Saturday, July 28, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30

The writing prompt this week is Colorful. I feel like I have already written about the most colorful people in my family. I don’t know of any who were artistic, and can’t think of any who had a color as their name or a place of residence. So I looked in my genealogy program for someone with a colorful last name. My inner 12 year old always snickers when I see the name Cocke in the tree.

First I have to add the disclaimer that this name is only in the tree if I can find the link between Thompson Hightower and his potential father, George Hightower, Jr. George’s  wife was Frances Ann Hall, whose great-grandmother was Anne Cocke. Anne was born in 1686 in Petersburg, Dinwiddie, Virginia to Richard Cocke and Elizabeth (Littlebury) Cocke. Yes, someone actually named their son Richard Cocke. His father was also named Richard Cocke, so perhaps he wanted someone else to feel his pain.

The senior Richard was born on 13 December 1597 in Stottesdon, Shropshire, England.  Stottesdon is located about 141 miles northwest of London. He arrived in Virginia around 1633, and patented 3,000 acres of land on 6 March 1636. It was located on the James River in Henrico County, Virginia, and he called it Bremo. The location is about 12 miles east of what is now Richmond. Richard served as a member of the House of Burgesses, and was a Lieutenant-Colonel of the County of Henrico. He was later Sheriff of Henrico County. By his death in1665, he had land grants totaling around 10,000 acres.

potential Cocke cousins
When I was in Richmond several years ago, I visited Bremo and adjacent Malvern Hill, which was owned by Richard’s son Thomas. At a National Parks Service Museum located nearby, I was speaking to an employee and explaining why I was there. As it turns out, he is a Cocke descendant as well. Are we cousins? That is yet to be determined, but he did say that I look very much like his sister.

So what is the origination of the surname Cocke? There are several theories. One is that it is literally a nickname from the bird - the cock - which was then given to a young lad who strutted about proudly like a cock. Another is that it was applied to a natural leader, an early riser, or a lusty or aggressive individual. Whatever its meaning, you have to admit that it is a colorful name that leads to sudden interest in genealogy when brought up at family reunions.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29

With the writing prompt being music, I have to write about my dad, LeRoy Kubler. Music was an important part of his life. He came from a musical family, in that his father Joseph Kubler owned a bar when my dad was in his late teens or so. My father told me that he and my grandfather both played musical instruments in a band at the bar.

My father’s real love was singing though. Often he and my mom, Catherine, would sing around the house together, or while we were driving in the car. He had a wonderful voice, and his whistle was nothing short of a musical instrument itself.

After he retired in 1984, he and my mom moved from Des Moines, Iowa back to Cincinnati, Ohio where they had both been born and raised. After settling in Delhi Township, they immediately heard about the Delhi Seniors organization, which met nearby at the Delhi Township Community and Senior Center.

Dad directing the chorale group
December 1988
Dad soon formed the Delhi Senior Chorale group, of which my mother was one of the first members. He arranged all the music for their numerous performances, and was the musical director. He also began to write songs for the group to perform, composing both the music and the lyrics. He file the songs with the U.S. Copyright office to protect his work. Copies of his music are in my files, and are a great treasure to me.

Mom in the chorale group
December 1988
Being able to attend a couple of his concerts was a thrill for me, and I’m grateful for the photographs and videos I have of those performances. The fact that 8 members of that chorale group dressed in their concert attire to escort my mom’s casket into the church when she died in 1989 is a moment I’ll never forget. They sang “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” as they entered, and there were no dry eyes in the church after that.

While I wish I had a thimbleful of my dad’s musical talent, I do believe that being raised in a musical household has played a big part in the fact that I have a great appreciation for many different kinds of music and for the artists who create them.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 28

Elsie Metz 1902
The writing prompt for this week is Travel. While most of my ancestors traveled great distances to emigrate to the United States, and many more migrated across this country after they arrived, I have found no one in the family who traveled as extensively as my 2nd cousin, twice removed, Elsie Lauretta Metz. I wrote about Elsie, who was born in Cincinnati in 1880, and the wild weather she experienced while on a ship in 1912 earlier this year when the writing prompt was Storms. You can find that post here. I also had written about her family and attendance at the University of Cincinnati back in 2013, and the link for that post is here.

in December of 1911, Elsie applied for a passport at the age of 30 in preparation for some travel she was planning to do the next year. While I knew a lot about her 1912 trip due to a journal that was returned to our family, I had no idea of the extensiveness of her adventures until I was preparing for this post. Through a list tucked into her journal and also searches on I was able to find the following travel and passenger information about Elsie. I suspect that the list is missing some entries as well.

1889 traveled to Rome, Italy, according to her journal.

1893 traveled to the Chicago World’s Fair, according to her journal.

1899 and 1905 traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, according to her journal.

1906 traveled to Quebec and Saguenay, Canada, according to her journal.

1907 traveled to Europe, according to her journal.

1908 traveled to Cairo, according to her journal.

27 August 1909 sailed on the SS Kaiserin Augusta Victoria from Cherbourg, France to New York, New York, arriving on 3 September 1909. She spent the summer touring Europe with friends.

1910 and 1911 traveled to the Adirondacks in New York, according to her journal.

9 May 1912 sailed on the SS Cincinnati from Hamburg, Germany to New York, New York, arriving on 20 May 1912. (Her diary indicates that she left on the trip 30 January, 1912, so this ship’s list is only from the last leg of her journey.)

7 July 1914 sailed to Europe for extensive trip.

5 August 1914 applied for an emergency passport at the American Embassy in Berlin to immediately return to the U.S due to the outbreak of WWI.

