Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Newcomer - Ost Connection

Donald A. Ost

February 7, 1928 - June 17, 2010

Donald A. Ost, 82, of Pittsford, Michigan passed away Thursday, June 17, 2010, at Hillsdale County Medical Care Facility. He was born February 7, 1928, in Adrian, Michigan the son of Martin A. and Clare (Newcomer) Ost. He married Esther Baker in Manchester, Michigan on September 22, 1948, and she survives.

Don retired from the maintenance department of Hillsdale College in 1988, after 10 years of service and he previously owned and operated Don's Garage in Pittsford for over 30 years. He graduated from Addison High School Class of 1945, served in the U.S. Navy during WWII and enjoyed woodworking.

Surviving Don besides his wife, Esther is one daughter, Kay (Tom) Sharp of Pittsford; one son, David Ost of Pioneer, Ohio; four grandchildren, Michelle (Bruce) Sharp of Hillsdale, Jennifer (Louie) Lamoth of Mosherville, Jason Sharp of Pittsford and Brian and (Danielle) Sharp of Ransom; four great great grandchildren Kimberly, Wyatt, Carter and Ellie. He was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Bonnie Valandra and one brother, Melvin Ost.

Graveside services for Don will be Monday, June 21, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. at Rome Center Cemetery with Dr. Rev. Samuel Wickard officiating. Visitation will be Saturday from 6-8 p.m. at Eagle Funeral Home in Hudson.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to Pittsford Jefferson Fire Department.

After my Great-grandfather George Debolt Newcomer returned from his service in the Union Army after the Civil War, he married Clara Poorman on Dec. 28, 1869. George and Clara had one son, Frank Melvin Newcomer (1870 -1923). Clara (Poorman) Newcomer died in May 1875 when Frank was 4 years old.

George Newcomer remarried in Dec. 1875 to Malinda Mikesell. The offspring of that second marriage was two daughters, Ethel and Mary, and one son, my Grandfather Guy Vernon Newcomer.

Frank Melvin Newcomer married Myrtle Kessler. Our family records indicate Frank and Myrtle had two daughters, Eva and Louise. It was "Louise" who married an Ost and had three childrem, Yvonne, Donald, and Melvin.

Then tonight I came across Donald's obituary as copied above. In the above obituary Doanld's mother's name is "Clare (Newcomer) Ost". At that point I went to the Social Security Death Index Search at and did a search on "Clare Ost", and got no results.

I tried another search for "Claire Ost" and got a bingo:

"Claire L. Ost" Birth: May 7, 1907. Death: Oct. 6, 1995. Last residence: Ottawa Lake, Monroe County, Michigan.

I have a dollar bill that says the middle initial "L" is for Louise.

But an educated hunch, no matter how probable, is not proof. What I need is objective documentation that this Claire Ost is indeed Frank Newcomer's daughter. That documentation will have to wait until I come up with the $ 27.00 to send off to the Social Security Administration for a copy of Claire Ost's application for a Social Security number.

This is a situation that illustrates some of the pitfalls of genealogical research. I have a name, but it may prove out that name was a middle name. The name given in an obituary is different then the name I have and is spelled slightly different from the name found in the SSA Death Index.

The other issue is where my data says Donald's sister is Yvonne, the obituary calls her Bonnie. We have another discrepancy that calls for investigation.

Check, double check, and recheck, and even then there is an outside chance you get it wrong, and future genealogists will pick up on your work and perpetuate your mistake.

Addendum February 16, 2011

Esther Lou Ost
March 15, 1931 - February 6, 2011

Esther L. Ost, 79, of Pittsford, Michigan passed away Sunday, February 6, 2011, at Hillsdale County Medical Care Facility. She was born March 15, 1931, in Somerset Center, Michigan the daughter of Floyd and Josephine (Spencer) Baker. She married Donald A. Ost in Manchester, Michigan on September 22, 1948, and he preceded her in death on June 17, 2010.

Esther retired as an auditor from Hillsdale College in 1988, after 25 years of service

Surviving Esther is one daughter, Kay (Tom) Sharp of Pittsford; one son, David Ost of Pioneer, Ohio; four grandchildren, Michelle (Bruce) Sharp of Hillsdale, Jennifer (Louie) LaMoth of Mosherville, Jason (Kimberly) Sharp of Nelsonville, Ohio and Brian Sharp of Ransom; four great great grandchildren Kimberly, Wyatt, Carter and Ellie; one sister, Harriet (Donald) Dear of Sarasota, Florida. She was preceded in death by her parents, husband and two brothers, Leo and Larry Baker.

Graveside services for Esther will be Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at North Rome Cemetery with Dr. Rev. Samuel Wickard officiating. Visitation will be Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Eagle Funeral Home in Hudson.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to Alzheimer's Association.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Martha (Lee) Gray & her Daughter Sadie

This picture is a scan of one of a series of tintypes that are in my father's possession. The families pictured in the tintypes are of the Gray and Lee families. In the majority of them we can only conjecture who the people in the picture are. This one we are pretty sure of.

The little girl is my Grandmother Sarah (Sadie) Elizabeth Gray with her mother Martha (Lee) Gray. This picture would have to have been taken relatively shortly before Martha passed away Feb, 12, 1886 at the early age of 26. Sadie was only 4 1/2 when her mother died. Sadie's older brother had died in infancy in 1880.

Seven months latter in Sept. of 1886, Sadie's father Francis (Frank) Gray remarried to Mary Herriman. Frank and Mary had seven children, giving Sadie 5 brothers and two sisters.

