Issue Number 16 features:
- Ninth Anniversary of the McCubbin DNA Project
- McCubbins from Penpont, Dumfriesshire, Family #03 DNA 4
The ‘English Midlands’ McCubbin branch
- Bertie McCubbin, Family #42, DNA 3
- North Bay Pipes and Drums Band – Query, Family #06 DNA1
- Driving Cattle from Scotland to England, John McCubbing, Family #31 DNA 1
- Obituary – Pat McCubbin
In the past nine years we have covered a huge amount of territory. We have found the McCubbin name (and variations) all over the world – Europe, North and South America, Oceania and Africa. DNA tests show that many McCubbins were moving about the world as early as the 1600s, likely earlier in undocumented times. It appears that during that time the spelling and pronunciation of the name changed dramatically, thus we have McCubbin, McCubbing, McKibben, McKibbon, Megibben, McAbee, McBean, McCubben, McCubbon, McGibbon, McKibbin, even Cubbon and McGibony, Megibben and McAlpine and even more variations.
As far as we know, the name originated in Scotland and/or Ireland. As ever, we still hope to have more McCubbin males in Scotland come forward to have their DNA done. They will very likely match one of the four DNA groups. and be descended from King Niall of Ireland, or a strong family group in Wigtownshire, or a line of McCubbins skilled in husbandry, or a group of stonemasons and inventors. Scots, please contact us. We give a free DNA test to qualified persons.
The costs for DNA tests, at Family Tree DNA, have been reducing through the years. A 12 marker test is presently $59, and a 111 marker test is $339. We recommend about midway to get started. There is a group rate that you qualify for when you order a Y-DNA test through a project. On the main FTDNA sign in page, scroll down to Project Search and enter McCubbin. https://www.familytreedna.com/login.aspx
We now have 84 members.
To find out how to link your ancestors you can go to Family Tree DNA to read more and/or contact DNA Project Administrators at firstname.lastname@example.org
As a result of Edward McCubbin (born between 1795 and 1804) moving from Penpont, Dumfriesshire down to England and settling in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire, a branch of ‘English Midlands’ McCubbins was established. Over time descendants of Edward and Sofia, and later his second wife, Ann (Lambert), settled in Leamington (Warwickshire), Northampton (Northamptonshire), Leighton Buzzard (Bedfordshire), Linslade (Buckinghamshire), Pottersbury (Northamptonshire), Biggleswade (Bedfordshire), and Leicester (Leicestershire). Later, some descendants moved further south to settle in England’s capital, London.
|Location of the Midlands||The Midlands|
Edward, his first wife, Sofia, and his second wife, Ann, raised 15 children between them and in recent years, as a result of descendants contacting us, we have been able to gather a substantial amount of information on this grouping, some of which has already been published on the family pages on this site: #03-DNA-4 Penpont McCubbins, DNA Group 4.
Last year Graham Paskett, grandson of (Percy) Andrew McCubbin who was born in 1897 in Leamington Spa, and who died there in 1968, got in touch with us to share information about his grandfather. He related how his late mother (Joan Mary McCubbin 1924-1980)
had always told him that her grandfather, Andrew McCubbin, had walked to Leamington Spa from Kirkcudbright to find work.
She said he had a strong Scottish accent and that his son, Percy Andrew McCubbin, was an only child and so, following her own two brothers’ early deaths (Eric, 1921-1944, and Donald, 1926-1932) (Percy), Andrew
was believed to be the last surviving member of that branch of the McCubbin family with direct links to the name.
Left: Joan Mary McCubbin Paskett, 1924-1980
Left: Percy Andrew MCubbin, 1897 – 1968
Our research confirmed the vital dates relating to Percy (known as Andrew, but to avoid confusion, referred to here by his given name) and the 1901 census was referred to which showed him living with his parents, Andrew and Ruth. Andrew was working as a bricklayer and the little family were living in Duke Street, Leamington.
The marriage of Andrew to Ruth (Miles) was found in 1896 in Warwickshire: Andrew was described as a bachelor, aged 44 (therefore born c. 1852), working as a labourer, the son of Edward McCubbin (deceased), a Commercial Traveller. The couple were both living at 32 Charles Street in Leamington, and witnesses to the marriage included Kate McCubbin (later found in the 1901 census, age 29, lodging in Charles Street with a Priscilla Clarke).
