The CUB Report – 2009

November, 2009
Dear Cubbies,
Issue Number 9 features:

Second Anniversary of the McCubbin DNA Project
The McCubbins Centuries on the Sea
Proximity to Ireland and its Influence on SW Scotland – Galloway
Over the Sea to America
Eighty (and more) Days to Australia by Sea
Son of the Storm by Rob McCubbin
Remembering Early McCubbins of the Sea
The Sea Affected Whole Families
The Sea Helped Ambitious Men Become Wealthy
A Master Boat Building & Seaman Dynasty of Annan, Dumfriesshire
The Short-lived Seafaring Days of David Peacock McCubbin
Generations of A Family involved in the Shipping Lines
A Tragedy at Sea – James Alexander McCubbin & the Lusitania
George McCubbing and the Battle of the Atlantic
Admiral John D McCubbin – An American of the Sea
McCubbin Catholic Births
Deanside of Fayette, Kentucky; a McCubbing Descendant Reunion
Chart Change to #68 & #A09

Second Anniversary of the McCubbin DNA Project

by Lorna McCubbin, Project Administrator
There are now 32 members in the McCubbin DNA Project. There are four distinct DNA groups that have evolved. For easier identification each group has a number and name. Name indicates the earliest known ancestor within a test group. The latter part indicates ancestral roots yet to be proven in our research.

Group 1. Keir, Dumfriesshire – 1745. Alexander the Martyr & King Niall of Ireland
Group 2. Maryland, USA – c1620, John the Colonist. The Lords of Knockdolian and Tradunnock, c 1400’s in Ayrshire
Group 3. Galloway, South West Scotland – 1735. The Dal Riata, Ireland
Group 4. Penpont, Dumfriesshire – c1760. The Master Masons

Since our last CUB report, 9 results have been returned from the Family Tree DNA lab at the University of Texas. Three of those males ‘belong’ to the Keir group, three to the Galloway group and three to John the Colonist. One found ‘no match’. It is notable that the name ‘McBean’ shows up in John Colonist group. It appears that a shortened version of ‘McCubbin’ evolved in America.
In the past year the following families have been added to the above groups:

Group 1
#06 Daniel McCubbin & Margaret McGhie (married before 1769) of Ayrshire
#04 James McCubbin (b. 1770-80) & Isabella Stoddard of Dumfriesshire
#69 Harold McCubbin b. 1912 (living) of Jamaica. Ancestor John and/or Andrew of Scotland
Group 2
#14 James McCubbin (b about 1760) & Elizabeth Bowman, Maybole, Ayr
Group 3
#42 William McCubbin (b about 1750) & Jane Stewart, Kirkcolm, Wigtownshire
#55 Shaw McCubbin (b about 1785) & Sarah Chapman, County Down, Ireland
#68 Alexander Charles (m 1765) & Jean Smith, Ayr, Ayshire
#54 James McCubbin (b about 1780) & Isabella McClelland, Mochrum, Wig

Want to join? The project requires McCubbin males to purchase a test kit (a swab to rub inside the cheek) and mail it back to the lab. You can go toFamily Tree DNA to read more, read our past two CUB reports (2007, 2008), and/ or contact us at
There is a special sale price on now until Dec 31, 2009. Orders for the following tests need to be placed and paid for by December 31, 2009.

Y-DNA37 promotional price $119 (reg. price $149)
Y-DNA67 promotional price $209 (reg. price $239)
mtDNAPlus promotional price $139 (reg. price $149)
SuperDNA promotional price $488 (reg. price $665)

We are looking for male McCubbin candidates who are descendants of the following ancestors. Earliest known ancestor is listed first, then geographic areas where descendants settled.
Peter McCubbin & Janet Campbell (married 1801) – Wigtown to Glasgow, to Australia
James McCubbin & Janet McIntyre (m. 1802) – Wigtown to Lancashire to Australia
Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Jackson (m. 1808) – Wigtown to Australia
Edward McCubbin & Sophia (m. 1829) – Dumfriesshire to Buckinghamshire & Linslade
There are funds available to help pay the cost for qualified individuals of these groups. To find out if you belong to one of these groups, email us at

We will be forever grateful to native Scots who submit their DNAs. You can be as anonymous as you want to be. But know this: when 90 yr old Alan McCubbin of Scotland, submitted his DNA, and the test results returned, I could almost hear the shout of joy when a match was made with a McCubbin of America, who was able, virtually, to set his foot on Scottish soil. If this inspires you contact us at We may have a kit set aside for you.

