Archive for January, 2012

Agnew family history frustration

January 27, 2012

Here is my Agnew family history research for the night, which led to nowhere.

James Agnew’s father is James Agnew. The elder James is married to Mary. It is pointless to search for records on a “James & Mary” Agnew as there are about 10M of them. Elder James lists his birth place as Ohio, his parents’ as PA. Mary is born in PA. Searched for a marriage record for them in PA or OH to no avail.

James & Mary can be traced through the 1880 census still in Hamilton County, OH. They have a number of kids. Mary cannot be our James’ mother, unless she had him at 14. So I’d like to find any sort of records on the elder James, to lead to his first WIFE which would probably be our James’ mother? An elderly Samuel Agnew is living w/ them in 1850. James is 38, Mary is 22 and our James is 8 yrs. old. The elderly Samuel is 70-something…….. he came from PA also. There is a famous Samuel Agnew born in 1778 which would be a match…….. but he supposedly died in 1849. He DID have a son named JAMES who everyone lists as dying in 1870, so that is not OUR ELDERLY JAMES, because he is still with Mary in the 1880 census.  🙂 


James & Mary have many other children, mostly girls, though Alfred is born in 1849. Then there is a Mary E., Lizzie, Sallie, & an adopted daughter Hellen.

Searched findagrave for cemetary markers for any of them, to no avail. The 1890 census was mostly destroyed in a fire. Anccestry has put together city directory records, etc., to patch some of it. Found a widow Mary Agnew in Hamilton County, Ohio, in 1901. She is living w/ a David Agnew & “Annie”. I do not see that James & Mary ever had a son David. (It could be another relative she is living with.)

Published our Agnew family story in an international Agnew newsletter this month, was hoping someone somewhere might respond with clues. Nothing yet.

Do not know Mary’s maiden name.


poem, Dr. Martin Luther King holiday

January 16, 2012

Dr. Martin Luther King holiday

You got no mail today.

Did you notice? Do you know why?

Because this is a National Holiday,

a day set aside

to honor someone

who made a difference.

He was not some rabble-rouser

Tryin’ to stir up folks for no good reason,

He was a preacher of the Word of God,

which is where he found his strength to go on,

Because when God gets behind you,

It doesn’t matter who is in front of you

Calling you names,

Spreading hate like wildfire,

Bombing your homes

threatening your family,

Because that is what he faced,

Not in ancient times –

though it may feel that way

If you are 21,

But 50 years ago,

in my childhood,

In the days of MY lifetime.

He was a gifted speaker,

who could inspire crowds

And uplift hearts,

like no one you’ve ever heard,

He inspired collective ACTION

through non-violent means,

inspired those who had no hope left

inspired politicians to change their laws

to DO SOME WALKING to go along with their TALKING

about equal opportunity.

He wrote a letter from the Birmingham jail,

to his fellow ministers, and asked,

Was this not America – home of the brave, land of the FREE?

What would it take to bring about EQUALITY?

But 50 years later,

A man looks at me,

In a business in the rural south,

and asks me, “What was the attraction?”

When I spoke of the service today,

when I joked about spending 3 ½ hours in CHURCH,

listening to speakers and choirs sing,

celebrating this man.

“What was the attraction?”

And I don’t know what to say, except,


This was a man courageous enough

to stand up for justice

In the face of death,

To face hatred

With never ending love,

To face bombings of churches and his home,

With a dream of a better America,

And I want to say, “Where were you?”

Because there were hundreds in that church today,

and where ARE we today – exactly?

Because today was a NATIONAL holiday,

And we have much work left to do,

because … “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence . . . in a descending spiral of destruction…

The chain reaction of evil . . . must be broken, or we will shall plunge into the dark abyss of annihilation…” 1


and “When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response . . . I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life . . .” 2

and “Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.” 3


1,2,3  quotes of Dr. Martin Luther King

poem, Day before the first day of the semester

January 9, 2012

Day Before the First Day of the Semester


The day before the first day of the semester,

All is possibility.

There are no late assignments,

No one has failed a test,

Or made an excuse for missing class.

Your relationship with each and every student

Is solid.

All there is, is the role play, of student vs. professor.

The goal for today is to copy the syllabus,

The contract of promises to be kept.

There are no questions as to when the assignment is due,

Whether or not you provide a review,

Or take papers via e-mail.

You have a list with names on it,

Everyone’s grade is equally resplendent.

Their main concern for tomorrow

Is to find the right room,

And to take a seat — next to someone they know.

15 weeks of struggle and promise lie pristine before them,

No one knows how to tell their story,

Or how it will come to an end,

Today is all possibility,

Lift your pencil, now, begin!

