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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Finding Adopted Children

By Jeannette Holland Austin

Did you know that some census records provide the names of orphans enrolled in religious schools? I have discovered a few, such as the 1900 census of Episcopal Orphans Home in Savannah and the 1920 Fulton County Census listing students of the Georgia Baptist Orphans Home. Also, occasionally there is some newspaper reference. It is really tough finding these notations in newspapers but a snoop such as myself reads everything. A tedious job. But sketchy information is scattered throughout. All of the names found from various and sundry sources can be viewed in an alphabetical database designated Orphans in Georgia Pioneers It seems that these days lots of people are seeking their birth parents. The problem is that unlike some of our other records, adoption papers are not for open scutiny. I was recently contacted regarding a female child born in 1964 and adopted several weeks later. The names of the adopted parents were unknown and she no doubt married somewhere along the way. My only suggestion was to search the newspapers for that year (actually about a month's worth) to see if there was any mention of Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so adopting a baby girl. Such notices do occasionally appear in the news. All newspapers have sections containing tidbits of information about the local stuff, from the crop to visits from relatives. Also, news was always somewhat syndicated. Thus, such a notice could be published (in this case) in any Kentucky newspaper. A modern tool today for names is the city directories, found in public libraries, which list name, street address, occupation and sometimes every person at that address. Should the above issue turn into a discovery of the names of the adopted parents, I would be at the local county court house where they resided searching every deed, marriage, estates, tax digests, and so on tracking their movements down the line through and including local marriages and obituaries. That's the way we do it.

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