Elizabeth Barbara Nilkowski

I have posted several pictures and stories of my female ancestors. Another of these strong women was my second great-grandmother Elisabeth Barbara Nilkowski, who was known as Barbara.

I don’t know too much (yet) about Barbara’s childhood. From her marriage record I have learned that she was born on 15 April 1865 in Alt Muensterberg which was at the time in West Prussia in Germany (that area is now in Poland). Her parents were recorded as Johan Nilkowski and Maria Schild.

On 4 November 1886, Barbara married Christian Fasel in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Her first son, also named Christian, was born on 24 August 1887 in the same town. His birth record reported that his father, a miner, had died on 8 June 1887. Barbara was widowed at age 22, just a few months before her first child is born.

Sometime before January 1889, Barbara married Gerhard Linnemann. Over the next ten years they had six children: Gerhard Bernard (1889), Wilhelm Julius (1890), Rudolph (1893-1896), Georg Adolf (1895), Elisabeth Maria (1897), and Rudolph (1899-1901). Two of their sons (both named Rudolph) died as young children.

In August of 1904, Barbara traveled from Bremen to the America to meet her husband who had arrived in 1903. Barbara and her five children sailed for thirteen days on the SS Cassel to Baltimore. The family photo above apperas to have been taken shortly before their departure.

There are few records about the Linnemann family during their early years in the US. They spent time in West Virginia before settling in Monessen, a steel town south of Pittsburgh. By 1915, Barbara’s son William had moved to Chicago, and children George and Elisabeth had married.

Barbara with her daughter Elisabeth and grandchildren Agnes and Frank in Monessen, circa 1920.

In 1918, her husband Gerhard committed suicide while the family was out for a walk. This tragic event happened as two of her sons were serving in World War I, and just a few weeks after their second grandchild was born. Barbara had to endure yet another heartbreaking loss and was widowed again at age 53. The newspaper article stated that Gerhard had been injured in a coal mining accident several years earlier, and had “seemed irrational as a result” and would “take to spells of anger and brooding.”

Barbara stayed in Monessen and lived with her sons Christian and Gerhard, both of whom never married. A few years after her husband’s death, Barbara worked as a “steward” (probably a waitress) at the Turner Hall, a German social club in Monessen. Her son Christian worked as a steward there as well. On 30 July 1935, Barbara died in her sleep of a heart attack at her home on Second Street in Monessen. She was buried next to her husband in Grandview Cemetery.

Barbara was known as “Mem” to her daughter’s children. Below are a few snapshots of her from our family memorabilia. I have yet to find a picture of Barbara smiling, but thinking of her life and losses, she may have become a pretty tough woman.


Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Zivilstandsregister [Civil Register], Rudolph Linnemann (1893-1896) and Rudolph Linnemann (1899-1901); Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, email from Norbert Silberbach.

Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Geburtsregister [Births], no. 784, Christian Fasel (1887), no. 11, Gerhard Linnemann (1889), no. 1133, Wilhelm Linnemann (1890), no. 494, Georg Linnemann (1895), and no. 644, Elisabeth Linnemann (1897).

“Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1964,” digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 December 2019), entry for Gerhard Linnemann, age 41, arrived 18 December 1903 aboard the Oldenburg from Bremen; citing National Archives microfilm publication T844, RG 85. This database has erroneously indexed Gerhard as Geheat.

“Baltimore Passenger Lists, 1820-1964,” digital images, Ancestry.com (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 December 2019), entry for Elizabeth Linnemann, age 39, arrived 31 August 1904 aboard the Cassel from Bremen.

Pennsylvania Department of Health, certificate of death no. 69108 (1918), Gerherd Lenemann, Bureau of Vital Statistics, New Castle.

Pennsylvania Department of Health, certificate of death no. 67541 (1935), Barbara Elizabeth Linneman.

1920 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen Borough, Enumeration District (ED) 152, sheet 2-B, p. 147 (stamped), dwelling 22, family 38, Elizabeth Linneman household; digital images,  Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 May 2019), citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1666.

Gerhard Bernard (1889), Wilhelm Julius (1890), Rudolph (1893-1896), Georg Adolf (1895), Elisabeth Maria (1897), and Rudolph (1899-1901).


Valentine’s Day – Cubbage Couples!

A few years ago I shared some of the oldest pictures of couples that I have for Valentine’s Day. Here are some images of my Cubbage couples. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Art Cubbage and Agnes Speck, circa 1945, New Providence, NJ
Gladys “Babe” Cubbage and Bill Martin, circa 1941, probably Monessen, PA
Margaret “Marge” Cubbage and George Cenkner, circa 1946, Belle Vernon, PA
Minnie Cubbage and Harry Reabe, 1961, New Providence, NJ
(I don’t seem to have any others of Minnie and Harry)
Dad and Mom, 1961, New Providence or Summit, NJ
(so young!)