The McCubbins, Centuries on the Sea

Scotland is a country that has more than 10,000 miles of coastline and it’s only natural that our McCubbins had an ancient and deep-rooted connection to the sea. They were fishermen, sailors, master mariners, ship builders, captains and pursers, travelers to new lands and merchants who made their fortunes via the sea. Some were born at sea, fought at sea, drowned at sea, died with fevers and dysentry on board ship and buried at sea.

Proximity to Ireland and Its Influence on SW Scotland – Galloway

The proximity of Ireland to Scotland by sea, a mere 12 miles in places, played a large part in co-mingling McCubbin Irish and Scottish genes. In Oer the Sheugh (meaning ‘Over the Ditch, metaphorically, the Irish Sea) by Charles Kelly* who relates ” The earliest recorded migrations were those of the Dal Riata, who lived in the glens of north County Antrim. The Dal Riata are better known by the name of Scots which was derived from the Latin Scotti meaning sea-pirates. Roman historians referred to the Scots making forays into Argyllshire (Eregyll the land of the Gael!) from as early as the 3rd century. While it is normally believed that the Gaelic language was restricted to the north and west of Scotland what is not generally known is that the language was also native to south west Scotland particularly to Galloway. The presence of the Gaelic language together with archaeological evidence indicates the colonisation of Galloway by Irish migrants, the Gall Ghaidhill (foreign gael) after whom Galloway is named. The Irish influx is believed to have occurred during the 7th and 8th centuries.

Gaelic place names abound in Galloway, examples include Ballantrae (the town on the beach); Cairn Ryan (the Kings Hill) and Drummore (the Big Ridge). There is evidence of Gaelic speaking people even as far north as Kyle in Ayrshire.
The prevalence of Gaelic surnames in Galloway also attest to its having been a Gaelic speaking area, examples including MacCulloch, MacDowell, McKibben, McMaster and McKee (names which are also common in County Down).”

The Mull of Galloway, the southermost tip of Scotland, looking off to the Isle of Man and over to Ireland.

Family folklore among some of the Galloway McCubbins, says ‘they came from Ireland way back”. It’s possible the numerous McKibben names recorded in the early parish registers of Stoneykirk and Kirkmaiden may be as a result of the early invasions from Ireland. Those McKibben names changed to the existing McCubbin in the early 1700s and we now find living descendents of those McKibbens/McCubbins in family groups, who have matching DNA, i.e. John McKibbon/McCubbin & Mgt Gibson, Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Weir.

During the years 379 to 405, on the other side of the ‘Sheugh’ lived the warlord named Niall of the Nine Hostages who was the High King at Tara. A powerful and prolific king, as many as 3 million men worldwide might be directly descended from this single Irish warlord. Using international DNA databases, the signature Y chromosome was found in men in Scotland. Thus we find McCubbin males, Billy and Leslie of the Keir McCubbins, whose recent DNA tests show this chromosome. Not surprisingly, the signature Y chromosome has also spread around the world to a McCubbin in Australia (who matches with Billy and Leslie).

In later centuries, traveling once again by sea the reverse way, Scottish lowlanders seeking grazing land settled in Ulster, a practice fostered by the competing Irish warlords, who often preferred Scottish settlers on their land rather than rival Irishmen. After the Reformation, most Scots were Protestants, so the English, also mostly Protestant, encouraged ever more of them to settle in Ireland, hoping that this would help bring the country firmly under English control. To attract them, landowners granted longer leases than those offered in Scotland, thus encouraging them to lease the land. Many found they could do well growing flax and making linen.
So we find Shaw McKibben/McCubbin, born 1785, wife Sarah Chapman in County Down, in 1807 leasing a 3 acre farm from the Marchioness of Downshire. His son William, later migrated to Girvan, Ayrshire and now, also through DNA, we find Shaw’s family groups spread through Scotland and the rest of the world.

About 1630, after the crops failed on leased land in Balgreggan, Stoneykirk, the following family packed up and sailed over to Ireland. This is a fictional account by John Kelly* which would coincide with McCubbins who would be on the move:
“My father said we had no option but to leave Balgreggan but where could we go? One of the cottars, McClellan told my father that the tinkers often spoke of land and money to be had ower the sheugh in Ulster for anyone with a good back and willing hands. The decision was made, we would sell our Oxen, Ewes and Goats and take the boat fae Portpatrick tae Donaghadee.
My fathers cousin John Kelly of Wigtown had made the same trip many years before us. My father told us that his cousin had gone across with Montgomery of Braidstane in Ayrshire around the year sixteen hundred and six. John Kelly had been given life rent of 20 acres of good land in the Parish of New Town Ards. The Lady Montgomery had seen to it that my fathers cousin also had grazing rights for his stock, fodder for the winter a house and a garden plot. With a favourable wind and following a short but rough passage of some three hours we landed in the port of Donaghadee on the shores of County Down. This was no strange land as the tinkers had rightly told us, the Scots tongue was as broad there as in Wigtownshire. The names of the town folk were also well kent tae us, Campbell, Gibson, Dixon, McKee, Kennedy, Johnston, McCubbin, McCulloch and of course Kelly were all present. I began to wonder if our ship had not been blown back onto the shores of Galloway!” *Excerpted from a talk given by Charles Kelly, Associate Member from Scotland, at the Annual Meeting ot the North of Ireland Family HIstory Society, May, 2000

