Lovely Valentine’s Couples

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I honor of this day of love, I searched around my family (and hubby’s) for Valentine’s records, marriages or pictures … nothing! Lots of marriages in December and January, but not much happening in February! I did find this clipping in the Cubbage Family Bible … I wonder which family member clipped it from the newspaper?


So no Valentine’s marriages or love letters, but here are some of the oldest pictures that I have of family couples:

c. 1902, Jackson “Jack” Draper and Sarah Pierce in Bedford, Virginia, married in 1894.
1915, Elizabeth Linnemann and Frank Speck, Monessen or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taken around the time of their marriage.
mary michael
1934, Mary Simko and Michael Petrun, Male Zaluzice, Slovakia, taken around the time of their marriage.
c. 1939, Elise Gegenheimer and Adolf Haberkern, on a date near Stein, Germany, married in 1942.
Agnes & Art
1938, Agnes Speck and Art Cubbage in Monessen, Pennsylvania, married in 1939.

I wish that I had more older pictures, but I am very thankful for those that I do have of our families. Do you have any Valentine’s marriages in your family? How about your oldest family pictures?


National Handwriting Day & Signatures

Today is National Handwriting Day, which was established in 1977 by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association (who knew there was such an association!).[1] It was to be held on January 23rd which is John Hancock’s birthday, in honor of his famous signature on the Declaration of Independence. Rather than comment on our current digital world and its replacement of handwriting and penmanship, I’ll look at one of my favorite finds in genealogical documents … signatures.

I usually do the happy dance when I am able to find a document or record of ancestor, but I am especially happy when it includes a signature. I find signatures to be such a personal part of what can be sterile or factual document. I can see a piece of this person on the page. I often picture him or her signing the document and wonder what was going through their minds at the time, especially since these can be on a will, naturalization or draft record. Below are some of the tangible marks left by my family.


Charles Cubbage
My great-grandfather, Charles A. Cubbage’s signature on his will.[2]


Charles Swank
My 2nd great-grandfather, Charles G. Schwenk’s Civil War Pension Record (note the variant spelling of his name).[3]


Christ Linneman
My 2nd great-uncle, Christian Linneman’s World War I Draft Card.[4]


Anna Babai
My husband’s great-grandmother, Anna Babai’s Petition for Naturalization (note the variant spelling of her name).[5]


Sarah CUbbage
My 4th great-grandmother, Sarah Cubbage’s mark left on her will.[6]


[1] Jennie Cohen, “A Brief History of Penmanship on National Handwriting Day,” ( : accessed 10 January 2018), A+E Networks, 2012.

[2] Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, estate file 346, Charles A. Cubbage (1939), Register of Wills, Orphan’s Court, Greensburg.

[3] Declaration for Increase of Invalid Pension, 15 September 1890, Charles G. Schwenk/Swank (Pvt. Co. A and 1st Sgt. Co. C, 82nd Pennsylvania Inf., Civil War), pension application no. 694362, certificate no. 454879, 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.

[4] “United States, World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, ( : accessed 10 January 2018), card for Christ Linneman, serial no. 2883, no. 163, Local Draft Board No. 8, Monessen, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, NARA microfilm publication M1509; imaged from Family History Library roll 1927074.

[5] Anna Babay petition for naturalization (1940), naturalization file no. 26784, Middle District of Pennsylvania; Records of the District Courts of the United States; Record Group 21; National Archives-Mid Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

[6] “Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994,” digital images, FamilySearch  ( : 4 January 2018), Allegheny County, Wills 1808-1830, vol. 2, page 289, no. 221, Sarah Cubbage (1822).


Happy Birthday and Happy New Year!

Happy Birthday Pop-Pop! 


I love this picture of my grandfather, Art Cubbage, taken on New Year’s Eve 1959. This was probably taken at a neighbor’s house in New Providence, NJ. Art’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Linneman Speck Merz is on the far left and I believe the other two women lived on the same street. My grandfather was born on December 31, 1912 in Swissvale, PA. Since his birthday was on New Year’s Eve, he always had a party!

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! May you find exciting new discoveries as you climb your family tree!


Fearless Females Friday – Girlfriends!

A good friend is a connection to life – a tie to the past, a road to the future, the key to sanity in a totally insane world. ~Lois Wyse

I am fascinated by the stories of our women ancestors, and those Fearless Females in our family trees. We think of them as mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunties … and also girlfriends.