Sunday’s Obituary – James and Barbara Cubbage

1906 james cubbage obit    1907 barbara cubbage obit

James Cubbage and Barbara Black Cubbage, my second great-grandparents, both died in February, less than a year apart. James died on 28 February 1906 and Barbara died on 9 February 1907. They both died at their home in Glade Mills, a part of Penn Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

James’s obituary was much shorter than Barbara’s – I wonder who provided the information for each of them? I have a photocopy of a lengthy obituary or funeral program for Barbara. The source is unknown, but the contents are amazing! There is so much detail about the Cubbage family.

1907 Barbara Black Cubbage Funeral Card

James and Barbara were buried at Thorn Creek Cemetery. Today it is known as Rockdale Cemetery and is located off of Rockdale Road in Penn Township, Butler County, not far from the small Thorn Creek and the Thorn Creek Church. Thankfully, there is the “Rock Dale Cemetery” sign, as the cemetery is not visible from the road.




Wedding Wednesday – Frank Speck & Elizabeth Linneman

1915 Speck-Linneman Marriage_0002

Frank Speck and Elizabeth Linneman, my great grandparents, were married on 18 January 1915 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I found this marriage certificate for Frank and “Lizzie Lineman” in a file of old family pictures and memorabilia.

1915 Speck-Linneman Marriage

Marriage records for this time are available at the Allegheny County Courthouse and I was able to get a copy of their application for a marriage license at the Orphans’ Court.[1] This record provides some details about Frank and Elizabeth:

    • Frank reported that he was born in Germany to Peter, deceased, and Agnes, who resided in Germany.
    • He lived in Monessen and worked as a hotel clerk.
    • He was 28 years old (born about 1887).
    • “Lizzie” reported that she was born in Germany to Albert, a miner, and Elizabeth, who resided in West Virginia.
    • She lived in Sprigg, West Virginia.
    • She was 22 years old (born about 1893).

The above information confirms much of what I know about Frank and Elizabeth, yet there are still come conflicting details. Elizabeth reported that her father’s name was Albert, yet all other records name him as Gerhard Linneman. It is unclear at this time if it was a nickname for him or an error (maybe Frank provided the information to the Clerk).

Elizabeth also reported that she as 22 years old, conflicting with the June 1897 birth date found in her German birth record.[2] This means that Elizabeth was actually 17 years old when she married Frank.

Frank & Elizabeth Speck
Frank and Elizabeth Speck in 1915.

This marriage application also leaves a big question – how Frank and Elizabeth met each other if he lived in Monessen and she lived in Sprigg, which are about 300 miles apart! My current theory is that Frank knew her brother Christian. Around the time of their marriage, Frank worked as a bartender and a hotel clerk, and Christian also worked as a bartender, both in the Monessen/Greensburg area.[3]

1915 Speck-Linneman Marriage_0001

The Orphans’ Court record also included the marriage return, which stated that Frank and Elizabeth were married at St. Peter’s Church in Pittsburgh, signed by the Rector, Edward H. Ward.


I looked up St. Peter’s, which was an Episcopal Church in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Sadly, this beautiful church was torn down in 1986.[4] Since neither Frank and Elizabeth lived in Pittsburgh, it’s not likely that they were church members, but it still may be worth it to see if the Episcopal diocese has a marriage record as well.

cubbage heritage 4x6 - page 031_0001

This newspaper clipping was also found in the family memorabilia and I was able to locate it in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette edition from 19 January 1915.[5]

Frank and Elizabeth settled in Monessen after they married and my grandmother Agnes was born just over nine months later on 26 September 1915.

Happy Anniversary Frank and Elizabeth!


[1] Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Application for Marriage License and return no. 6374, 18 January 1915, Speck-Lineman; Office of Orphans’ Court Clerk, Pittsburgh.

[2] Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Geburtsregister [Births], no. 644, Elisabeth Maria Linnemann (1897); Institut für Stadtgeschichte, Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

[3] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, Court of Common Pleas, no. 3682, Christ Linneman, declaration of intention; Prothonotary’s Office, Greensburg.

[4] “St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Pittsburgh),” Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter%27s_Episcopal_Church_(Pittsburgh) : accessed 6 January 2020).

[5] “Marriage Licenses,” The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA), 19 January 1915, p. 18, col. 7; digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 6 January 2020).