The McCubbins of Tradonnuck & Knockdolian

A well known family of early Ayrshire, the McCubbins of Tradonnuck and Knockdolian, traveled the sea between Ireland and Scotland. This McCubbin family also were established in Ireland and in 1690, John McCubine, brother of Fergus McCubbin of Knockdolian, was living in Belhomie, Antrim, Ireland when he died, leaving a will and testament to his brother Fergus.

Over the Sea to America

In mid 1600’s John (aka John the Colonist) of the above family, landed in America – as some records show – an indentured servant. This would have been during the Covenanting times. He settled in Maryland and became a free man, establishing a large plantation. Hundreds of his descendants today live throughout the USA. Seven living individuals who have had their DNA results are thought to be his descendants. Two reside in Maryland, one in Kentucky, one in England, one in Scotland, one in Canada and one in New Zealand.

Eighty and More Days By Sea to Australia

Another century and McCubbins were moving across another sea to Australia.
Probably lured by opportunity and land, a McCubbin from Keir (James, 1810-1888) was one of the early pioneers, arriving in Australia in the 1830s and followed some 15 years later by two nephews (both called John, 1833-1877 and 1835-1888) just before the Gold Rush of 1851.
The gold rush of 1851 lured more. Immigrant ships brought thousands of people keen to try their luck at the diggings. The sailing time from England was reduced to 80 days and the newcomers, like the migrants before them, endured appalling conditions under unscrupulous shipowners.

Son of the Storm

by Rob McCubbin
Rob McCubbin, author of several historical novels about the McCubbins, gives his account in Son of the Storm of a young family who have left their home in Dumfries for Australia. Here’s what Rob writes about how it may have been on board shortly after they began their journey.

“Sails billowed above him and cracked in the wind as the helmsman brought the ship around for the run south-west. Waves creamed past the hull as her port side dipped lower in the water, making her deck into a sloping ramp. Below decks, in the pervading gloom, the steerage passengers grabbed for their belongings to save them from sliding off where they had been stored. Previously level shelves and tops of boxes were transformed into angled surfaces not designed to cradle objects, and those which couldn’t be grabbed in time, wound up on the floor, smashed or dented. A bottle of rum shattered after falling off a top bunk, the smell quickly permeating the lower deck space. Its owner wailed his disappointment. Broken glass lay on the deck, waiting for an unwary foot. Everyone hung on. This was their first taste of a ship at sea.

The vessel corkscrewed its way through the waves, the motion transmitting itself through the beams and thwarts to the passengers trapped inside. The timbers groaned and squealed as their edges rubbed against each other. To the landlubbers, these noises were the sounds of impending doom. Most of them had been uprooted from small villages and had never even seen the ocean before. Being trapped inside this rolling hull was a living Hell. Many of them blanched and became ill as their stomaches revolted at the unusual pitching. The smell of new vomit mixed with the rum and the ever-present reek of tar. Bare feet slapped over the deck above as the sailors set up the topgallants to gain more speed as the living cargo moaned.
“Holy Mary, Mother of God!” Swait Jaisus, we’ll all be killed!”
“Mam, what’s happenin’?”
“She must be sinkin’. I’m gettin’ out,” preceded a mad rush for the steps by those nearest the hatchway.
Heads broke over the hatch coaming, eyes darting wildly about expecting to see the ship foundering and all the sailors jumping overboard. Instead, swabbies manned the halyards, their eyes either on the sails or on their midshipman, awaiting their next orders. The seas rushed by the port side, the lees almost awash as she raced before the wind. Captain Thwaites paced along the upper deck, his eyes on topgallants and royals, checking they were filling correctly and the shrouds were bearing evenly. Seeing the panic in their faces, the Bosun ambled over and reassured them.
“Sinkin’, my God no. Were just runnin before the wind. Captain’s makin’ good time. Now you lot get back below afore the Mate sees ye, or there’ll be all Hell to pay.”
If you would like to read more of Rob’s adventurous McCubbins, he has offered to email interested individuals, further excerpts from his series. Contact Rob

