Finding where My Great Great Great Grandfather Lived in County Cavan, Ireland

My Great Great Grandmother,  Margaret Robinson Gibson emigrated from Ireland to Canada with her two sons Alexander and Humphrey about 1867. (Coincidentally my Mother Margaret Gibson Robinson had a very similar name. I have three distinct Robinson lines in my family tree. Two on my Dad’s side and this line on my Mom’s side of the tree.)

My Great Great Grandmother’s husband, my Great Great Grandfather, Robert Gibson died  in Ireland before Margaret and her sons emigrated. The marriage record of Margaret and Robert documents that they were married in 1857.


The certificate also shows that she was from Prospect in County Cavan and that her Father was Humphrey Robinson.

Humphrey Robinson is clearly listed in Griffith’s Valuation. provides a good description of Griffith’s valuation.

” referencing approximately one million individuals who occupied property in Ireland between 1848 and 1864. Griffith’s Valuation, or Primary Valuation of Ireland, was executed under the direction of Sir Richard Griffith to provide a basis for determining taxes. This involved establishing the value of all privately held lands and buildings in both rural and urban areas in order to figure a rental rate for each unit of property. The resulting survey was arranged by barony and civil parish, with an index to townlands appearing in each volume. The original volumes of the survey are held in the National Archives, Dublin, and Public Record Office, Belfast.’

Here is Humphrey Robinson’s Griffith’s Valuation entry in Prospect, County Cavan.

Griffiths Valuation Prospect

The Ask About Ireland Griffith’s Valuation website allows you to see an old map of a location from the Griffith’s list. Here is Prospect.

Ask About Ireland Prospect Map

The land marked with the number 5 on the peninsula in the map is where Humphrey Robinson lived. The really cool thing is that you can slide the slider in the top right corner and see the location on Google maps today.

Ask About Ireland modern Prospect Map close

When Duke and I were in Ireland in September of 2018 we were able to go to this precise location. Exactly where the two buildings are in the middle of the map below (above the S of Prospect) we found the ruins of two old houses!

Very close up Ask About Ireland modern Prospect Map

Humphrey Robinson Property

Humphrey Robinson Property 2

Humphrey Robinson Property 3

We found the houses my ancestors lived in! It was an amazing experience.

Humphrey Robinson along with his son, Humphrey Robinson Jr. and daughter-in-law Eliza Johnston and two grandchildren, William Johnston Robinson and Mary Jane Robinson emigrated to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia in 1864. They left Liverpool in April and arrived in Brisbane in August. Four months on board the “Earl Russell”. Humphrey was 73, His son and daughter-in-law were each 31, and his grandchildren were 6 and 3 respectively. Their ship’s register is in the Queensland State Archives. What a trip it must have been!

Humphrey and his family are buried in Toowong Cemetery in Brisbane.

Coincidentally  when I was eleven my family moved to Brisbane. We lived there for five years. We knew very little then about my Mother’s family. My Mother had no idea that her Great Great Grandfather had also lived in Brisbane. She probably even had cousins in Brisbane!

I am published!!

As many of you know I am an avid genealogist and have been since I was a teenager. I love doing research, solving mysteries, and putting it all together. So I am beyond excited that for the first time ever I have an article published. It is about my immigrant ancestor George Robinson and his family and it was published in The New England Historic Genealogical Society Register. If you are interested here is a PDF of the article. nehgr_summer_2017_vol_171_George_Robinson_article

I have published genealogy related blog posts in the past. They can be found here.



My Dad – Donald Wayne Robinson June 26, 1927 – September 9, 2014

My Dad, Don Robinson died Tuesday September 9, 2014. He was 87 years old.

He moved to Reno in 2008 after my Mom died. He and I went out to Starbucks almost every day for coffee. He leaves a big hole in all of our lives. I'm sharing his obituary with you here.


Donald Wayne Robinson, 87, died Tuesday, September 9, 2014, in Reno, Nevada.

Born June 26, 1927, in Minot, North Dakota, the son of Ruth and Ray Robinson, he moved to Reno seven and a half years ago from Escondido, California where he and his wife Margaret had lived for twenty years.

He grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota. He joined the Navy in the spring of 1945 prior to graduating from high school. His parents accepted his diploma for him.

Don graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1950. On September 24, 1950 he was united in marriage with Margaret Helen Gibson. They were married for 57 years until her passing in 2007.

He worked for Standard Oil which later became Amoco, for thirty-three years. He helped design and construct the Standard Oil refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. In March of 1964 he and Margaret with their four children moved to Brisbane, Australia where he was a Project Engineer for the construction of the Amoco refinery on Bulwer Island. In 1969, the family moved to London, England and then to Milford Haven, Wales where he was project manager for the construction of the Amoco refinery there. In 1974, he and Margaret moved to Fungerumi, Zaire, Africa where he managed the construction of a copper cobalt mine for Amoco. A year later, when that project was cancelled, he accepted a position in Chicago as Manager in Synthetic Fuels Development with Amoco, and the  family moved to Wheaton, Illinois. He was elected Vice Chairman of the Council on Synthetic Fuels and appointed to the National Coal Council by the Secretary of Energy. He retired from Amoco in 1986 subsequently he and Margaret retired to Escondido, California.

