Adoptions with and without paperwork
february 23, 2014
If you are hunting for a record of an adoption and have run into problems with recovering the record, here is a tip you might try in the future.
Adoptions are not just a recent thing. Modern-day adoption specialists use many tricks for finding them. Often, if they know the child’s date and place of birth, simply going through birth records of that state and county searching for births on that day, month and year can narrow the search. There is such a specialist in our county.
We have had adoptions forever, although you will be unable to find some of them because they are unofficial adoptions, or there was no official paperwork. However, researchers who cannot afford a specialist or who prefer to hunt themselves, finding the adopted child or person is rather time consuming. Nevertheless, if the adoption occurred early in the 20th century or middle to late 19th century, check out the land records, wills and administrations in the target state and county. Occasionally, in the south and in Texas, the transfer of a child into the household of another is recorded in the records mentioned above. After all, if you think about it, land was essential for settlers and the care and welfare of children was, and is, of a primary concern. I know there is one adoption in Collin County found in the land deeds. Others are in the Administration papers of the parents after their early deaths. The estate had to be settled and the young children given a caregiver.
Such was the case with Michael and Mary (Stibbens) Boylan. Mary died in Collin County in 1884 at the young age of 33, and her 54-year-old husband died two years later. Michael’s will stipulates the administration of his considerable estate and guardianship of his children, ages 10, 7 and 4.
Other cases, at the death of both parents, have no official records as the children of the deceased were just taken into the household of a family member, a neighbor or friend. If the child was born to a single female, sometimes the grandmother took the child to rear as her own. Contemporary records are closed, but there are ways to get around this. Sometimes a family member knows about the adoption and the parents. In other case, you will have to use a professional researcher or an attorney to open the records because of the legal complications that throw you against the proverbial brick wall.
I do not know the steps to finding later adoptions. I know it requires an understanding of the terminology used, knowing where to locate the information preparation for the emotional and time-consuming adventure. You can do it and as in any difficult situation, by hunting adoptions regardless of the period, the researcher will learn and will apply situations to future research, thus making a better genealogist.
SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) meet March 4 at Outback Steakhouse to dine and hear speaker Matthew Bishop from NOAA discuss the severe weather in North Texas. To read the full biography of this talented man, the SAR website, www.planosar.org, has it in its entirety. The meetings begin promptly at 7 p. m., however, if you are eating please arrive by 6 p. m. Non-members and wives are invited to attend.
BARBARA COAKLEY SPEAKS TO GENEALOGY FRIENDS: On March 15, Barbara Coakley, genealogy teacher at Collin College, will speak on Mind Mapping for Genealogists and Using OneNote. The program is from 10:30-12:30 in the Program Room at W. O. Haggard Library. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 972-836-9436. Their website is a www.genealogyfriends.org. Genealogy Friends is a nonprofit organization certified under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
FEBRUARY IS BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Here are three amazing online sources for hunting your Black ancestors I want to share with you. AccessGenealogy.com is a free educational site listing many other sites for you to search. It is at www.accessgenealogy.com/black-genealogy. The next is Genealogy.com, http://www.genealogy.com/00000360.html, which gives a number of different kinds of sources. There is another site, DistantCousin.com, that says it contains ‘new’ sources and it is located at http://distantcousin.com/SurnameResources/Surname.asp?Surname=Black.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: email@example.com.