Remembering some McCubbins whose livelihoods depended on the sea, who were seafarers, or lost their lives at sea or were born at sea

David McCubbin, a Covenanter, drowned at sea while being transported on the slave ship, Crown of London in 1679
John and Jane, twins, born at sea, 1861, to Alexander McCubbin and Margaret Currie, enroute to Australia.
William, born 1844, Girvan, married to Sarah Peacock. A Fisherman.
Andrew, b 1837, Leswalt, m to Mary McBrearty. A Master Seaman.
John, b 1848, Maybole, m to Eliz McGregor. A Ship Painter in Glasgow.
John b 1849, Mochrum, m to Grace McLelland. A Fisherman at Isle of Whithorn.
Thomas, b 1844, Partick, Lanarkshire, m to Mgt Wells. A Fisherman and Master Mariner at Dunoon, Argyle.
James McCubbing, b1858, Ireland, m to Elizabeth McNee. A Marine Fireman, Liverpool

The sea affected whole families

David, b 1751, Stranraer, m Catherine McKeand. A Seaman Royal Navy.
David, his grandson, b 1806, Glasserton, drowned in the Atlantic, age 23.
John, his grandson, b 1816, Glasserton, drowned near Isle of Man, age 39.

The sea helped ambitious men become wealthy

Hugh McCubbin, born 1833, Girvan, married to Elisabeth Steven, was a South African and West Indian Merchant. He resided in West Derby, Lancashire. Hugh erected this fountain in his home town of Girvan. (Photos by Pamela Strain)

A Master Ship/Boat Building & Seaman Dynasty of Annan, Dumfriesshire

James McCubbin, b 1796, married to Jane Nelson, A Ship Carpenter.
James McCubbin, son, b 1817, Caerlaverock, m Frances Brown. A Ship Carpenter.
Robert McCubbin b 1821, son of James McC & Jane Nelson, m to Janet Carlyle. A Master Boat Builder.
James McCubbin, b 1854, born Annan, son of Robert McC & Janet Carlyle, m Elizabeth Ann Clarke. A Boat Builder and Fishmonger.
Robert McCubbin, b 1881, Annan. Son of Robert McC & Elizabeth Clarke. A Boat Builder. His obituary in North Bay, Ontario, Canada: “He was a pioneer boat builder widely known and liked by North Bay boating enthusiasts”.
Jonathan Nelson McCubbin, b 1829 Annan, m. Elizabeth. A Ship Carpenter in Liverpool.
Benjamin, son of James McC and Jane Nelson, b 1834, Annan, m to Jane Laidlaw. A Ship Carpenter and Seaman.
Benjamin, b 1854, Annan, m Elizabeth Welsh. A Fisherman.
Benjamin, b 1876, Annan, son of Benjamin McC & Eliz Welsh. A Fisherman. Drowned in the Solway, age 19.

The Short-lived Seafaring Days of David Peacock McCubbin

by Lynne McCubbin

HMS Impregnable

David, the eldest child of William McCubbin and Sarah Peacock, was born in 1874, Girvan. Sadly, in 1881 Sarah died leaving William to raise three young boys. As a merchant seaman he must have found it hard and the following year William married local widow Helen McChesney. Perhaps it is his fathers occupation that encouraged David to join the Royal Navy as by the tender age of 15 in 1890 he had enlisted. He joined HMS Impregnable, a training ship in Devonport, England, where his first rating was a B2C, which I believe is Boy 2nd Class. His naval record describes David as 5 2 tall, with light brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. Two years later he has grown 4 and has a burn mark on his right hand.


David appears to have remained on training ships over the next couple of years his conduct is always described as good or very good. On 26th September 1892, his 18th birthday, he signs up for twelve years, is promoted from Boy 1st Class to Ordinary Seaman and posted to HMS Cleopatra. At this point it would appear David was happy with his chosen career and was moving steadily forward, so what went wrong only a few months later?

On the 1st February 1893 David run while moored in Barbados and was never caught. It is likely this was his first major voyage and that life as a sailor wasnt all he initially thought it would be. Regardless, his conduct was still vg right up until 31st December 1892. Was it a spur of the moment decision? Did finding his land legs in Barbados make him realise the high seas werent for him? Did he meet a young lady while on shore leave? How did he get from the Caribbean to Australia where I discovered him as David Stewart? All questions that are likely to remain unanswered but Im sure he had some great adventures along the way! (David was ‘The Absconder’ that got me started on my family history saga.)

