Archive for January, 2011

buying cards, spraying perfume

January 15, 2011

ūüôā¬† Interesting title.

If you decide to buy cards for people when they are going through something– good or bad– you will buy a lot of cards. It’s amazing how many things come up, between weddings & showers, graduations, birthdays, and then sickness, difficulties, and of course, loss of a loved one. Makes you realize people are going through things all the time.

The other part to the title is something I’d just like to state. I still love spraying my mom’s perfumes, which I accumulated after her death 3 1/2 years ago. She collected them, like she collected many things, and I was never allowed to touch them. She had many possessions she never used or touched.

I have always loved smells. Fragrances. They are memorable to me. So I now have an assortment that used to sit on her bathroom shelf, now on my bathroom shelf, of all sorts of fragrances. Some of them are so old, they really have an oldness to the smell as well. But I still enjoy them. It’s one of life’s little delights, to me.


beginning a semester

January 13, 2011

I forgot how much fun is the beginning of a semester.

No one has yet failed. Anything. Assignment, test or class. No one is yet tired of the class, either student or professor. All is an atmosphere of newness, expectation, excitement, hopefulness. Students hope their class will be interesting, perhaps challenging or maybe even “easy”. They hope to see people they know or like, or people who they might find a relationship with. Professors hope their students will be interested, engaged, contributing. Everyone hopes to be liked. Everyone hopes all the energy & effort they put into this project will somehow be worth it. And we don’t yet know.

It is all drop & add, drop & add for the next week. Then people finally settle into their classes & we get rolling.

