My Brick Wall: Grandma's Birth Mother Agnes Anderson

Do you have persons in your family tree that are hidden from you? Generally, women are the ones that hide because much of the past followed the lines of women. One of my elusive females was the birth mother of my grandmother Louise Eleanor Long.

For much of my life, my Grannie was not shy or bothered about the fact that she was adopted. I can't say the same for when my mother was growing up. She was a teenager when she learned her mother was adopted. In my Grannie's personal history, she told the story of when her own sister found out she was adopted. Her sister Peggy came barreling into their home with fumes coming out of her ears (okay, literary licenses, but Peggy was very upset). She said,"'Hey Louse, did you know we were adopted?"

Scan of original adoption papers for Marie Anderson,
of Franklin County, Ohio in 1925

In my Grannie's typical not easily provoked attitude, she replied, "So?" My grandmother adored her mother Lura Maude Smith and her father Harry Howard Long. If they didn't actually give birth to her, she didn't care. They were her parents and were so very, very kind to her.

Later in life, Louise did benefit from her birth mother. Her birth mother had a small estate and it was kept in a trust (I think that it was it was called) until Louise was an adult. In that trust, Louise inherited a home in Newark, Licking, Ohio. When Louise got married, she sold that property to purchase major items with her new husband Lewis Sherman Brown. I believe they bought their home at 716 Hanford Street in Columbus, Ohio.

So, who is Louise's birth mother? Her name is Agnes Anderson. And what's interesting is that Louise Eleanor Long was born Marie Agnes Anderson.

Scan of Agnes Anderson Original death Certificate

According to her death certificate, Agnes was single and about 36. No birth date is known. The informant was a hospital that's very hard to read. But in any case, keeping that in mind the additional personal facts are related. Her parents are Wm and Amanda (Sparks) Anderson of Evansville, Missouri.

Agnes worked, at the time of her death, as a clerk in the stenographer industry. She died of eclampsia after her daughter was born. Agnes is supposed to be buried in Newark, Ohio, but I've yet to find the cemetery. Side note: The baby did have residual effects of eclampsia, and was a very sickly baby. However, Agnes' sickly baby with no one in the world at her birth lived to nearly 92 years old and was loved by so very, very many.

My Grannie had in her possession the copy of her adoption papers. Again, she adored her parents and her birth mother was deceased, so she didn't pursue anything further about Agnes. She didn't feel there was any need. She was loved and well cared for. Nothing more of the story was needed. How very different Louise's attitude is from the many adopted persons of today who claim to be incomplete without knowing more about their birth parents.

Now, I'm seeking out the life of Agnes not because I need to know who she is to feel complete. I'm seeking out her life because a) I'm an amateur genealogist and the mystery bugs me and b) because I want Agnes to be remembered. If I don't, know one else really will.

From the original scan of adoption packet of Marie Anderson

As I said, I have adoption papers for Louise Long (aka Marie Anderson). In the packet, her adopted father indicated what he had learned about Agnes. According to what he had learned, Agnes was a stenographer and bookkeeper for B & O Railroad Company. (side note: My great-grandfather Geiszler worked for the same company as a pattern maker. Small world, or big industry in Ohio?)

The document goes on to say that Agnes' delivery of a child came as a big shock to those she worked with. She always 'bore a good reputation, was quite an industrious woman' so her having a baby was very unexpected. For some reason, though she had this baby out of wedlock, I like that statement. She was a hard worker and had a good reputation.

For years, that's all we've known about Agnes, until recently.


  1. Perhaps Agnes just wanted to have a child of her own. Today no one would even care.

    1. It's true that no one cares these days. In the 1920s it was a big deal. I'm just glad my grannie wasn't aborted. She was an AMAZING woman and I praise God that Agnes was able to bring her daughter to life. I like to think she would have liked my Grannie. Since both have this life for the next, I hope they've had a chance to meet. Grannie always felt she had a guardian angel. I wonder if that happened to be her mother.

  2. Good luck in your searching. I'm convinced all it takes to do genealogy is curiosity and one thing leads to another. I love GeneaBloggers because it is causing me to put some of the information I have online. Right now I'm putting on the letters and other paper of my gg grandfather and trying to build a little history around him. There just isn't enough time though to blog/write and research. Hope to see you doing more Daily Genealogy Prompts. I've done one and have a second coming out soon.

    1. Grant... what a positive outlook on Genealogy. If we're patient and curious enough, we'll find our answers. I do love the GeneaBlogger community. I've connected with some great people though it and found a lot of information. But you're right, there's not enough time to blog/write, research, and care for ourselves and our living relatives. That's why I pace myself. Often I'll be in a writing mood and crank out a number of posts. I'll stagger when they are released to buy me time until the next burst of writing energy. It might be a secret I shouldn't reveal, but it's how I find some balance to it all. Good luck with your research.


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