Generations of A Family Involved in the Shipping Lines

All below are the family descendants of Alexander McCubbin & Jean McIlwraith of Ballantrae, Ayr, (including James Alexander McCubbin who went down with the Lusitania).
David, b 1819, Ballantrae, m Anne Thomson. Master Mariner. Superintendent Chief Steward on the Cunard Line, 40 years. Liverpool.
Alexander, b 1841, son of David, Dumbarton, a Mariner, then Hotel Proprietor in Bootle, Liverpool, m Mary Hough
His son, David, b 1874, West Derby, Liverpool, an employee with G&J Burns, the Glasgow line of Steamers.
His son, Alexander, b 1879, Bootle, Lancs, and employed in the office of the Cunard Company
Alexander, b 1873, Liverpool, Lancs, son of James McCubbin & Anne Reynolds. *”Alex was lost at sea, the ship he sailed in, never being heard of since leaving Liverpool, 8 or 9 years ago.”
David b 1850, Liverpool, son of David McCubbin & Anne Thomson, *”I was rather surprised to learn that my little brother David, had adopted the life of a sailor and had been bound apprentice to Mr Donald, Now Sir Donald Currie, a former manager of my father’s firm D&C MacIvor, and had sailed on his first voyage on board the “Tantallan Castle” for Calcutta, from which, poor little fellow, he never returned.” He was buried in the Bay of Bengal after suffering from Dysentry.
Clement Wilson McCubbin m Mary Gross. b 1835, Loveston, Aryshire. employed as Chief Steward aboard SS Corsica trading beween Havana & NY city. Died 1867, at Sea of Yellow Fever.
*From a 42 page letter written by David’s son Alexander, 1896, to his Aunt Sarah Potts in NZ. From this letter most of the history of this entire generation is sourced and researched. (Penny McColm)

A Tragedy at Sea

James Alexander McCubbin Chief Purser Photographed aboard the Lusitania

by Penny McColm

(My grandfather, Frederick McCubbin, the artist, was the brother of the James Alexander McCubbin)
James Alexander, born 1852, in Parish of St Peters, Liverpool, son of Alexander and Ann McWilliams, married his cousin, Annie McCubbin, dau. of Peter and Susan Hill McCubbin. James died at sea on the Lusitania, 1915. The ship was sunk by a German U boat during the 1st World War off the coast of Southern Ireland. At the time of his marriage to Annie, at the age of 24, his occupation was as a Purser’s Assistant, employed by Cunard Shipping Line.
They both lived at the family home of uncle David and aunt Anne in 30 Lower Mersey, View Street, Bootle, West Derby, Lancashire.

From all accounts James Alexander was quite a lad!

I have found several documented accounts of his career as an employee of the Cunard Shipping line. In 1881 he appears on the Liverpool census as a Corn Factor Director, aged 28 married and living at 79 Sutton St, West Derby, Lancashire, with his wife Annie. This is a very strange occupation for Jim, when in 1876 he is a trainee purser with Cunard and for the rest of his life he was employed by Cunard and based in Liverpool.

The duties of the ships senior purser were of great responsibility. He was, “to take and store the valuables of the passengers in his office which was situated near the main first class staircase.” Standing behind decorative metalwork grilles resembling the cashiers’ cages of fashionable shops, of the time, his staff would carefully issue receipts for valuables from wealthy passengers.

Concerts were organised where passengers and staff performed for the entertainment of everyone on board. Purser McCubbin was a famed & accomplished flautist, but on the occasion of one of these concerts he was somewhat miffed and refused to play. During a voyage on the “Saxonia, (another Cunard liner) some wag had put flour inside his instrument prior to a concert. At the first note both he and the imposing Bostonian matron accompanying him were enveloped in a white cloud. After that he had refused to perform in public again.”

After the death of his wife Annie and infant child , James furthered his career with Cunard and devoted some time to local charities in Liverpool. When not at sea, he lived with the family at Lower Mersey View.

James arrived in Melbourne aged 42 years in Dec 1893 on the ‘Orotava’.
He spent some time with the family in Melbourne and then continued on to New Zealand to visit his sisters and their families that were then living there, prior to returning to Liverpool.
He had relatives living in London on his mother’s side – the MackWilliams family, and he was close to his sister in law/cousin Lizzie McCubbin Christian and her family. This appears to have prompted him to purchase the Golders Green property where he planned to retire to be near his cousin and her family, but his untimely death over came his retirement plans in 1915.

