Adopted Ancestors and Family History

On Tuesday Jan. 15th, the library’s Family History Guild hosted noted genealogist and presenter Bobbie Snow.

Bobbie talked about finding information on family members who either left the family through adoption, or were adopted into the family. She started by reviewing the history of adoptions in the U.S., then reviewed a variety of sources available to researchers.

One of the most important tips was that adoptions were handled by a lot of different agencies, many of which were later merged, renamed, or taken over by other agencies, so finding original records can require careful detective work. Adopted children weren’t given the same legal status as birth children until the 20th century, and were often provided for separately in family wills, which is another avenue to pursue. It’s often necessary to find a variety of types of records to create a full picture.

Once adoptions became private (in the mid-20th century), records were closed and it can be extremely difficult to find any information at all. However, there are registries and other resources to help connect adoptees and birth families.

Bobbie’s full presentation is viewable at her website, View “Your Guide to Finding Orphaned and Adopted Ancestors” to get started on your own research into adopted family members.

The Family History Guild meets at 7pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month during the school year. Meetings are free and open to the public, and beginners are welcome.


About Heather Sturm

Director at Manchester District Library
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