Plantinga’s in Chicago

January 3, 2012
Update: Been researching the Dutch today. I really feel for them, because they came to America, & they were poor. I found out some things about the grandparents of my grandparents.
Gerrit & Mathilda Plantinga were born in Friesland, Netherlands in the mid-1840s. In fact, Mathilda lists her town as Hallum (so we could even visit the town they were from). They were married in Holland in 1867. There is supposedly a marriage record in Dutch, but the website is also in Dutch so I could not get the record at this point.
They immigrated Oct. 18, 1890, coming into New York and having a destination of “Kensington”. Kensington is an area still shown on the map, just west of Hwy 94 in south Chicago. They had children with them:
Antje, Boutje, Loenwtje, and Renske.
Their children’s names were incorrectly transcribed as: Antie, Bouwtie, Leeunts and Renoke.
Gerrit & Mathilda settled in the big city. They lived INSIDE Chicago. (I think of all those pictures of slum quarters of immigrants with laundry out their windows and the kids running around kicking a ball in the streets of Chicago.) They also had 2 boys: WOPKO (who became William and my grandpa’s father), and GERRIT JR. (who is buried also in Chicago).
They lived in Dutch areas of Chicago. Lots of Dutch ended up in Chicago. WOPKO eventually married Katherine (Katie) and they came down to the Lafayette area.
In 1900, Gerrit Sr. was working as a “blacksmith helper” and they lived at: 233 103rd St., IN Chicago.
In 1910, Gerrit was in his mid-60s and worked as a “laborer in a car shop”. What this tells me is, they never had any money.
Gerrit dies in 1919. Mathilda is living with a daughter in 1920. The daughter’s husband worked as a “salesman of wholesale produce”. In other words, they grew vegetables somehow & managed to sell them. They didn’t have any money either.
Mathilda, it appears, never spoke any English. She was listed as speaking Dutch only in the census of 1900. She, as many Dutch women seem to manage to do, lived to be 90 years old, and died in 1935. Their death certificates put both Gerrit Sr. and Mathilda in Mt. Greenwood cemetary, Cook County, Chicago. Someone took their headstone photo for me. This is the same thing I do down here for others, wander cemetaries & take photos for family history. 
The Dutch names are amazing, and are also butchered terribly when transcribed. Mathilda was called “Tilke” for short, and in ACTUAL Dutch, her marriage name was: Tjipkje………..
Their children, as I have them all, were:
Antje (becomes “Annie”)
Liewkje (becomes “Lucia,” then “Lucy”)
Loeuwtje (I think becomes “Rosie”)
Wopko (William)
Gerrit Jr.
and possible Rinske (This may be the one they call “Rosie” but I’m not sure if they are the same person.)
Wopko is the father of George, my grandpa. George hated his dad. He evidently was a mean person. George was born before Wopko and Katherine had been married 9 months. However, I’ve seen his picture and he looks like the spitting image of George, so I believe he is the father. Then they had 10 more kids.

the Reids in southern Indiana

January 2, 2012
If I were to “go home” for me, personally, I would live in southern Indiana. The patriarch James Agnew settled there after the Civil War (coming there from Ohio) & lots of Agnew relatives still all live there in New Albany. We are some of the very few who left. My grandma Mary Reid who married John Wesley Agnew (son of James) grew up in Bedford. Her family settled there, coming up from Kentucky. Today I was researching her family some more.
Mary’s parents were Charles Reid and Cora Belle Owens.
Charles’ parents were Alexander J. Reid (b.1929) and Nancy Jane (Smith) (b.1834). Both Alexander and Nancy came to southern Indiana from Kentucky. They seem to have been married in 1850. Nancy reports this in one census, but I cannot find any official marriage record, so far. Nancy reports she got married in 1850, at age 16.
They had 9 children. Charles, my great-grandfather, was # 6. He was born in 1865. His siblings were:
Martha b.1854
Thomas Hugh b.1857
Sarah b.1859
Mary L. b.1862
John Marshall b.1863 and lived as an adult in Indianapolis
Charles b.1865 (my great-grandfather)
Ida B., b.1867, married Frank Turner
Nelly G., also called “Emma” b.1870
and the baby, George W., b.1872.
*There seems to be another son, John, who is listed as a brother surviving Charles in 1917, but I do not find him in any census record so far.
In 1900, the mother, Nancy Jane, was living only with son Thomas Hugh, but still listed herself as married. Where was Alexander, her husband?? I do not know. Alexander lived to 1909.
This son, Thomas, was 43 and not married in 1900.
Nancy lived to 1912. I still need to find her in 1910 (where she was living & w/ who).
Nancy and Alexander are buried together, in Bedford. I have enclosed their marker. Green Hill cemetary.
Charles Reid, their son & my great-grandfather, dies of diabetes at age (52), in 1917. At that time, he was a stone mason in Bloomington. He is buried also in Bedford.