The ‘Lusitania’ departed on the 1st May 1915 from New York. James was employed as chief purser on the luxury liner. It was sunk by a German U Boat torpedo on the 7th May 1915 off the Irish coast. And James died in this disaster, as did many other people.

His body was recovered in the following days and he was buried in the cemetery in Toxteth Park Liverpool.

Excerpts from Diana Preston’s book “Willful Murder” – The sinking of the Lusitania, published by Doubleday, UK, 2002, retell eyewitness accounts of Purser McCubbin, his wonderful sense of humor surviving to this day:

“As the Lusitania listed into the sea and there was considerable panic on board, Mr. James Leary was endeavoring to return to his cabin when he met Purser McCubbin, who had locked all Leary’s money in the ships safe. Leary asked “How about my valuables?” The purser replied “Young Man, if we get to port you will get them, and if we sink you won’t need them.” (p.213)

“As the chaos continued and the ship sank further into the sea, “Purser James McCubbin, accompanied by the ships doctor, was (seen) “walking up and down the Promenade deck smoking a cigarette” When asked why they were not at their positions, they replied that “there was not a chance for the boat to go down.” (p.219)

Prophetic words indeed, which were the last known James Alexander McCubbin uttered! Diana Preston describes him as “stout, white-bearded,” and at the time was 50 years old. James had planned to retire after this final voyage, but fate stepped in.

The Lusitania had taken the Atlantic record on her second voyage only to be beaten by the Mauretania on her maiden voyage. After the loss of the Lusitania in 1915, the Mauretania remained the fastest vessel on the North Atlantic until 1929.

Gangplank Willies was the nickname given to news-hungry New York reporters. Reporters and photographers often boarded the liners at Quarantine for the eight mile sail into dock. Cunard and White Star tipped them off as to any famous passengers on board. Purser McCubbin of the Lusitania entertained the Gangplank Willies to breakfast and Cunard whisky in his cabin. He sent bellboys to fetch millionaires or those involved in the latest divorce scandals, for interview. In order to be first with the news of the Titanic disaster in 1912, the New York Times hired a tug to take the reporters out to the Carpathia to interview the survivors. Captain Rostron refused to let them board. The tug broke down and the seasick reporters reached New York hours after rival newspapers had broken the story.
(above information taken from “Triumph of a Great Tradition: Official Souvenir History of the Cunard Line, 1999”)

George McCubbing and the Battle of the Atlantic

A descendant from Keir McCubbin, my father.
by Kathy McCubbing Hopkins

George McCubbing

George McCubbing (1924-2004) grew up in Boness, West Lothian in Scotland and left school when he was just 14 years old. On leaving school he worked for a time with a chemist, working on dyestuffs at ICI and during this time he began to have wider ambitions. War broke out when he was 15 and by the time he was 17 he was going off to Edinburgh each night on the bus to study Wireless and Telegraphy.

By 1943, when George was 19, he had joined Marconi and started work as a 3rd radio officer for the Merchant Navy. On 14th April 1943 he sailed from Glasgow on his first ship, the s/s Gharinda, heading across the Atlantic as part of the convoy ONS5 to bring desperately-needed food supplies to Britain from America.

It was an extremely hazardous job. Until the invention of radar, which had just started to be used, numerous allied ships had been torpedoed and destroyed by the wolfpacks of German U-boats which were in great force under the Atlantic.

The Gharinda was torpedoed on 5th May 1943, less than a month after George had embarked on his first voyage. He told me how they had heard a huge thump as the torpedo hit, but said that the evacuation was carried out in a very calm and orderly way and, thankfully, no lives were lost from the Gharinda. The only mishap was when the pursers briefcase flew open as he descended into the lifeboat and quite an amount of money it had held was scattered across the sea! A total of 13 ships were sunk from convoy ONS5.

MacKenzie J Gregory recorded the events on his weblog

Now U-266 fired off 4 fish at 1950 ( 7.50 PM ) on the evening of 5th. of May, and struck 3 ships, all of whom sank. The 5,136 ton Silvistan, went down in 2 minutes, the 5,306 ton Gharinda, all her large crew of 92 picked up, both these ships were British, the third was the Norwegian Bonde, at only 1,750 tons, the baby of this convoy, Tay found only 12 from her crew of 38.

After 4-6 hours Georges lifeboat was picked up by the Frigate Tay.

MacKenzie Gregory further writes:

This Battle for Convoy ONS 5, was a defining one in the Battle of the Atlantic, it was a major victory against the U-Boats, and a turning point, if one sought the time the Allies won THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC, it would have to be, May of 1943.

