Finding adopted relatives in genealogy research

Many adoptees think about searching for their birth parents. For some people there is a stigma or fear attached to finding birth parents. Some people never find out who their birth parents are/were. When you’re working on genealogy research adoption can be a road block in your family history. Learning about other people’s adoptive genealogy research processes will help your search.

Important information in adoption research

Tips on researching your family if you or a relative were adopted

  1. Young woman working at homeLook for the original birth certificate issued at the time of birth.
  2. Learn the adoption rules for your state. Each state is different.
  3. Decide whether you would like to take a DNA test to find blood related family members.
  4. Research local organizations that handle adoptions at your local library and state research archive.
  5. SearchAngels.org helps adoptees and birth parents find each other. Kansas Children’s Service League has an Adoption Search Program.

Books about adoption research

Author KelLee Parr shares the powerful story of his adopted mother’s reunion with her birth mother in his book My Little Valentine: The Story of a Mother and Daughter’s Lost Love. Parr started his journey with genealogy as many people do, with a question about his own family. Parr’s mother was adopted as a baby. She told her children she longed to find her birth mother someday. Parr’s mother even shared her original birth certificate with her children.
Parr was at the Kansas Historical Society one day when he was struck with the impulse to try a little family research. He started with the information on his mother’s birth certificate. Parr’s hunch paid off and he was able to make his mother’s dream come true.  My Little Valentine is an inspiring story of family reunion and love, as well as an informative text on Parr’s process and journey to answers.
Parr’s research led him to Willows Maternity Sanitarium in Kansas City. He learned that Kansas City was known as the adoption hub of America at one time. Parr followed up on his first book with two others about the Willows and the many thousands of women who gave birth within its walls. Many of them were forced to give up their babies against their will or were offered no other choice. Learn more about the Willows and the family who kept it running from 1905-1969 in Parr’s second book Mansion on a Hill: The Story of the Willows Maternity Sanitarium and the Adoption Hub of America and More Voices of the Willows and the Adoption Hub of America.

Live event about adoptive genealogy

Learn more about adoptive genealogy with author KelLee Parr and genealogy librarian Sherri Camp Thu, Nov 4, 7-8:30pm. You’ll also learn how the library can help you discover your family story. Register to attend in-person in Marvin Auditorium or by Zoom.

As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! I work to promote a greater knowledge of family, history, and heritage.