|Birth: ||Mar. 26, 1909|
|Death: ||Sep. 9, 1997|
Prince George's County
Birth: 26 MAR 1909 in Philadelphia, PA, USA
Death: 9 SEP 1997 in Hyattsville, Prince George's Co., MD, USA
Burial: Arlington Cemetery, Drexel Hill, PA
Event: Writer Numerous genealogical, historical and biographical articles
President of the National Genealogical Society
Father: Milton Rubincam I b: 26 NOV 1858 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania
Mother: Minnie Victoria HAINES b: 13 OCT 1862 in Holland Landing, York Co., Ontario
Married: Priscilla TEASDALE b: 14 DEC 1909 in Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN, USA
Married: 30 SEP 1935 in Elkton, Cecil Co., MD, USA
Survivors: Wife and sons John, Milton, and David Rubincam.
Milton Rubincam, Top Genealogist, Dies at 88
By ROBERT McG. THOMAS Jr.
Published: September 14, 1997
New York Times
Milton Rubincam, a dogged and inspired researcher who spent the better part of his life swinging through family trees, sometimes finding plums, sometimes snapping off favorite branches, died on Tuesday at a hospital in Washington.
Mr. Rubincam, who lived in Hyattsville, Md., was 88 and known as the dean of American genealogists.
Although he had a respectable career in Government, working in a succession of Federal posts from 1939 until his retirement in 1972 as chief of security for the foreign operations office at the Commerce Department, it was on nights and weekends that Mr. Rubincam came alive.
It was then that the real Rubincam emerged, a man so obsessed with the quest for ancestral authenticity that he haunted libraries and courthouse basements, poring over marriage, birth, death, land, probate and other records, then spending hours typing up his voluminous notes.
Long before he became a full-time genealogist in 1972, pursuing his own research and working for private clients, Mr. Rubincam, a largely self-taught man who attended Temple University and American University but never graduated, had established himself as a genealogical authority.
In the 1960's, for example, he was the president of the exclusive American Society of Genealogists, limited to 50 members. Along the way he became a landmark at the National Genealogical Society, serving four two-year terms as its president in the 1940's and 50's, editing the society's quarterly journal, spending 25 years as its book review editor and turning out 2,000 reviews of his own.
A protege of Donald Lines Jacobus, the father of modern American scientific genealogy -- in which a requirement for firm documentary evidence replaced vague and sometimes fanciful family recollections as the basis for genealogical research -- Mr. Rubincam was a master at ferreting out the obscure official document or assembling the mass of subsidiary evidence that would establish a crucial family link.
Sometimes, to be sure, the evidence would not be there, or would point in the wrong direction.
As a result, more than a few of Mr. Rubincam's clients were dismayed to learn that they were not in fact descended from the luminaries whose presumed connection to their families had prompted them to engage him in the first place.
He learned early not to trust everything he saw in print, especially if it appeared in one of the wave of family genealogies produced in the late 19th century after President Ulysses S. Grant, to help commemorate the national centennial in 1876, urged all Americans to record their family histories for posterity.
Milton Rubincam was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Ocean City, N.J., where his widowed mother ran a hotel. He traced his interest in genealogy to childhood tales told by his Uncle Al about the illustrious Rubincam family and its descent from Charlemagne. The name Rubincam was French, his uncle said, and meant ''field of blood.''
As he never tired of recounting, it was not until Mr. Rubincam, fired by his uncle's stories, began digging into his ancestry that he learned the name was German and meant something like ''field of turnips,'' a discovery that prompted a friend to draw up a Rubincam family crest dominated by a turnip rampant.
By the time he uncovered the awful truth about the Rubincams (their earliest known progenitors were Protestant preachers, not potentates) it was too late: Mr. Rubincam was hooked on genealogy.
But then he was a man who was uncommonly loyal to his childhood passions. When he was 12 he met an Ocean City girl named Priscilla Teasdale and never looked back. They were married in 1935 and remained together until his death.
For all his devotion to his wife, she and her family were victims of one of Mr. Rubincam's most devastating research projects. After tracing his own family back to 16th-century Germany (and producing a book on the Philadelphia Rittenhouses from whom he was also descended), he turned his attention to his wife's family -- and proceeded to prove that they were not descended from the signer of the Declaration of Independence they had long regarded as an ancestor.
Not to worry. As consolation, Mr. Rubincam offered incontrovertible proof that his wife was a descendant of a noted Revolutionary War general -- through an illegitimate child he fathered in an illicit union with the nurse of his legitimate daughter.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Rubincam is survived by three sons, John, of Hyattsville; Milton 3d, of Rockville, Md., and David, of Lanham, Md., and one grandson -- none of whom have shown any inclination to follow in Mr. Rubincam's genealogical footsteps.
As his son John said, ''We were victims of genealogical overkill.''
Milton Rubincam (1858 - 1916)
Minnie Victoria Haines Rubincam (1862 - 1932)
Priscilla Teasdale Rubincam (1909 - 2002)
John Philip Rubincam (____ - 2015)*
Created by: Zoe Tom
Record added: Nov 10, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100464559