Sunday, November 5, 2017

The First Newcomer Family Reunion

Copied by Carol M. Newcomer-Cox from The Waldron Recorder, July 8, 1937, Waldron, Michigan USA. The family group in this account are the descendants of George Debolt Newcomer.

The Newcomer Family reunion was held Sunday July 4 at the beautiful country home of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Newcomer.

This was the first reunion to be held by the family group. A bountiful co-operative dinner was served. All but four if the family group were present for the first gathering. Guests included Mr. and Mrs. Clare Tedrow and son George, Mr. and Mrs. Wave Tedrow; Mrs. James Tedrow, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Tedrow and son Jimmy of Delta, Ohio, Mrs. Mert Newcomer, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Leininger and daughter Ruth of Wauseon, O. Miss Dorothea Leininger of Detroit, Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Lee and Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Lee and family of Waldron, Mr. and Mrs. N.J. McCully and daughter of Midland, Mich., Mr. and Mrs. C.O. Merrifield, Montpelier, O., Mrs. Lawrence Ruffer and daughter, Nancy of Archbold, O.

An invitation was extended by Mr. and Mrs. Clare Tedrow for the next reunion to be held at their home the first Sunday in July 1938.

Monday, January 18, 2016

How Many Generations Back is Enough?

How far back into your ancestry do you want to go? The following table gives a count of how many ancestors you have at each level back. The far right column gives the percentage of genetic makeup you have from each individual from that generation. For example line 4 is your great-grandparents. Normally there are 8 individuals of that generation. That means that each of those individuals of that generation contributed 12.5% of the genetic makeup that is you and your full siblings. You can see that after the 7th generation back, the individual contribution to your gene pool drops below 1 percent, and the further back you go the thinner the genetic contribution becomes per individual of that generation.

But that said, you will say to me that though it is true that at Generation 20, the blood relation per individual is pretty thin, yet the 540,672 individuals of that generation are an absolutely vital link in who we are genetically today. And that assessment is entirely correct! As an aside, I estimate that Generation 20 takes you back somewhere around 800 years.

How far back you go in your ancestry is a matter of personal choice influenced by time and resources available, as well as availability to reliable genealogical sources. I also realize how I am speaking about this chart suffers from a mathematical simplicity that does not necessarily accord with actual genealogy; cousins marry cousins and so forth. That said, I trust the chart will give you some things to think about. After all, we are the descendants of survivors, and as you think of all the ups and downs of history over the last several thousand years, there is something to be said for that.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Grandma Dolly Lucy (Britton) Bavin: A Tribute

I think I have already mentioned elsewhere how in the 1850's Lucius Britton brought his family from Vermont to Michigan, and his youngest, O. Wilber Britton came to run the grist mill near Pittsford, Michigan. In 1875 Wilber married Angela Elizabeth Sloan. It is through Angela we are connected to the New England Sloan and Beal families.

Wilber and Angela had a total of 13 children, of which two would die in infancy, another two sons would die, one at the age of 29 and the other at age 20, while a third son was killed as a soldier fighting in France in World War 1.

Their 8th child was a daughter named Dollie Lucy Britton, born August 15, 1889. Dollie was 28 years old when on June 2, 1917, she married Cecil Charles Bavin. A short nine days later her father Wilber committed suicide. Wilber’s death had implications for the family that have reverberated down through the generations to this very day. To addition to the family tragedy, it was that next year when her brother George was killed in France on October 21, 1918 in the midst of the Muse-Argonne offensive and three weeks to the day before the Armistice ended the war.

My Grandfather Cecil Bavin was four years younger than Grandma, and it was also somewhat unusual at that time for a single woman to marry at what was thought of then as a late age. I do not know anything about how they met or how long their courtship was.

My Aunt Joyce was the first to come along on October 15, 1918; being barely a week old when her Uncle George was killed in France.

My mother, Mildred Marie Bavin was born January 29, 1920. The story has been told that when Mom was born, the Bavin family was living in a log cabin house on Camden Rd, just west of the spot in the road that is called Betzer; the corner of Camden Rd. and Pittsford Rd. in Hillsdale County, Michigan. According to this story there was snow blowing into the house through the chinks in the log walls when Mom was born.

Uncle Bob came along on November 1, 1921; followed by Aunt Gela on June 21, 1923, and Uncle George on January 8, 1926.

My Grandfather was a farmer. In 1927 he was injured in a farm accident when runaway horses pulled a roller over him. This laid him up but he tried to do more than he should have, and a blood clot took his life. He died on June 12, 1927, just before his 34th birthday. My mother was 7 ½ years old when her father died.