James Agnew wrap-up

January 12, 2011
So my vacation is over. I go to campus today to print syllabi and meet a transfer student.
As a wrap-up on James Agnew, I realize I am not capable of solving this puzzle on my own. I am happy with the ton of new information I discovered in this past month and before that, which has been a lot of work, but I still do not know from where came our James. I want to tell you the possibilities. What do we know for sure? Jim, maybe you can share this w/ Jonathon & your girls.
One thing we know is this family is dang hard to research! You would think with a name like AGNEW it wouldn’t be that hard to trace. Simple name, easy spelling. But in the census records, it can be spelled wrongly a bunch of times. Agnewe, Egnew, & my all-time favorite: AGNENE.¬† (what??)¬† This is because census takers are human, and people at are also human, & when someone is reading what someone hand-wrote-down in 1840-1900, they make stupid mistakes. Makes for hell when you’re trying to look up a name in a database, though.
So what do we know for sure about our James? His birth date is July 7, 1841. We know this from an old family letter from Norma Dickerson, daughter of¬†a daughter of James. James’ last children were a set of twins: John Wesley (my grandfather) and Gertrude Myrtle (mother of Norma).¬†¬†his birthdate is also confirmed on his gravestone. In censuses, James & his children¬†almost always say he was born in OHIO, so that is probably for sure. (I think in 1 census he says Indiana.) Ohio has no birth records back that far, at all, by state or county. All we know for sure after that is that he shows up in New Albany, Indiana, and marries our great-grandmother, Carrie Bybee (spelled Bibee sometimes, & her first name is Clara or Caree or Clarie)— in 1879. He is 10 yrs. her senior. He is 38.
So we KNOW, our roots as Agnews are in southern Indiana, & probably southern Ohio. Before 1879, I find this:
in OHIO, there are James Agnews that appear in the 1850 & 1860 census records the age of our James. They are in the Cincinnati area, in Hamilton County.
In 1850, an 8-yr-old James is reported living w/ a “James & Mary A. Agnew,” ages 38 & 22. So I think Mary is a 2nd wife of the elder James & not the mother of our 8-yr-old James here. This is the one where he is listed at the bottom of the page, as almost an “afterthought” and a star connects him to James & Mary further up on the page. (The name here is transcribed as Agnewe.)
In 1860, I do not find this family. (Who knows why?) But I DO find another (or the same?) James Agnew, age 17, living with another family in Hamilton County, OH: WILLIAM age 54, and 2 younger sisters, Ann & Jennette. (They almost ALWAYS have GIRLS, by the way!! Very few male offspring! Maybe that’s why they name them all “JAMES”.)¬†
James and Mary A. appear in Ohio again in 1880, so they did not die. This time they have a family of little girls. (Did they move somewhere & then return to Ohio? Who knows. Maybe they just escaped the census takers somehow in 1860-70.) The girls’ names are: Mary, Lizzie & Sally; and they have an adopted daughter, Hellen. (It is unusual to see this, saying “adopted daughter”.)
 By 1880, our James is now in New Albany & married to Carrie.
James and Carrie live out their lives in New Albany & have 6 children. They are:
William Robert
James Garfield (died as a baby)
Frederick Louis
Alfred Edward
and the twins: Gertrude & John Wesley (my grandpa)
I am currently working on finding any of their descendants. They many times died at early ages, & also their kids.
Between 1860 and 1879, James most likely joined the Union Army, and there are records of a James Agnew the age of our James, joining and serving from 1861-1864. Between 1864-1879 is a mystery. He could have bounced around & ended up going down the Ohio river to southern Indiana and settling in New Albany, which is right down by Louisville, just after you cross the border into Indiana (when coming north).
The only other mystery is there is another JAMES A. AGNEW IN NEW ALBANY in 1870, married to a different woman, Mary C., & they have 2 little kids: ANNIE age 5 and “CLITH” age 3. (Is this our same James? Did this first family die & then he marries Carrie in 1879?? The only way to resolve this is go to New Albany, & look in city directories for 1869 or so through 1879, & see if both these families appear, at the same time anywhere, or is there only ONE James who appears in New Albany….)¬†
As to his possible parents: the James Agnew living w/ Mary A. Agnew, in 1850 he says he was born in Ohio. The Samuel Agnew living w/ them says he was born in PA.
In 1880, James (w/ Mary A.) says he and his parents were born in PA. (There is a lot of history of Agnews coming out of Pennsylvania.)
William Agnew age 54 in the 1860 census, where a James is living w/ them age 18, says he also was from PA.
(Since William and James living w/ Mary are both in the Cincinnati area, are they brothers or cousins from some family in PA? Who knows.) To research a James and William Agnew & try to find out if they were brothers, from this time period, is very difficult. Very common first names. No birth records.
**To add to the confusion, there are 3 different “James Agnews” all about age 30, 31, 32, all immigrating in from different places, (England, Ireland, Scotland) in the 1840s…….. I kind of doubt that these are a direct family ancestor, since none of our records seem to indicate foreign ancestors, at least from what they report in the census, but it shows that the Agnews likely come from 1 of these 3 places.
Now to add more to the confusion, of course our own James Agnew, my great-grandfather, changes the story of where HIS parents were from, in different censuses. He says England and Germany one time, both England in another. Sucks for doing family history.
In the 1900 census, James says his father was born in VIRGINIA, his mother in GERMANY.
**** So I don’t know that we will ever exactly trace our roots to some specific ancestory or place, but from doing this I feel that family research will only become EASIER in the FUTURE, as more records are placed online— city directories, cemetary records which give birth & death dates, etc.¬†

name mispellings

January 9, 2011

Agnew can be:



Egnieu (old French spellings)



Plantenga in the old Dutch way is actually Plantinga,

can also be Plantaga in the census

very frustrating

a note on twins

January 9, 2011

Twins in the family

It seems that I’ve thought of more than one set of twins in the past, but now I can only think of my Grandpa Agnew, who had a twin sister, Gertrude Myrtle.