As November comes to an end, and after the last week’s day of Thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking of how grateful I am for my girlfriends. Through every season these women have shared insight, laughs, feedback and love.

I wonder if my ancestor’s girlfriends were just as important to them? They had sisters, neighbors and friends. And it certainly “takes a village to raise a child.” In very different ways than it does for me.

These women took care of their families, lost children and husbands to death and illness, had sons (and husbands) go off to war, moved across the state (or the world). I would imagine that they absolutely needed that network, and that women’s friendships were just as important to my ancestors as they are for me today.

I have always wished for a journal or diary of one of my ancestors. One that might tell me about their lives. But alas, I do not. Still, I can guess a little about their girlfriends from these pictures.

My great-grandmother, Elizabeth Linneman Speck, circa 1920. She is flanked by two friends and they appear to be dressed up for something. At the top her daughter wrote “cowgirls? or cowboys!”
Barbara Elizabeth
My 2nd great-grandmother Barbara Elizabeth Linneman. She looks so serious, but had been through a lot (I’ll post on her later); her friends had to have been important. She’s with “Mrs. Paul” a neighbor in Monessen in the 1920s.
My grandmother, Agnes Speck mugging for the camera with girlfriends, circa 1937.
My grandmother, Elise Gegenheimer Haberkern, having fun with a friend in 1961.
Irene, Agnes, Virginia August 1955
Agnes Speck Cubbage with neighbors Irene and Virginia in New Providence, 1955.
Neptune Cottage
Elizabeth Linneman Speck, with her daughter Agnes and fiends. The back of the photo has “Neptune Cottage 1939” written on it.

Treasure your girlfriends and the power of women’s friendships.

Black Sheep Sunday – Arrest by Prohibition Agents

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of Prohibition. One hundred years ago, just a week after Armistice Day and the end of World War I, the US Congress passed the temporary Wartime Prohibition Act. This banned the sale of alcoholic beverages containing greater than 1.28% alcohol, and was intended to save grain for the war effort. This was followed by the Eighteenth Amendment, which was ratified in January 1919, and the country went dry in January of 1920.[1]

The result was a large underground network of illegal drinking clubs: speakeasies. I have wondered how my ancestors may have been affected by Prohibition. I found out with a newspaper search looking for my Linneman family.

Christian “Christ” Linneman was my great-grandmother’s oldest brother. He never married and lived much of his life with his mother or siblings in Monessen, a steel town south of Pittsburgh. I recently wrote about his father’s suicide here. My father remembers Christ as being quiet and and reading his Bible.

Christian &  Elizabeth Linneman
Christian Linneman with his sister Elizabeth, my great-grandmother.

Christ worked consistently as a bartender in Monessen – at a hotel, the VFW club, or the Turner Hall, a German social club. He served in World War I from 1918-1919, and in 1920 both Christ and his mother were “stewards” at the Turner Hall.[2]

The Daily republican. monongahela.12nov1928

So it’s not surprising to find an article that mentions Christ in The Daily Republican in neighboring  Monongahela, Pennsylvania.[3]

“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.”

A similar article about the arrests ran in The Monessen Daily Independent, but Christ’s name was not mentioned.[4] There were no newspaper articles after the November 20 hearing date. A Pittsburgh newspaper from May of 1929 reported “10 Sent to Jail in Liquor Cases:”[5]

“ … Christ Linneman, East Monongahela, three months in Westmoreland county jail … ”

I need to check federal and county records for more information about Christ’s case. A year later, Christ is found working as a laborer at the steel mill.[6] This was the first and only time I found him working as anything but a bartender or steward. After 1930, and after the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment in 1933, Christ continued to work as a bartender.

I’m not sure that Christ was so much of a Black Sheep – just doing his job during a difficult time. I found no other articles about his involvement in other incidents. There were other raids on speakeasies in Monessen, but Christ’s name was not mentioned. I guess it was hard to be a bartender during Prohibition!

Have you found any bartenders in your family? How did Prohibition impact your ancestors?


[1] Wikipedia (, “Prohibition in the United States,” rev. 14 November 2018.

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

[3] “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).

[4]  “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).

[5] “10 Sent to Jail in Liquor Cases,” The Pittsburgh Press, 18 May 1929, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, ( : accessed 15 November 2018).

[6] 1930 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Monessen, Enumeration District (ED) 65-93, sheet 16-A, p. 52 (stamped), dwelling 279, family 346, Elizabeth Linneman household; digital image, ( : accessed 15 November 2018), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626.