family history and genealogy


Andy Kubrin writes about family history with a relish for the offbeat, the comic, and the absurd. In a group biography that spans the twentieth century, he traces the lives of his forebears in detailed character studies, ever watchful for their shrewdness, eccentricity, and the historical significance of their goings-on.

Drawing on oral history, memorabilia, and published account, his chronicle takes the full measure of this family’s tragedy, dysfunction, and greatness. We meet a tailor, a magnate, an arsonist, and an intellectual. One great-grandfather peddles cardboard boxes on the streets of Spanish Harlem; another shepherds his family on a grand world tour. A mother holds her dying child in her arms. Siblings make war on one another. One uncle upholds the tenets of bourgeois orthodoxy while another rails against the system. All these relatives pose essential questions: Who am I? How did I emerge from this family?

Andy Kubrin holds an MFA from Bennington College. His work has appeared in The Florida Review and Fourth Genre. Originally from Los Angeles, he now lives in Calgary, Alberta.

Please visit Contact to get in touch with Andy.


  1. Racky

    Like your hands on descriptions and humor. Hey! Is that picture what you look lke now?

    The site lloks professional! Congratulations, I hope your stamina provides many more musings, incidents and glances into your past.

  2. Robert E Lewis

    I have been researching the Kopelmans and Kubrins in New Kensington PA and elsewhere, and their connections to the Rubin family in Pittsburgh, especially that of Jack Rubin and his son Ken (my daughter’s father-in-law). I find your comments enormously helpful.

    • Andy Kubrin

      Hi Robert,
      Good to hear from you. Any Kubrins or Kopelmans you find in New Kensington are almost certainly my people.
      Can you tell me more about the Rubin family? That name is new to me. How are our two families connected?
      Thanks for visiting the site.

      • Robert E Lewis

        My son-in-law’s father, Jack Rubin, was the son of Rabbi Reuben Yonah Rubinovitz (later Rubin), whose second wife was Kahla Kopstein. Reuben’s first wife was Nakhama (Naomi) Kopelman (1863-1897), the daughter of Samuel Ella (Schlomo Zalman) Kopelman (born 1840). Her sister was Topezelda (Toibe Zelda, or Tillie Z) Kopelman, who married Harry Kurdabrin (later Kubrin) and whom you have written extensively about. One of the Kopsteins (Isidor) moved first to western Penna., but later joined the rest of the Kopsteins who had settled in Brooklyn. Before he moved to Brooklyn, Jack Rubin “lived almost a year with Kopelmans and Kubrins in the New Kensington, Arnold area of according to the family historian (Irvin “Daidy” Rubin, 1920-1977)), who researched the family history by snail mail (before the computer age!). Confusing relationships, but I hope they are clear.

        • Andy Kubrin

          Hi Bob,
          First, my apologies for my delay in replying. I’ve had a very busy week, and I didn’t have a chance to get back to before now.
          Your information is fascinating. If I understand you right, you’re saying that your son-in-law’s grandfather (Rabbi Reuben Yonah Rubinovitz) was married to Toibe Zelda Kopelman’s sister.
          That means your son-in-law and I are distant cousins, I believe. Please give him my greetings.
          Thanks again for checking in. I’d love to hear more.

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