Curiously, we already had records about an Andrew Lambert McCubbin born 1851 who had been born in Northamptonshire (as recorded in Free BMD, and on the 1871 and 1891 censuses) and who had been recorded on the 1861 census living with his parents Edward and Ann with siblings (Maryann (18), Thomas (14), Edwin (6), and Catherine (6 weeks)) at Duke Street, Leamington, Warwickshire. Given the rarity of the name McCubbin, in England generally, and in this area of England, and that the father’s name in both cases was given to be Edward (also a rare name amongst McCubbins), not to mention that at various times records showed an Andrew McCubbin whether single, or married to Emma, or (later) to Ruth, described as a bricklayer, it was concluded that, contrary to what Graham’s family had thought, his great-grandfather was not an only child after all, but actually one of 7 children, the first 6 children being borne of Andrew’s first wife Emma Arnold.
Incidentally, the unusual (for McCubbins) name of ‘Percy’ came up again: Andrew’s 2nd son Joseph Andrew McCubbin (1874-1956) called his first son Joseph Ernest Percy McCubbin (b. 1902), recorded as MacCubbin on the 1911 census.
The search proceeded to establish what had become of Percy Andrew McCubbin’s siblings and Andrew’s first wife, Emma, whom he had married in 1877, and with whom he had been living, as recorded on the censuses of 1871 (at East Green, Leamington – Emma already being described as his wife) and 1891 (at Palace Yard, Satchwell Street, Leamington, with Emma and children Joseph (16), George (11) and Arthur (8) – the surname being recorded as MacCubbin).
Although Andrew was described on his marriage certificate to Ruth Miles as a bachelor, it was assumed that he was probably a widower, so death records were searched for Emma McCubbin but the only death record for Emma McCubbin in the Leamington area was in 1902, some 6 years after Andrew’s marriage to Ruth. The death certificate confirmed that this Emma had been Andrew’s wife, but she was described as his widow, though he wasn’t to die until 1940! The informant for her death was son, G E McCubbin, present at 32 Satchwell Street, so it seemed pretty certain that this was the record for Andrew’s (former) wife. Further excavation revealed Emma on the 1891 census, living as Emma Arnold at Satchwell Street, working as a laundress and living with her son, recorded as George Arnold, 21, single, working as a mineral water bottler.
In those days, obtaining a divorce would have been difficult and expensive and so out of reach for most working people, so it is unlikely that Andrew and Emma formally divorced, and it is not clear why Emma was described as a widow (by her son) on her death certificate. It seems unlikely that Emma would have been unaware that Andrew was alive and well as she continued to live in Leamington, as did Andrew and Ruth, but it seems clear that Percy Andrew McCubbin was not an only child after all, and so the McCubbin name for his branch had not died out with his death.
Current electoral registers show that there are still McCubbins living in Warwickshire who descend from Andrew and Emma, specifically from their grandson, Reginald W McCubbin (b.1912), husband of Marjory ‘Marj’ Kirby, Reginald being the son of Joseph Andrew McCubbin (1874-1956), Andrew and Emma’s 3rd child and 2nd son. We’d love to hear from these descendants!
The Cub Report of 2012 contained a pretty comprehensive article about 22 year old Private Bertie McCubbin who was one of those unfortunate soldiers of World War One who were ‘shot at dawn’ and shamed with the stigma of cowardice until the British government, in 2006, finally granted all 306 of these soldiers posthumous pardons.
On June 30th 2016 the Nottingham Post newspaper commemorated the Battle of the Somme with a double page spread which included a substantial article about Bertie. Some of the information in the article is included in our Cub Report article, but there is sufficient new information which contextualises Bertie’s demise to warrant reproducing the article in full below and it is with many thanks to Andy Smart at the Nottingham Post that we are able to include the article and the photo of Bertie below:
1893 – 1916
‘Brave enough to volunteer, shot by his own side as an example’
“Digging into the Post’s First World War archive is a humbling experience, bringing home the scale of sacrifice made at the Battle of the Somme by the men of Nottinghamshire. Hundreds of families lost loved ones and here are some of their stories. David Lowe begins his reports by examining the case of a Sutton–in-Ashfield who was shot at dawn at Lone Farm.
PRIVATE Bertie McCubbin was one of 11,409 soldiers of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment to lose their lives during the four bloody years of the First World War.
But even though equal in death, Private McCubbin and seven other Foresters had
something apart from their comrades who made up the ranks of the “Glorious Dead”
whose names filled war memorials. For their families, even the supposed succour of self-sacrifice leading to victory was denied – to be replaced by shame.