Commander Gretton wrote:” Lieutenant Commander Sherwood RNR. in HMS Tay, had handled a very dangerous situation with ability and coolness. I consider he did exceptionally well, being ably backed up by the group.”

Praise indeed, for a wonderful effort from a Reserve Officer, who at one stage was in charge of the close escort whilst he had two full four ringed Royal Navy Captains in command of ships in his group.

So, my fathers first entry on his Merchant Record records discharge place as at sea on the 5th May 1943 from a trip which lasted 3 weeks and which was followed by a 2-month break! An auspicious start to a working life which was to be full of travel and adventure.

The next ship George sailed in across the Atlantic, on a trip that was to last 4 months, was the Empire Kingsley, which left from Glasgow on 9 July 1943. He recalled the horror at watching a nearby ship, the Butas (spelling may be incorrect) being struck by the Luftwaffe and bursting into flames.

During the war he sailed on a further 2 ships: The s/s San Roberto and finally the Hopetown which departed from South Shields on 1st December 1944 on a trip which was to last 8 months. He was discharged from this ship at South Shields on 27 July 1945, some months after VE day had been declared. His Merchant Record only describes the destinations of these ships as being foreign, but it is known that he was in Italy during this period because he was a recipient of the Italy Star medal which was awarded to those in operational service in Sicily or Italy between 11th June 1943 and 8th May 1945.

George continued to work with the Merchant Navy after the war, travelling to the Americas, the Baltic, the Mediterranean and serving on a range of ships: King Neptune; Dunelmia; Empire Concrete; City of Lyons; s/s Paris City Bideford and s/s Benjamin Tay, from which he was discharged in August 1948 at Haifa, the ship having been deployed during the Haifa Blockade.

Post-war George continued working with the Merchant Navy for Marconi until 1951. He continued to work with Marconi as a Telecommunications Engineer until his retirement in 1989, always in field service working in areas all over the world including Gan, Singapore, Norway, Cyprus, Aden, Bahrain, Germany, Ecuador and finally Saudi Arabia.

Rear Admiral John D McCubbin

An American Man of the Seas (the following excerpted from Arlington National Cemetery website)

Rear Admiral John D. McCUBBIN, United States Coast guard (retired), age 94, passed away peacefully November 3, 2008, at his home in Steilacoom Washington.

Born in Wichita, Kansas, Admiral McCubbin was raised in Dallas, Texas. After graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1939, he served as an Ensign aboard the USCG Cutter Taney in Honolulu, Hawaii. In 1942, after completing Naval flight training at Pensacola, Florida, he was assigned to anti-submarine warfare duty, flying out of Greenland during World War II. He served in operational and command positions in search and rescue at Port Angeles, Washington, Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Kodiak, Alaska, Barbers Point, Hawaii, San Francisco, California and Washington, D.C.

While serving as Chief of Staff for the 17th Coast Guard District in Juneau, Alaska, he was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1969. He was then assigned as Chief, Office of Reserve for the Coast Guard in Washington, D.C., receiving honors as Minute Man of the Year by the Reserve Officers Association.

His final assignment was Commander, 8th Coast Guard District, New Orleans, Louisiana. On June 30, 1973, Admiral McCubbin retired after more than 45 years in uniform, including 34 years of commissioned service. His many personal decorations include the Legion of Merit and Air Medals.

Admiral McCubbin was much admired by servicemen of all ranks. An extremely generous and kind man, he was highly regarded for his integrity, devotion to duty and outstanding strength of character. A man loved by all who knew him, especially his family, he will be dearly missed. As he often said, “I’ve had a good life, thanks:to the people who helped me.”

McCubbin Catholic Births recently added to Scotland’s People

(Baptism and GRO numbers can be viewed on the site )
1827 Margaret to Wm McCubbin & Jane Kerr, Dalbeattie, St Peter’s
1848 Janet to James McCubbin & Jane Smith, Dumfries, St Andrew’s
1851 John to James McCubbin & Jane Smith, Dumfries, St Andrew’s
1857 Susan to Gifford Blair McCubbin & Mary Ann Harding, Glasgow, St John’s
1859 Gifford to Gifford Blair McCubbin & Mary Ann Harding, Glasgow, St John’s
1864 John to John McCubbin & Jane Petigrew, Glasgow, St Paul’s
1865 William James to Mary McCubbin, Stranraer, St Joseph’s
1869 John to Thomas McCubbin & Mary Anne Miller, Barrhead, St John’s
1895 Anne to William McCubbin & Susan McCann, Saltcoats, St Mary’s
1897 James to William McCubbin & Susan McCann, Saltcoats, St Mary’s
1901 David to William McCubbin & Susan McCann, Saltcoats, St Mary’s
1902 Mary to William McCubbin & Susan McCann, Saltcoats, St Mary’s

“Chesley, we have struck gold!!!

