Charles Albert Britcher, Jr


The inscription on the back of this photograph reads, “Charles Britcher (neighbor of Ruth Wilkinsburg)”. I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing: How do I find a Charles Britcher and a Ruth Wilkinsburg who are neighbors?


It turns out that, according to the Census of 1920, Charles Albert Britcher, Jr. (1915-1984) and Ada Ruth Tonkin (1914-1992) were neighbors on McClure Avenue in Swissvale, PA.


The note says they were neighbors in Wilkinsberg, but Swissvale is nearby, one township over.

Charles’ family lived in 7244 McClure Avenue and Ruth’s family lived in 7244 1/2 McClure Avenue. In the below image we see that the lattice work behind little Charles is still a feature of this dwelling, though mostly covered by plants:


Charles was the only child of Charles, Sr. (1884-1965) and Margaret Elizabeth Yentsch (1887-1964). He married Dorothy Elizabeth Lind (1919-2005) and they had three children. Here is Charles’ portrait in the Allderdice High School yearbook, “The Allderdice,” from 1933:


Ruth, as she was known, and the order of her given names was often confused, is not the subject of our found photograph, but aren’t you a little bit interested in her? Ruth was the daughter of Ellsworth NMI Tonkin (1883-1944) and Ada May Quick (1888-1969). She married William Digby Cecil, Sr, in 1947 and they had one son. Ruth went to Edgewood High School which closed in the 1980’s. Edgewood is the little township tucked in between Swissvale and Wilkinsburg. It would be great to have a photograph of Ruth and Charles together, and perhaps one is out there somewhere. We’ll have to settle for this image of Ruth from her University of Pittsburgh yearbook, “The Owl,” when she was a senior in 1936:




7 thoughts on “Charles Albert Britcher, Jr

  1. Fun entry…thanks! Ruth is my mother. She and Bill have two daughters and a son. I have lots of photos of Ruth but didn’t know about her neighbor Charles. I happened to be looking for info on Ellsworth and came upon your post.

  2. Great detective work! I found Charles Britcher noted in my Mom’s Baby Book as one of her playmates. You identified the right Ruth for sure. I posted a copy up on Imgur. Thanks again. Incidentally, Ruth was going to be named Ruth Ada Tonkin but her parents weren’t happy with those initials. They decided on Ada Ruth but she always went by Ruth because her mother was Ada.

    1. Great information! It is very satisfying to hear that you found young Charles in the baby book. That you posted it on Imgur may explain why I had a record number of hits on my blog yesterday. I could not find your post on Imgur. If you could email it to me at I would like to view it.

  3. Here’s the imgur link:
    I only posted up a couple of pages of the baby book there. I also accidentally connected it to my name on your blog so you’ll see it if you click on me here. I scanned the whole book awhile back before I passed it along to Ruth’s oldest granddaughter. I’ll send you a pdf copy if you’re interested, but the email I tried to send you yesterday with it attached bounced back…not sure why.

    My sister in Baltimore has been sorting and dispersing family “stuff” so I’m guessing that’s how you came by the photo. Our parents were savers and we’ve been working at simplifying a bit as we get older ourselves. Made a fun project for you! Isn’t the www amazing?!? Happy hunting…

    1. Thank you. I was able to find your post on Imjur and give it a heart. It was great to see this post progress this way. Watch this space for when some of Charles Albert Britcher, Jr.’s folks find it.

  4. Sweet. I’m Craig Britcher, Chuck’s [Papa’s] grandson. I’m an assistant curator of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum at the Heinz History Center. Love seeing this!

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