Private McCubbin was executed, one of 306 British soldiers to share the same fate.
His crimes were “misbehaviour before the enemy in such a way as to show cowardice before the enemy” and a “wilful defiance” in disobeying the order of an officer.
What had been the process which had brought him from the eager Sutton-in-Ashfield volunteer to condemned man?
Bertie was 20 when war broke out in 1914 and, like thousands of others, he responded to the “your country needs you” call from war minister Lord Kitchener. By July 1916, he had been in the trenches for four months with the 17th Battalion Foresters, part of the
39th Division. Although the Battle of the Somme was raging at the time, Pte McCubbin
and his unit were further north near Aubers Ridge. British tactics were to keep the Germans occupied, so a series of trench raids were organised in which the Foresters
suffered heavy casualties. On July 7, Private McCubbin was told to man a listening post
in No Man’s Land, 40 yards in front of the British line, to look out for German raids.
He refused, even when ordered by an officer, and the wheels of military justice were
set in action. Twelve days later, he faced a court martial made up of three officers from other units. Bertie denied the charges, saying his nerves were shattered and he was ill. He had been in the trenches for 26 days without relief, was suffering from boils on his face and complained of stomach pains.
In a letter to the court, he wrote: “During my stay in the Annequin trenches I had my nerves shattered by a shell which burst three yards away. I have not been right since, My nerves being completely ruined. This being the case I put forward my case not being a blank refusal to an officer but as nervousness on my part, being made worse by the incessant bombardment which has been going on lately. I have never been up before my company officer or colonel before until now, this being the first time, and I have always tried to play my part while I have been in the Army.
I have a father somewhere in France, leaving my mother at home with six brothers and
sisters and always thinking if anything had to happen to us two what would become of
them, which does not help me a great deal. So I also put forward a plea that if you deal
leniently with me in this case I will try and do my bit and keep up a good reputation.”
His company commander, Captain S F Brookfield, said McCubbin had been with him
for eight months and in that time he had been a good soldier. But he added: “During the
last six weeks, I have noticed a general change in his behaviour. He has become unsteady generally and also unstrung.”
The pleas fell on deaf ears. The court martial president, Major Hugh Bridges, found
him guilty. His punishment should be to face the firing squad. But there was still hope
for McCubbin as the recommendation had to be passed up the Army chain of command
and the sentence could be commuted, which often happened. Major Bridges had even left the option open with his entry on the court papers by writing:
“Guilty. Death by being shot with a strong recommendation to mercy on account of his
character and his condition of health.”
The next day, Brigadier General R D F Aldman recommended a 15-year prison sentence
due to his continuous trench service, below-par health and as the battalion had previously done good work. Both 39th divisional commander Major General G J Cuthbert and XI Corps commander Lieutenant General Sir Richard Haking agreed that the sentence could be commuted to a jail term, with the latter suggesting five years as a suitable punishment. But things took a fatal turn when it came to General Sir Charles Mayo, commanding First Army, to make his recommendation. He supported the death sentence.
He wrote: “If toleration be shown to private soldiers, who deliberately decline to face
danger, all the qualities, which we desire, will become debased and degraded.”
Life or death now lay in the hands of Sir Douglas Haig, commander in chief of the
British Forces, and above his signature on July 26, he sealed the fate of Pte Bertie McCubbin by writing of the sentence: “Confirmed.”
The short, sad and unlucky life of Bertie McCubbin ended at 5 am on July 30 at the aptly
named Lone Farm. He was 22. He did not die instantly. The riflemen firing from close
range failed to kill him outright and an officer had to despatch him from point-blank range with a pistol shot.
Back home in Sutton, the family had no inkling of what had happened. Bertie’s mother
received a telegram from the War Office, which said he had died from gunshot wounds.
Emily McCubbin tried in vain to find out details about her son’s final days, even writing
to the King. It wasn’t until the end of the war, when a soldier who knew Bert visited
her, that she learned the truth. Bertie’s niece, Grace Sloan, who fought for years for his
name to be cleared, said: ‘She was completely devastated to be told he had been shot for being a coward. It was a terrible shock.”
Bertie’s death was not the final blow for the McCubbin family. Towards the end of the
war, Bertie’s father was badly gassed while serving with the Royal Engineers and shipped home. He died at the age of 51, six days after the Armistice was signed. He was buried in Sutton Cemetery. In the early 1920s, yards from his grave, the council erected the town’s war memorial and both father and son had their names inscribed along with some 400 others.
