Saturday, April 12, 2014

GENEALOGICAL JOURNEYS: Adoptees, Orphans and Recent Immigrants

I have been fretting lately about the fact that I can’t find the parents of my 5th great grandmother, Elizabeth “Betsey” Nichols who married Joel Cutler and lived in Vermont. No matter how many potential parents I look at, there is no good match. Then I started to think about how some people have much tougher searches. For example, adoptees often don’t know the names of their biological parents.  There are a fair number of adoptee hits in my DNA results. These people have no tree. Can you imagine how it feels to have no ancestors on your tree? They may have only a clue or two about the possible identities of their parents, and those clues may not be correct.  

And then there are the people whose families are new to this country, so they have to explore foreign countries and languages in order to find their ancestors. The countries may no longer exist. Most of my ancestors were from England, so I don’t have to grapple with an unfamiliar language. Okay, I have to deal with archaic handwriting, but at least it is not archaic and foreign.  

And then there are the orphans. Where do they begin to find their biological family?

Sometimes it is important to visualize life from someone else’s shoes. I would really love to find out the names of Betsey’s parents, but I guess I can’t complain too loudly if I don’t.

These are some websites I found for adoption and orphan research:

Adoption » Professionals, Volunteers & Other Research Services

How to Handle Adoption in the Family Tree: Do I Trace My Adopted Family, Birth Family or Both?

Researching Orphans in Genealogy

Research Orphan Train Ancestors

Orphans and Adoption


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "1100 Pictorial Symbols," 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Decorative Silhouettes," 2003.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, "Early American Design Motifs," 2003.

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