 He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1956. It is a tribute to his strength that for more than 58 years he never let the challenges of living with diabetes define his life or limit his activities. He climbed the Grand Teton, enjoyed an annual fishing trip with friends at Lake of the Woods, traveled the world, moved more than twenty times and loved, provided for and supported his family. Donald was a faithful Christian all his life. He lived his faith.

Mr Robinson was preceded in death by his wife Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson and his granddaughter Jennifer Margaret Gail Thompson. He is survived by his four children and their spouses; Marion and Duke Vermazen of Reno, Nevada, Barbara and Michael Simpson of University Place, Washington, Elizabeth and Steven Thompson of Memphis, Tennessee, and Charles and Annie Robinson of Mendon, Massachusetts; sister, Dorothy Jensen of Centerville, Minnesota; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 Funeral and burial occurred Sept, 22 in San Diego and Escondido, California

The family suggests memorials to The American Diabetes Association, The Glaucoma Research Foundation or The Salvation Army.


If you would like to read about my Mom her eulogy is here

I miss both of them a lot. I was so lucky to have them for parents. They always believed in me. I can honestly say that I am who I am today because of them.

Red Coat Picture


Erb, Musselman Genealogy Trip Report – Allegany County, Maryland – May 2012

One of my many hobbies is genealogy. I love being a detective and in many ways genealogy is doing family history detective work. At one point I considered creating a separate Genealogy blog but decided instead to just tag my genealogy posts as such. This is a genealogy post. If you are not interested in genealogy and the Erb and Musselman families you should stop reading now.

On our  road trip in the Spring of 2012 Duke and I did family history research in a few places including Allegany County, Maryland. I have been mulling over in my head how to summarize and save the details of the research we did on the trip. I decided to create a trip research report. First I did a Microsoft Word document. But I think I also want it on the blog. I can send a link to the others who I think will be interested and I will have the results in the future if I want to recall what I did and what I learned.


My third Great Grandparents, Joseph Erb (b1789) and his wife Elizabeth Musselman Erb (b1798) lived in Allegany County with their family in the early 1800’s. One of their sons, my Great Great Grandfather also named Joseph Erb was born in 1822 probably in Allegany County.

The Musselman Farm

We arrive in Cumberland Maryland on Sunday, May 13. Based on several sources 123 I believed that the Musselman farm was located on land that is now the Arboretum of the Frostburg State University.


Duke and I drove out to the Arboretum and hiked around it. It is a beautiful location but we found no signs of the old Musselman farm. You can see my other pictures of the Frostburg State University Arboretum on Google Photos here. This set also contains other pictures referenced in this trip report.


[1] (Moore, 2004)

[2] (Frostburg State University)

 [3] (Brusca, 2010)


Frostburg State University

The library has both a local history section on the open shelves and a rare book room that can be accessed by appointment. I have the name and phone number of the person to contact for an appointment. Let me know if you need it. The library also has an interlibrary loan service. The brochure I received says for more information contact the ILL office 301-687-4886.

From the catalog the following books sounded interesting:

  • The Braddock Road by John Kennedy Lacock – published 1994 reprint of an edition thought to have been published in 1914. Includes maps and bibliographical references. The John Brusca Route 40 website4 quotes this book extensively. – the book is in the special collection room so I couldn’t review it.
  • Historical Biographical Sketch of Frostburg, Maryland and its Citizens old and new – published 1912 16p call number F 189.F7 M5  – The book contains pictures of the Musselman Farm and cornerstone.



  • Allegany County Maryland Rural Cemeteries – I reviewed it and found no Erb, Musselman, Arter or  Strotzer
  • History of Cumberland Maryland by Will H. Lowdermilk – Baltimore Regional Publishing Company 1971 – photos are also in the Google album. In the forward the book includes background on Cumberland Maryland newspapers.  On pages 277-278 there is a statement that the Erb family and several other listed families came to Allegany County between 1790 and 1800. On pages 296-297 there is a description of the Militia formed in 1814 and Joseph Erb is listed as a member.

The Genealogical Society of
Allegany County Library

The Genealogy Society of Allegany County Library is located in the library of the Allegany college of Maryland, 12401 Willowbrook Rd, Cumberland, MD. The library is in a room separate from the rest of the library. A librarian had to let me in to the locked room. After I had browsed the regular shelves for a while the president of the society and her husband arrived. The president of the society is Harriett Moore. She is the author of the
Musselman article in the society newsletter2. She has Musselman ancestors. We discussed the cornerstone and the location of the ruins of the Musselman farm and she said she thought it might be some place else than the Arboretum.

Her husband gave me a copy of the Musselman article3 from the Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage Newsletter. The article is well sourced and documents the Musselman ancestry.