The bitter truth of what had really happened to Bertie was only revealed later and by
chance, according to the family. A new postman called one day and asked if they were
related to a Bertie McCubbin, who he had served with in the trenches. He told them what had really happened. His version of events differed from the official line. He said Bertie and another soldier had been picked at random as an example to others who would not leave the trenches.
Bertie’s body still lies in plot five, grave No 16 of the Brown’s Road Mill Cemetery in a quiet corner of Northern France.
In 2006, the Ministry of Defence announced that all 306 of the First World War soldiers shot at dawn for cowardice or desertion would be granted posthumous pardons.”
In January this year Liz Ashworth contacted us. She is doing a research project about the North Bay Pipes and Drums and told us that “apparently, a John McCubbin started the band in 1926. I have found very little information about him, and wonder if it might be John Wallace McCubbin or his father, Norman John McCubbin, who started it.”
The website for the North Bay Pipes and Drums can be viewed here:
Research (summarised below) has not been conclusive but, hopefully we’re on the right track with regards to the family John McCubbin belonged to.
We got in touch with Norman John McCubbin’s grandson, Alex McCubbin (more correctly John Alexander McCubbin) and he told us:
“My father John Wallace [“Wallie”, 1909-1985] was born and brought up in North Bay Ontario and was one of 7 children. It is quite possible that my grandfather, Norman [John] was involved with the pipe band in 1926. Dad, the oldest was born in 1909 and I know that his younger brother, [Harold] Bruce [1912-1980] (John’s father) played the pipes.”
He also clarified that all the men in the family go by their middle names (including him).
We were then in touch with his 1st cousin, Harold Bruce McCubbin’s, grandson, Ross McCubbin (his father is John Gordon McCubbin), and he was able to talk with his mother, but she could not recall anyone playing the pipes. After we told him that Alex had recollected that Bruce played the pipes, he told us:
“I only recall my grandfather playing the piano and he was a soloist for the United Church choir in North Bay. There were many stories of how grandpa invited the RAF pilots over on the weekends and singing the war songs around the piano. Grandfather was enlisted but had to bow out when his father passed so then he was needed to run the family store.”
When we contacted Liz again whilst preparing this Cub Report, she updated us on progress she has made since January:
“…my pipe band history book research/writing is going well and am now up to 163 pages of notes, covering 1924-present. Within those notes are excerpts from our local paper, The North Bay Nugget. Last winter, I scoured microfilm reels from that paper for any mention of the band, and two included information specifically about your family members:
North Bay Nugget, January 29, 1940 under “Fair Fa’ Yer Honest Sonsie Face”: “Scotsmen of the city celebrated their annual ‘Nicht Wi’ Burns’ with a…banquet and dance Friday night in St. John’s Parish Hall…Piper Bruce McCubbin and Harley Winters [brought] in the haggis…”; Bruce has sergeant stripes on his uniform; his father, John, is at the head table
North Bay Nugget, January 12, 1948; front page announcement of N.J. McCubbin’s death:
“Mr. McCubbin organized the North Bay Pipe Band, which was active for many years. The McCubbins are noted as one of the city’s foremost musical families, and Mr. McCubbin was always eager to encourage and foster any musical organization in North Bay…Mr. McCubbin was a prime mover in the formation of the Sons of Scotland…Despite the fact that he was born in Canada, he maintained his love for all things Scottish and was proud of his heritage of Scots blood.”
Based on this information, and my observation of Bruce wearing sergeant stripes, I know that both Bruce and John were involved directly with the band. Bruce was likely an accomplished piper (to be in the second-in-command role) and was in the band for about 15-16 years. I also found a reference to his piping in a high school yearbook from the late 1920s (he may or may not have been in the band at that time, but would have been learning to play pipes as a teen). He seems to have not been a band member after WWII because he was not in any group photos of the band after 1945. I suspect that he stepped down in order to focus more on the family menswear store when John became ill.
… within seven months of John’s death, the band sponsorship moved to the local Legion. Legion members think that the band was sponsored by the city from 1925-1948; however, I have found no proof of this. I suspect that John supported the band financially, in part or full, but, again, have no proof. As suggested in the article about his death, he ‘organized’ the band; I think he may have helped start it with his friend (one of his pallbearers), Jack Yorkston (Pipe Major in 1930s), by paying for the band’s first set of uniforms, then the band earned money when it played for various regional concerts and parades. When he died, perhaps Bruce did not want the expensive responsibility of re-outfitting the band (by 1948, the uniforms would have been in need of repair/replacement). The Legion, at that time, would have had the means to take over sponsorship. Just some theories.”