Grandma Bavin never remarried, remaining a widow for the rest of her life. And she was to go on to raise her five children through the Great Depression, and as a mother, watch two sons and one daughter serve in the military in World War 2. Mother mentioned to me one time how the family had been supported through those times by public assistance.

Mom also had memories of the family getting on the back of a truck and heading off to Toledo for a Britton family reunion. That probably would have been at her Great-Uncle Quincy Britton’s place in Toledo, Ohio. Mom also had good memories of her Uncle Bill, George William Bavin who was a successful businessman in South Bend, Indiana. Uncle Bill was Grandpa’s younger brother, and Grandpa was in South Bend when he passed away. I infer from that fact that Uncle Bill had helped his older brother’s family through that time.

There was one pain and grief in my Grandma Bavin’s life that I was a personal witness to. Uncle Bob had served in the Army during the war. He never married and lived with and looked after Grandma. He developed health issues and had as I recall some kind of cancer or leukemia. I have a number of memories of Uncle Bob of which I will have to speak another time. My last memory of seeing him alive was when I went with Mom and Dad to visit him while he was in the ward of the Veteran’s hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In September of 1968 he passed away. I still remember going to Grandma Bavin’s house where the family was gathered together. She sat there in her chair, a solemn sober faced lady as the rest of the family made the funeral arrangements. I never saw Grandma cry or heard her complain, but etched into that face was a lifetime of mixed pain and grief and sorrow, not that there had never been any joy or happiness too, but nonetheless a life that knew much of tragedy. She loved all of her fourteen grandchildren and we all loved her.

My Grandma Bavin left this vale of tears on July 24, 1974. Nancy and I lived in Indiana at the time. We made the trip back to Michigan for Grandma Bavin’s funeral. We still miss her. Those fourteen of us who are her grandchildren had our hearts and lives touched by our Grandma Bavin to a degree I don’t think we realize even after a lifetime.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Our Britton Family Mayflower Connection

In the history of Westmoreland, New Hampshire we find the Latham family becoming part of our particular Britton line of descent. In that account William Britton IV (1733-1778) marries Mary Latham, daughter of James and Abigail (Harvey) Latham.

This Mary Latham is identified in the Mayflower Families as a descendent of James Chilton, the Mayflower passenger who died on board ship in Cape Cod Harbor, now known as Provincetown.

From the Mayflower genealogy as cited below, we can trace the line of descent as follows:

James Chilton (1563-1620) and Susanna Furner (1564-1621) are recorded as having ten children of which the third child and first daughter was Mary Chilton (1607-1678).

Mary Chilton married John Winslow (1597-1674) and they had nine children, of which the oldest was a daughter Susanna (1630-1685).

Susanna Winslow married Robert Latham (Abt. 1623-1688/1689). They had seven children of which the youngest son was Chilton (1671-1751).

Chilton Latham and Susanna Kingman (1679-1776) had eight children of which the fourth was a son named James (1708-1792). It was this James Latham that married Abigail Harvey, and Mary Latham (1744-1827) was the third of their five children.

With the listing of the five children of Chilton and Susanna, the Mayflower Families account ends. It is from the Westmoreland History we learn that Mary Latham married our William Britton IV.

This William Britton served in the Revolutionary War as a soldier in “Capt. John Cole’s Company at Bennington 1777.” He died in 1778 of Smallpox. It was from our descent from this William Britton that my mother established her membership in the Daughter of the American Revolution (DAR).

The next few generations are found in the Westmoreland History. William and Mary had six children of which the second was a son named Benjamin (1769-1857). Benjamin’s wife was Sarah, but we do not know what her maiden name was. Benjamin and Sarah had five children of which the second was a son named Lucius (1807-1883).

This was the Lucius Britton who with his wife Phebe Hart brought their five remaining children from Vermont, and settled in Ransom Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan. The oldest son Louis (1833-1852) had died in Vermont.

After arriving in Michigan, their daughter Louisa (1841-1857) died. That left them with four surviving sons, William Bailey, Christopher H., Quincy M., and my Great Grandfather Orendo Wilber Britton. All of the descendants of these four brothers share that link to William and Mary (Latham) Britton, and thus to the Mayflower.

My own line at this point is:

Orendo Wilber Britton and Angelia Sloan > Dollie Britton and Cecil Bavin > Mildred Bavin and Rex Newcomer > Joy, Carol, John, and myself.


Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Vol. Two (Robert M. Sherman, Editor; General Society of Mayflower Descendants; (1978)), pg. 84.