Also just remembered tonight, my grandpa on the Dutch side had 2 twin brothers born in 1897, Ralph & Clarence.

my Dutch side

January 9, 2011

Wopka Gerrits Plantinga was the son of Gerrit the Second:
Wopka Gerrits was born on April 23, 1870 near Leeuwarderadeel.¬† He lists his town of birth as Stiens.¬† Wopka was the second son of the six children of Gerrit Gerrits the second and Mathilda. Wopke was 5’7″ tall and weighed 170 pounds.¬† He had blue eyes.¬† He emigrated to the United States in October 1889 aboard the ship Amsterdam from the port of Amsterdam in Holland arriving in New York.¬† He either came with or met Katherine Hanstra and they were married in Chicago on May 3, 1893.¬† She immigrated that same yr. of ’89. Both were born in Stiens and they undoubtedly knew of each other there.¬† Their first child George, was born later in October of that same year.¬† In August of 1894, He, Katherine and son George moved to Lafayette, Indiana.¬† They had 10 more children for a total of 11.
He lists his children as:
George b:October 15, 1893 in Chicago
Gertrude b:October 29, 1895
Clarence b:November 23, 1897
Ralph b:November 23, 1897
Charles b:February 12, 1900
Tillie b:March 17, 1901
Margaret b:July 25, 1903
Anna b:October 16, 1905
Jessie b:December 20, 1910
Alberta b:August 14, 1914
Richard b:September 6, 1917
So he fathered children until he was 47 and Katherine was 45.
He became a laborer at the Monon Shops in Lafayette, Indiana.  His residence was 1147 N. 19th Street in 1936.   He declared his intention to become a US citizen in 1936.  Read the declaration here.  Then in March of 1938, he petitioned for naturalization.  His witnesses were the minister of the Christian Reformed Church, James M. Ghysels and a friend, Fred Dykstra.  His petition was continued until April of 1939, then he swore an oath of allegiance on May 18, 1939 and his petition was granted.  It is unknown if he ever became a US citizen, dying on March 29, 1940.  He was buried in Springvale Cemetery in Lafayette.  Read the petition for naturalization here.
From Dick,  his son  (2/1/2001): **(Richard was the  baby of 11; my grandpa was the oldest.)
He remembered his dad working at the Monon Shops.¬† In addition, Wopke and Charlie Hanstra truck farmed on the other side of the wildcat out on 25 east of Lafayette.¬† I asked if Charlie Hanstra was related to his mother, who was a Hanstra and he didn’t know.¬† He said Wopke was about 6′ tall.¬† He weighed about 175 lbs.¬† Church services were all day.¬† The farm they grew up on was owned by Patsy Mack, who lived in Lafayette.¬† When the highway came thru the farm was sold.¬†¬†¬† A Heart attack killed Wopke.¬† He didn’t feel good.¬† He always walked to work.¬† He started out for work and came back stating that he didn’t feel good.¬† He went in on the davenport and died.¬† Wopke lived at 1147 N. 17th Street.
Katherine Hanstra wasn’t very tall.¬† 5’6″.¬†¬† She had convulsions and the cause of her death wasn’t known.
They both came to Chicago.  They met in Chicago.

In 1930, they now live in town. Wopke Plantenga owned a house, he says, 1147 No. 17th St., & it was worth $2500. in 1930. He was 59, wife Catherine 57. They had 4 kids still at home, the youngest was 12. That was Richard, the baby, who just died in 2008, one year after my mom. Wopke lists his job as “Laborer – car shop”. That might have been when he worked for my grandpa, his¬†son, who had his own car mechanic business for awhile.

Congresswoman shot in AZ

January 9, 2011

The reason it is significant that 18 people were shot in a mass murder in AZ, at a friendly, political event where a democratic Congresswoman was meeting her constituents, is that AZ has become the hotbed of political hate speech, hateful spewing along with irresponsible suggestions of violence toward other politicians. AZ has been in the news for bigoted practices lately, and SOME people there spewing hateful comments to the world, and calling it their right to free speech. And yes, I’ll mention Sarah Palin’s incredibly unwise posted page where she included “target bullseyes” such as those you see through the telescope lens of a gun, directed at fellow politicians, one of them being the Congresswoman who got hit. She is now lying in a hospital struggling to survive and recover, with half her skull temporarily removed.