I also referenced the following books and other materials:

  • ·Genealogical Resources in Allegany County – a seven page handout compiled by the Genealogical Society of Allegany County
  • The Marriage Diary of William Shaw 1792 – 1813. Several pages from this manuscript are also In the Google album. On page 8 the document lists
    the marriages of

    • ERB,
      Catherine to Jacob Woodring July 30 1805
    • Erb,
      Polly to Jacob Speelman Feb 9 1808

It is possible that Polly and Catherine were sisters of  third great grandfather Joseph Erb(b1789).

There was also a card catalog of surnames. A transcription of the  Erb and Musselman cards follows this article.

If anyone reading this has more information about the Erbs and Musselmans or if you have any questions please let me know.

Works Cited

Brusca, F. (2010, 11 3). John Kennedy Lacock’s
“Braddock Road” (1909) Part 3
. Retrieved 6 23, 2012, from Frank

Frostburg State
University. (n.d.). Arboretum History. (W. P.,
Editor) Retrieved June 23, 2012, from Frostburg State University:

Moore, H. (2004). The
Musselman Family – An Early, But Brief, Sojourn in Allegany County. The Old
Pike Post
, 21 (4), 1,2,4.

Phelan, E. D. (1989,
January). Descendants of Christian Musselman (d. 1734) of Lancaster Township,
Lancaster County, Penn. Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage , 146-23.


Transcription of card catalog Cards

The references Alle, Alle Adm., Alle Will, and G1 on the cards refer to the wills and probates of the Musselmans. has all of them; This Family Search link is to the index for to all M wills and probates for Allegany County. The Musselmans are all listed there. Thanks to Loretta Bonaccorso at Genealogy Your Way for her help with this.

If anyone would like copies of the original cards I have them.

Index Card 1

Erb, Polly                                                                             Alle

m. 2-5-1808

Jacob Speelman

Joseph                                                                  Alle

m. Elizabeth Musselman

dau of
Christian adm. 1828


Index Card 2

Erb, Margaret                                                                    G1  * 12-48

m. Samuel Thayer

son/ Murray                                                       Keziah

Index Card 3

Christian                                                   Alle

6-14-1825                                                                 a –
Valentine Hoffman
Jacob Snyder   Adm.


Accts Paid



Christian Jr.



#2   Adm. “                                          a –



#3  Adm.  “                                          a -353

Index Card 3 side 2

8/13/1828                                                            A  378

of Estate

Hoffman & Jacob Snyder  Adm.

Susanna     third

Christian Jr.


Elizabeth (Joseph Erb)

Nancy (John Blocker)

Susanna (Henry Arthur)

Frances  (George Hartzell) Hansel

8/10/1831  #7 adm “                                        B33

div.  John
Heirs (Christian)                          AlleAdm

Christian                                                      3-11-1834  B82

Jacob                                                             Mussellman   Mrs. Susa

Elizabeth (Joseph Erb)                            John Blocker Adm.

Nancy (John Blocker)                              (Same as Christian

(Henry Arthur)                       except

(George Hansell)                    Jr.
dec’d  (heir)


Index Card 4

Musselman                        G1  * 1-3


Teacher School House Run          Shoemaker

When school not in session.



Index Card 5

5-10-1843                                            Alle
Adm. C66

#1    John Blocker  Admx.

Christianna     wid third








Index Card 6


Nancy  <Christian  Susanna


John Plucker


John  <Christian


Blocker < Andrew Barbara


< Christian Susanna

m. 5-17-1817



< Christian Susanna




< Christian Susanna

Joseph Erb


< Christian Susanna

Henry Arthur


Index Card 7

Musselman        John                                                      Alle

(his wife)

A  519   2-8-1840

Of Dark Co Ohio   Appointed Daniel

Of Somerset Co. Pa. to recover their 1/5

Int. in late grandfather’s  (John

Sr)  estate in Alle Co.


And debts owed by Abraham’Miller’s

(also their
grfather) in Somerset Co Pa.

Musselman Elizabeth

A 520 2-18-1842                ditto above

Money was owed her by John Blocker of Alle

(See Stephen Shipley)






Lisa Louise Cooke – Creator and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast – Episode 12 – Marion Vermazen Podcast

Lisa Louise Cooke – Creator and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast – Episode 12 – Marion Vermazen Podcast

Lisa_Louise_Cooke_2009 This podcast is available in the iTunes store. It would help me a lot if
you would go to the store and write a review. To find the podcast just
search the store for Vermazen

You can listen to my interview with Lisa in iTunes or by clicking on the link below.


Lisa Louise Cooke has been a genealogist since a very young age. She has a passion for genealogy. About three years ago she followed her passion into podcasting and started the Genealogy Gems Podcast. . Today that podcast is one of the most popular genealogy podcasts available. Lisa also does Genealogy training, speaks frequently at conferences nationwide, blogs, produces genealogy training videos, has written a book about genealogy and produces a podcast and writes for Family Tree Magazine.

Here are links to some of the things we discussed in our conversation.