evening.

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The hymnal’s binding is very tight, so I am careful not to open too far and damage it (see my earlier post on caring for a Family Bible).

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Each hymn has the first verse with the music, and then the following verses without the music. At the end of the book is an index  of composers (translated as song poet, which I LOVE!). I plucked out some of the hymns on the piano, but do not recognize any of them. They appear to be more chant-like (many of the composers were born in 1600s) and not the familiar Presbyterian hymns that I am used to singing.

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Christan Fasel Linnemann with his sister Elizabeth Linneman Speck, circa 1920.

Christian Linnemann was my great-grandmother’s oldest brother. He was born in 1887 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany as Christian Fasel. His father died shortly before he was born and his mother later married Gerhard Linnemann. Uncle Christ never married, and my father remembers him sitting quietly and reading his Bible, or maybe this Gesangbuch. His mother’s religion was Catholic on Christ’s birth record, but when his sister Elisabeth was born, she and her husband were both Protestant (Evangelishes). The Linnemann family came to America in 1904 when Christ was 16 years old.

I am so thankful to have this Gesangbuch. Do you have a special family heirloom that you treasure?

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Scout Saturday – Getting Ready for the Merit Badge Fair

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I am excited to be participating in a local Boy Scout troop’s Merit Badge Fair tomorrow! It is an afternoon where these young men can begin and/or complete a merit badge or two. I will be helping the scouts earn their Genealogy Merit Badge. I am thrilled to have to opportunity to talk to them about learning about their ancestors and family history!

Both of my sons have been involved in Scouting. My older son was a Cub Scout for several years, and my younger son was a Cub Scout and is currently working towards his Star rank in Boy Scouts. And you know that I’m going to share about those Boys Scouts in my family tree!

My father Corky and his brother Jeff spent a few years as Boy Scouts after they moved from Pittsburgh to New Providence, New Jersey. This is a picture of Corky’s Bobcat pin. Their father, Art, was a Boy Scout for many years in Monessen, Pennsylvania and had earned the rank of Life Scout (the second highest scouting rank).

Below are some pictures of Corky (age 13), Jeff (age 10) and their parents Art and Agnes (Speck) Cubbage in front of their home in New Providence before the Memorial Day parade in 1954. They had just moved to New Jersey about eight months prior.

 

Corky at Camp Watchung  Camp in 1954. He is the third from the right in the back row (yep, the one making a face!).

Wishing all the local scouts a fun afternoon at the Merit Badge Fair tomorrow! I am an approved BSA Merit Badge Counselor – if your scouts would like to earn a Genealogy Merit Badge, feel free to contact me. I can also tailor this program for Girl Scouts or other youth organizations who are interested in learning about genealogy and family history.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mamas out there! I thought I’d post a few pictures of moms and kids from our families.

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My mother with her mother, Elise Gegenheimer Haberkern, in Stein, Germany, 1945.
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My father with his brother and mother, Agnes Speck Cubbage, on the North Side of Pittsburgh, 1945.
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My great-grandmother, Maine Swank Cubbage, with her daughters Marian, Marge and Babe, and most likely her daughter-in-law Happy Griffith Cubbage, Monessen, Pennsylvania, 1930s.
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My husband’s great-grandmother, Mary Kelovcy Simko, with children Mary, Susan, Michael and Walter, circa 1930.
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My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Linnemann Speck, with either Agnes (1915) or Frank (1918) in Monessen.
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My great-great-grandmother, Barbara Elisabeth Nilkowski Linneman, with her children Christian, Gerhard, George, William and Elisabeth, in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 1904.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

#MeetMyImmigrants – Janos Babai

In recent years, I have thought a lot about my immigrant ancestors. I stumbled upon this great hashtag that Rich Venezia at Rich Roots Genealogy started last year. The vast majority of us are descendants of immigrants – something we should remember and celebrate.

Our family tree (mine and my husband’s) is full of immigrant ancestors – some are more recent immigrants (my mother and mother-in-law!) and other ancestors immigrated to this young country before 1800. On this day 84 years ago – 8 May 1935 – my husband’s great-grandfather, Janos Babai, declared his intent to become an American citizen.[1]

Babai Naturalization

Naturalization records can provide a wealth of information about our immigrant ancestors. Janos Babai was born on 6 March 1871 in Žipov, Austria-Hungary, which was a part of Czechoslovakia in 1935 when he applied for citizenship, and today it is in the Prešov District of Slovakia. He was living in Jessup, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, and filed his Declaration of Intention in the U.S. District Court in Scranton. This document provides valuable details about John and his family:

  • John married Anna (no maiden name) in April of 1895 in Žipov, and she was born in Egreš, Austria-Hungary.
  • John and Anna had the following children:
    • Anna born 29 September 1896 in Žipov
    • John born 13 September 1898 in Žipov
    • Mary born 10 January 1906 in Žipov (this is my husband’s grandmother)
    • Elizabeth born 14 February 1908 in Jessup
    • Jennie born 13 September 1910 in Jessup
    • Susan born 27 January 1913 in Jessup
  • John also reported that he arrived in the United States on 2 March 1906 in New York, but did not remember the name of the vessel that left from Bremen.

The best part of this naturalization record is the picture of John and his signature!

After immigrating, Janos consistently used the name John. The surname Babai has been spelled Babbi, Babbay, and Babbie. I am not sure why Babay is on his naturalization record, as the family continued to use Babai in other records. I wonder his surname was mis-typed and he signed what was typed. In his Petition for Naturalization that was filed in 1937, he was recorded as Janos Babai, but his signature was Janos Babay.[2] I need to brush up on my Slovakian language skills, but do remember some interchange with the letters “i” and “y.”

John was in this country for almost 30 years before he began the naturalization process. I have not yet located the passenger list for John’s travel to the U.S. His wife and children arrived in July of 1906, traveling to meet John in Peckville, Pennsylvania.[3] Searches for John in early 1906 find several Janos Babai/Babi passengers that are about the same age, and additional analysis is needed.

If you have not located immigration and/or naturalization records for your immigrant ancestors, I highly recommend searching for what might be available. These records could be found at the county, state or federal level. This FamilySearch page has links to records by state. The National Archives also holds naturalization records. What you can learn from these documents varies by time period, but still are valuable parts of your family history. Understanding how immigration laws have changed is important too – here is a link to for more information.

What have you learned about your immigrant ancestors?


SOURCES:

[1] John Babay declaration of intention (1935), naturalization file no. 24405, Middle District of Pennsylvania; Records of the District Courts of the United States; Record Group 21; National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

[2] Janos Babai petition for naturalization (1937), naturalization file no. 24405, Middle District of Pennsylvania; Records of the District Courts of the United States; Record Group 21; National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

[3] “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,” digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 August 2016), manifest, S.S. Prinzess Alice, Bremen to New York, arriving 24 July 1906, p.138, line 3, Anna Babai, age 30; citing National Archives microfilm publication T715, RG 85, roll 0745.

© 2019 LAURA CUBBAGE-DRAPER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.