22 August 1914 sailed on the SS St. Paul from Liverpool, England, arriving in New York, New York on 30 August 1914.

3 October 1914 sailed on the SS Lusitania from Liverpool, England, arriving in New York, New York on 8 October 1914. (This trip is puzzling to me - in light of the war, why would she have gone back to Europe that fall?)

1916 traveled to Lake Placid, New York, according to her journal.

1918 traveled to Chillicothe (Illinois? Missouri?), according to her journal.

1920 traveled to Luddington (England? Michigan?), according to her journal.

8 March 1921 sailed on the SS Fort Victoria from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, New York, arriving on 10 March 1921.

1922 traveled to Ogunquit, Maine, according to her journal.

5 March 1923 sailed on the SS Fort Hamilton from Hamilton, Bermuda to New York, New York, arriving on 7 March 1923.

1923 traveled to Colorado, according to her journal.

1924 traveled to Alaska, according to her journal.

26 August 1925 sailed on the SS Paris from Plymouth, England to New York, New York.

1926 traveled to Ocean City, New Jersey, according to her journal.

27 August 1927 sailed on the SS Paris from Plymouth, England to New York, New York, arriving on 1 September 1925.

29 July 1930 sailed on the SS St. Louis from New York, New York to Cherbourg, France.

2 October 1930 sailed on the SS Milwaukee from Boulogne, France to New York, New York, arriving on 11 October 1930.

22 March 1932 sailed on the SS Florida from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida, arriving on 22 March 1932.

15 August 1938 traveled the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City, New Jersey with a friend.

1939 traveled to New York City for the World’s Fair.

16 March 1949 sailed on the SS Lurline from Los Angeles, California to Honolulu, Hawaii, arriving on 21 March 1949. On 10 April 1949 flew on United Airlines from Honolulu, Hawaii to San Francisco, California.

30 March 1952 flew Trans World Airlines from New York, New York to Lisbon, Portugal. On 30 April 1952 flew on Trans World Airlines from Madrid, Spain to New York, New York.

27 March 1953, travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and received a temporary immigration card there.

25 September 1954 flew on Royal Dutch Airlines from Amsterdam, Netherlands to New York, New York.

5 July 1955 flew on British Airways from New York to London, England, where she spent a month touring Scotland with a friend. From there they went to London to meet up with some friends before touring Ireland. She returned 19 August 1955 on British Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

17 June 1956 flew on Scandinavian Airlines from New York, New York to Stockholm, Sweden.

29 July 1956 flew on Pan American Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

31 March 1957 sailed on the SS Homeric from Havana, Cuba, arriving in New York, New York on 2 April 1957.

27 April 1958 flew from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

8 September 1958 flew on British Airways from London, England to New York, New York.

July 1959 flew Pan American Airlines from Nassau, Bahamas to New York, New York.

29 August 1960 flew on American Airlines from place unknown to San Antonio, Texas.

8 October 1959 flew on SR Airline from place unknown to New York, New York.

13 June 1962 sailed on SS Italia from Nassau, Bahamas to New York, New York, arriving on 16 June 1962.

one of Elsie's travel talks
Elsie never married, so much of the time she had traveling companions with her. In the early years it was her mother and her unmarried brother, though the extended trip she took in 1912 was done in the company of family friends. She was a woman of many interests, with both bachelor and masters degrees from the University of Cincinnati. She was extremely active in the Cincinnati social scene, and was a patron of the arts as well as an amateur actor and director of community plays. She frequently appeared in the Society Page of The Enquirer, Cincinnati’s daily newspaper, and on several occasions gave presentations about her travels. With at least 40 trips spanning 73 years, she certainly would have had a lot to talk about!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 27

Since we celebrated the 4th of July this week, the writing prompt was Independence. My mind immediately went to 1776. To date I have identified one relative who served in the American Revolution. My 6 times great-grandfather Jacob Christopher Kern was born in 1742 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest child of Johann Georg Kern and Catharine Elisabeth (Fraudhueger) Kern, who were married in Niedersteinbach in 1723. Niedersteinbach is in Northeastern France near the border of Germany.

About 1770, Jacob married Catherine Elizabeth Utt in Northampton, a Pennsylvania county that was carved off of Bucks County in 1752. Jacob and Elizabeth went on to have 8 children, two of whom were born prior to the Revolutionary War.

As Bucks County was very near Philadelphia, Jacob would have been at ground zero when the first and second Continental Congresses took place in 1774 and 1775. The second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army by resolution on 14 June 1775 to coordinate the military efforts of the thirteen colonies in their revolt against Great Britain. It is no wonder that he ended up serving in the war.

Jacob was commissioned by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Spyker, who commanded the 2nd & 6th Philadelphia battalions. Jacob was a 2nd Lieutenant under Captain Phillip Hetrick’s company from Berks County in 1776. He then served as a 1st Lieutenant in Captain Henry Shepler’s company, also in Berks County. As 1st Lieutenant, his job duties may have included teaching the soldiers discipline, order and fearlessness. As most men had no military experience prior to enlisting, he would have taught them military formations and how to be soldiers. In the event of the captain’s death, Jacob would have stepped in to take over the company. The last information I could find on Jacob indicated that he was a Corporal under Captain Philip Hahn in the New Hanover township company as of December, 1778.

It is written in military articles that Corporals were not often with their regiments as they were off performing other duties, which perhaps explains how Jacob and his wife had a daughter who was born in December of 1778. Five more children followed, the last of whom was born in Pennsylvania in 1792.  By 1793, the family had moved to Hamilton County, Ohio. Jacob died shortly after the move, leaving Catherine on her own with the eight children.