History of Westmoreland (Great Meadow) New Hampshire, 1741-1970, And Genealogical Data, (Westmoreland History Com., Westmoreland, NH; (1976)), pgs. 348 - 355, 486 - 488; (Cheshire Co., NH)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cousins: Family and Connection

Of all of my 1st cousins on my father's side of the family, I was the baby of that generation of the clan. By the time I came along in 1949, many of those cousins were already in high school, and some were already married with children of there own, a couple of such children being as old or even a little order then me.

That providence of differing ages made family get-together's interesting for me. As a young kid, it was a little fuzzy at times as to how everyone related to me. The other impact was that I did not have the degree of mutual experiences with these older cousins that I had with those on Mom's side of the family that were more my age and generation. That pretty well describes the gap that existed; it was a generation gap. Some of them were actually closer to my Father in age then they were to me. Sadly, some of those cousins are no longer with us; they have passed away and the opportunity to connect and relate has passed.

With my retirement back in December of 2013, I find I am now having time to "catch up" with the lives of some of those older cousins who are still with us. We've had occasion to get together and visit, and share some of the stories of our lives. I find in that a certain fulfillment. These cousins are family and also friends. I hear stories about my Grandpa and Grandma, and about my Aunts and Uncles, and of course, the cousins themselves. After all these years, I am connecting with them on a level not previously known. That's pretty neat, and it is pretty precious.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Livia Jidov-Williamson Baldwin

Liva (Jidov-Williamson) Baldwin was born June 20, 1914, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was the firstborn child of Dan (Dimitri) & Gafia Jidov. She passed away Wednesday, February 26, 2014 in Texas. She was 4 months shy of reaching the age of 100.

Livia was preceded in death by her parents, her six younger siblings, Malany, Ann, Elizabeth, Julie, George, and James, as well as her first husband Albert C. Williamson, and second husband Jerry Baldwin.

She is survived by her three children, Thomas (Janet) Williamson of Wheaton,Illinois; Beverly (Dennis) Stostad of Round Rock, Texas; and Nancy (Bill) Newcomer, Ada, Michigan; 7 grandchildren, and 9 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held Monday, March 3, 2014, 9:45 AM, at the Cook-Walden-Davis Funeral home in Georgetown, TX; Pastor Rick Brann officiating. Interment will be at the Central Texas Veterans Cemetery, Killeen, Texas. A private family time of remembrance will be held at a later date.

Arrangements through Cook-Walden Davis Funeral Home, 2900 Williams Drive, Georgetown, TX

Mom loved The Lord, and her confidence in life and in death was in her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Herbert Lawrence Ruffer

Herbert Lawrence Ruffer
Born in Michigan on Aug. 10, 1940
Passed away on Aug. 10, 2013 and resided in San Pedro, CA.

August 10, 1940 – August 10, 2013

Born in a farmhouse in Michigan to Florence Newcomer Ruffer and Lawrence Ruffer, Herb grew up loving farm- fresh fruits and vegetables and hating milk and eggs. He graduated from Baldwin- Wallace College in Ohio with a degree in religion. Abandoning a plan to become a Mennonite minister, Herb joined the Air Force where he was stationed in Texas and Colorado and served as a Supply Sergeant in Saigon during the Vietnam War.

He and his wife and son lived in Cherry Hill, NJ. Following a successful career in the commercial casualty insurance field, Herb moved to San Pedro, where he married his second wife, Sherry. He loved the ocean, marine life, and USC football. He was a docent at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and the Marine Mammal Care Center, both in San Pedro.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Gail and sister, Mary. He is survived by his son, Guy; daughter-in-law, Kerstan; wife, Sherry; brother, David; sisters, Anne and Nancy; three beautiful grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

He passed away from complications of MS. Following cremation by McNerney's Mortuary, scattering of Herb's ashes at sea and a memorial service will be private. Donations may be made to FRIENDS of Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Marine Mammal Care Center or a charity of your choice.

(McNerney's Mortuary, 570 W. 5th Street, San Pedro, California)

Herb was a first cousin. His mother Florence was my Father's sister.

When I was a young lad, there was a time I was at Aunt Florence's place in the country near Archbold, Ohio. It was a warm sunny day with a good breeze blowing. My much older cousin Herb took me to an open field across the road, and he flew a box kite he had attached to the line of a fishing reel. He let me full the strong tug of the pull of the kite as it danced and sailed in the breeze way up in the sky. I never forgot that. Thank you for the memory Herb... RIP...