(The Lee/Gray Tintypes can be seen on my Rootsweb site.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Lee - Borton - Clark - Ladd Connection

My paternal Great-grandmother, Martha Jane Lee was born in 1860, and married Francis (Frank) Gray on Feb. 4,1875. Her only surviving child was my Grandmother, Sarah (Sadie) Elizabeth (Gray) Newcomer. Martha had just turned 26 years old when she died on Feb. 12, 1886. Little Sadie Gray was only 4 1/2 years old when her mother died. Her father remarried, and she was raised by her step-mother.

Martha (Lee) Gray had an older sister Mary Ann Lee (1844 - 1923) who waa married to Silas Borton. Mary and Silas had a daughter, Ella May Borton (1870 - 1943), who married Edwin Elmer Clark.

It was through Edwin and Ella's daughter Ida Jane Clark (1897 - ????) the connection was made to the Ladd family. Ida Clark married Ernest Efflin Ladd.

Ernest and Ida's son, Ernest Lavoy Ladd married Elizabeth Wiederkher. This is the Ladd family that lives near Waldron, Michigan on the Meridian Rd. (US-127). If I have this figured out correctly, Ernest Lavoy Ladd is my third cousin.

I know Ernest and Elizabeth's sons, Stephen and Mark, through our time together at the Waldron High School. I had been told we had some "shirt-tail" cousin relationship, and it was a desire to pin down that relationship that led to this posting. If you are keeping score, I and my siblings are related to Stephan and Mark as 3rd cousins, once removed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

She had a "Baby" Brother

Joy Anne Newcomer

December 28, 1943 - June 2, 2010

Joy Newcomer, 66, of Waldron passed away Wednesday, June 2, 2010, at home. She was born on December 28, 1943, in Hudson the daughter of Rex & Mildred (Bavin) Newcomer.

Joy lived most of her life in the Waldron area where she was a graduate of the Waldron High School. Joy earned a teaching degree at Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the Lakeville Community School (near Flint) in 1997, after thirty years of service.

Survivors include her parents, Rex & Mildred Newcomer of Waldron; a sister, Carol (Mike) Newcomer-Cox of Morenci; two brothers, John (Carol) Newcomer of Chantilly, Virginia, and Bill (Nancy) Newcomer of Ada; and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral service will be on Monday, June 7, 2010, at 11:00 AM at the Waldron First Church of Christ with minister Don Crain officiating. Burial will follow at the Waldron Cemetery. There will be a visitation on Sunday from 4 until 8 PM at the church.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Waldron First Church of Christ or to the Waldron District Library.years old,

Arrangements were through the Eagle Funeral Home-Charles Fink Chapel in Morenci.


On one of the bookshelves in our parent's house are three pictures together in a tri-fold picture frame. The picture on the right is a young boy about 2 1/2 years old. The center frame holds a picture of a young girl about 4 years old. There are two people in the frame on the left; a young girl about 6 years old is holding a bottle in her right hand for the baby laying on the pillow. Her left elbow rests on the pillow as she rests her head in the upheld hand. Her hair is long, hanging down below her shoulders.

The young girl holding the bottle for her baby brother is my sister Joy. The story is that at a very early age I worked hard at putting the grump in "grumpy". The only way they could get my picture taken was to have Joy give me the bottle. She was the oldest of the four of us and I was the youngest. The girl in the center picture was my other sister Carol, and the picture on the right was of my brother John.

This was during our early years when we lived on the Newcomer farmstead on Tuttle Rd. near Waldron, Michigan scarcely a few miles north of Ohio state line.

It was at this house where the alleged hammer incident took place. Joy and Carol had been playing on the enclosed porch. There was a little fuss about something or another, and all of a sudden a hammer was flying through the air and into the kitchen door window, breaking said window. That alleged incident aside, the two sisters remained friends.

The years went by. We now lived around the corner, down the road on the Hartley Rd. farm. Joy, being the oldest, was the first to get her drivers license. Dad didn't have to drive us kids to all the various things we needed to go to. Somewhere in those years, both Joy and Carol had been involved in 4-H. Joy had played clarinet in the band until she had to have braces. She then was in the percussion section.

I was now in Junior High. We had a study hall, and there were some Senior girls in that study hall. Joy was one of them. She was graduating from high school. At the Commencement program, she walked across the stage and received her diploma. There was an open house reception at our house afterwards.

Another four and a half years, and I sat with mom and dad at the commencement program at Eastern Michigan University. We watched Joy again cross a stage as she received her college diploma.

Joy never married. I remember her having one date with some brainy intellectual guy, but nothing came of it.

She loved her nieces and nephews who came along over the years, but her main legacy lives on in the children that passed through her 2nd grade classroom during her 30 some years of teaching. I find myself wondering how many of them went on to be doctors, teachers, engineers, lawyers, etc. She was at the same. school long enough to have some students who were children of previous students.

Eventually she retired and moved back to the Waldron area. She became involved in her church, helping out with the food pantry and Bible studies. She and a few of her friends would get together and they learned how to play Bridge. Her friend Sue mentioned to me about how Joy would trump her ace, keeping a straight face, then with a chuckle and grin playing the trump card.

Over the past year her health deteriorated. It became clear this was going to be it. She began to put her affairs in order. She told us she had made her peace with God, and was ready.

When we heard she had become bedridden, we changed our plans for the Memorial Day weekend, and went down home a week early. We visited with her knowing it was probably the last time we would see her alive in this world. We said our goodbye.

A week and a half latter while at work, I got the call...