Remember the ‘Five Remarkable McCubbing Sisters of Fayette, Kentucky’, featured in our 2006 report? Their parents were James McCubbing and Isabella Waugh, from Dumfriesshire, who established Deanside Farm near Fayette, Kentucky. They named the beautiful farm in remembrance of their homeplace in Scotland..

James McCubbing & Isabella Waugh
Deanside Farm

Chesley Jaracz, a descendant, of James & Isabella ‘discovered’ the article on-line in our report. He wrote:
“It was with extreme interest and no small measure of familial pride that I read your entry on “The Remarkable McCubbing Sisters of Fayette, Kentucky”. Those sisters were my great, great aunts. I was raised on that farm.”
Ed McCaw, Chesley’s cousin, also raised at Deanside, then contacted us. In preparation for a family reunion, they were trying to find out more about their ancestors. They had only the bare bones to the genealogy of the family, so we emailed Ed the very large family tree, dating back to the early 1700’s in Dunscore and Edgartoun, Dumfriesshire.
“Chesley”, he wrote his cousin, “We have struck gold!!!”
We too struck gold. We were introduced to the Deanside Farm website, and then enjoyed the wonderful story of the McCubbing family, their lives, and a treasure trove of old photos, that Ed and Chesley had put together.

Croquet at Deanside Farm, 1905

Chesley & Ed are descended from William McCubbing, the brother to the five sisters and who farmed with the sisters until his death on 2/4/1906. The farm stayed in the family until 1953 when approximately 100 acres, including the homestead (Deanside) was sold by James Edward ‘Eddie’ McCubbing’s widow upon his 2/28/1953 death (James was the grandson of James and Isabella McCubbing, the original 1878 purchasers). The remaining approximately 200 acres remained in the family as a dairy, beef, and tobacco farm until sold for development in the 1980’s.

McCubbin Family at Deanside

On June 7, 2009, several Deanside descendants and their families gathered for a reunion, and held a celebration at the Firebrook Clubhouse, opposite Deanside. (Firebrook subdivision sits on the previous Deanside).
Thank you Ed, Chesley and family for such a terrific contribution to the McCubbin story.

Sometimes we find an error in a family chart. One of our biggest nightmares is linking up two large family groups who turn out not to be related. At which point we have to go back, check again and again until we’re certain they aren’t matches. So far we’ve only had to unlink one. That is the family of file #68 Alexander Charles McCubbin & Jean Smith and #09 Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Jackson. A descendant of #68 contacted us and pointed out the error, thus Alexander of #09 is no longer considered a son of Alexander of #68, until we have further documented evidence. We have a DNA result for #68. We need a DNA match for #09 to see if there is link. If you or one of your male McCubbin relatives is a descendant of chart #09, Alexander McCubbin & Agnes Jackson, please contact us at


Query re Jamaican McCubbin and Frey ‘Fray’ connection:
In the continuing search for ancestors of Harold McCubbin (born 1912) and his daughter Joy, we are looking for information about Theresa ‘Teresa’ McCubbin, born Jamaica, c1840 to Andrew McCubbin. Would like to know the name, surname of her mother, who married Andrew McCubbin. Theresa married Henry Fray, Jamaica, 1860. Their daughter, also named Theresa, married Alfred Pawsey, 1882.

If any readers have not had replies to their queries, please remind us. Sometimes emails go astray or simply get lost in our email box. Our aim is to answer everyone in our world McCubbin family.

All the best for 2010!!
The MCFHA Committee

Chairman of McCubbin Family History Association – Kathy McCubbing Hopkins
Member – Guild of One Name Studies – forwards queries to co-ordinators – Kathy McCubbing Hopkins
Reseacher for early (pre 1700s) McCubbin name – Lorna McCubbin
DNA Project Administrator – Lorna McCubbin, Co-Administrator – Don Chesnut
Co-ordinators – Penny McColm, Lynne McCubbinKathy McCubbing HopkinsRonald ‘Rick’ McCubbin

Thanks again to all who have added families to our continuing research. We are especially thankful to those of you who contributed to the DNA project. It is providing a great insight into our past.

Contact us about any questions or queries about your McCubbin ancestors.

The McCubbin name, and variants, are registered with the Guild of One Name Studies, searching the McCubbin name and variants worldwide.
Member #5414

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