Liz is planning to visit the library again later this year in order to download the photograph accompanying the first article so, hopefully, we shall be able to include this in next year’s Cub Report.
If anyone has any further information, or photos from that period, they would be most welcome. Please do get in touch!
From the Book of Dumfries Days by David Carroll:
September 26th 1838
“…the Dumfries and Galloway Courier commented on the roaring trade in cattle sent through Dumfries en route to markets in England: ‘All the St Faith’s cattle are now on their way, and a weary march it is of some 340 miles. Such of them as were pastured in the Stewartry and shire passed through this town, and formed, we must say, a beautiful sight. Mr McCubbin had two droves of 400 each, which must have cost somewhere about £10,000 and there were so many smaller ones that from £30,000 to £40,000 will be bought into Galloway by the sales of the approaching market.’”
Obituary of Pat McCubbin
By Stephen McCubbin, August 15, 2016, reproduced here
courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd.
(type McCubbin in search line).
“My mother, Pat McCubbin, who has died aged 95, was born into a Jewish family in Bremen, in north-western Germany, and recalled Adolf Hitler’s election victory in 1933. She had chilling memories of how she and her fellow Jewish classmates had to give the Nazi salute to the Führer’s portrait and listen to anti-semitic songs.
Her parents, Albert Rosenberg and Kaethe Ehrenstein, split up when she was young. In order to find a place of safety, Kaethe took her mother and daughter to Palestine, then under the British mandate. Pat was only 12, but she was soon helping her mother run a boarding house in Tel Aviv. Albert, a British citizen, had managed to escape from Germany too. A metallurgist, he worked in munitions in Oxford during the second world war and later ran a hotel in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire.
Pat joined the British Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in the early 1940s and served in Cairo, where she met Glasgow-born Lieutenant Hugh McCubbin. Romance blossomed as he serenaded her on the banks of the Nile. They were married in 1946 and the wedding reception was held at her father’s hotel.
The couple had three sons, Norman, Richard and me. In 1958 the family moved to Africa, where Hugh became finance director with the Kenya Farmers’ Association. Then he took up a post with the UN’s World Food Programme, settling first in Lesotho and then Taiwan, where Hugh died, aged only 60.
Widowed relatively young after such a happy marriage, Pat had to rebuild her life. She moved, with Kaethe, to Oxford, where Norman and Richard were at university. There she devoted herself to family life. Everyone loved her warmth, her hospitality, her sage advice, her humour and her celebrated apple cake.
After Kaethe died in 1990, Pat worked for more than 20 years in the Oxfam shop in Summertown, north Oxford, and helped the Liberal Democrats in many election campaigns. She was keen on politics and loved discussing current affairs.
She is survived by Norman, Richard and me, and by two granddaughters and two grandsons.”
We’ve made contact with the family and now look forward to sharing information and research and, hopefully, we can connect them to one of our hundreds of McCubbin branches and help them to track the origins of their family.
McCubbin Family History Association Facebook Group
We’re beginning to have more Cubbies joining our Facebook page. Those who search for us on that site will be directed to our main web page, as well as allowing people to ask questions in a public forum and post interesting social media posts relating to McCubbins. If you have early pictures of your McCubbin family, some of us would love to see them.
Look for us here – McCubbin Family History Association Facebook Group
All the best for 2017!!
The MCFHA Committee
Chairperson of McCubbin Family History Association – Kathy McCubbing
Member – Guild of One Name Studies – Kathy forwards world queries to co-ordinators.
Lorna McCubbin – McFHA Co-Founder
DNA Project Administrator – Lorna McCubbin, Co-Admin – James H McCubbin
Penny McColm – MCFHA Co-Founder & Co-ordinator for Australia & NZ
Co-ordinators specialties: Kathy McCubbing, Dumfries, Ronald ‘Rick’ McCubbin, America, Lorna and Kathy – the rest of the world
MCFHA Sponsors – Lorna McCubbin & son; James H McCubbin
Facebook Administrator – James H McCubbin, Co-Admin – Kathy McCubbing,
Cub Helper – Ryan McCubbin
To the many people who have contributed to the content of the CUB report, we say
We are especially grateful to those of you who provided samples for 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.