The sheriff, in his comments last night on tv, stated, “Hateful words may be free speech,¬† but it is not without consequences.” He also stated America needs to do some soul searching and develop civility. His words came from his heart, and I applaud him.

The 22-yr-old who did the shooting, it seems obvious, was mentally deranged and disturbed. The question is, does the hateful spewing BRING THIS OUT in mentally deranged people? Does it accentuate EITHER / OR and US vs. THEM mentality, and possibly ENCOURAGE lunatics to act on these hateful thoughts & feelings in the worst way possible?

I think people are responsible for the words they spew, and shame on anyone who spews hate speech to get elected. Shame on them.

This child was mentally askew. Had to be, in order to start spraying bullets, one of which killed an innocent 9-yr old girl who was there to meet her Congressional representative because she was an honor roll student. Of course, no one can be blamed for what he took their words and did with them. But the VERY INTERESTING side point is the number of people who, because of this incident, are now voicing THEIR disgust and disapproval of hateful speech by political candidates. WHETHER OR NOT this person did this act BECAUSE OF being influenced by their words, which is always an impossible thing to prove and rather pointless, people are VOICING their disgust over this hate-mongering.

People want tolerance, appreciation for our differences, respectful discourse, intelligent discussion of issues, civility toward one another, and (if you can imagine) actual LOVE of humanity for the sake of our being a creation of God. I believe people want that. Now’s the time to voice those beliefs and not be silent.

Dolly and the Hanifords

January 3, 2011
Dolly’s mother was probably Potawatomi or Miami, if she also came from Indiana. Spent a lot of time today, nothing substantial coming from it. Very frustrating.
Learned that Dolly’s father’s name was Tom Haniford, or Hanniford. Haven’t found a thing on him yet. Acc. to Aunt Lucille, he was from Ireland, but was married once before.¬†A son from that marriage name ED is who took Dolly after her Indian mother, & then her father both died by the time she was 2 yrs old. Haven’t found Ed Haniford yet either.
The Haniford family reunion was held in Rensalear, Indiana in 1941 & Aunt Lucille has a picture of Ed with Dolly, from that picnic……
The Potowatomi and Miami married with Catholics in Indiana, & we were told Dolly was taken to St. Ann’s Catholic church to be baptized, so that all works. Have a message left on phone of St. Ann’s & also trying to find out when Indiana birth records start. Renselear is a Catholic area of Indiana.
HOWEVER, we also have a photo of Dolly attending Hall School near Attica, Indiana, in 1892 when she was about 16. So she may not have moved to the area of Rensalear. All very frustrating.
Why would she be taken to St. Ann’s in Lafayette to be baptized?? No southern Indiana parishes? Did some family live in so. Indiana and others farther north & was she passed around? We know that on 31 Jan. 1897 at the age of 21, ¬†she married John Morgan, & Julia was born 10 mos. later. And we know they lived near Attica, moving to the Lafayette area by 1930.
(Dolly is Julia Black’s mother.)¬†

back home in SC

January 2, 2011

It feels strange to be back in South Carolina. I still feel like I am going to visit more family tomorrow who we have been with for the past 2 weeks in Indiana. I miss my daughter terribly. Would like to return to her house & make some coffee & hang out like I did this past week. She bought me starbucks!!

New information on Julia (Morgan) Black: Her mother was “Dolly” Johanna Hanniford, whose mother was Native American. We are going to try to find validation & what tribe. Very cool. Difficult to research, as Dolly’s mother died shortly after giving birth to her, and then her father, supposedly an Irishman, died by the time she was 2. However, they were both supposedly formerly married to others, and there are other siblings, who raised Dolly. The mystery continues to unfold. I also know where they are buried, & didn’t find out in enough time to go to the cemetary before we left Indiana.