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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 1 year, 9 months, 13 days
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Bio and Links
Bio Photo I was born at St. Vincent's Orphanage in Chicago. I spent most of my adult years and much money and time trying to find my biological mother. Finally, in 1996, Catholic Charities SOLD me a redacted biography of my birth mother. I had also obtained a copy of the Decree of Adoption in which her name was listed. I was able to use her name and the redacted bio to focus my search and finally locate her and her other children, both legitimate and illegitimate. When I made that discovery I was in the town in which my grandparents raised my mother and other kids and the town in which my biological grandparents were buried. It was the microfiche of the obituaries which led me to the discovery of my birthmother and her family.

Unless you are an adoptee, I don't think you can fully understand the feeling of connection and authentication as a member of the human race I had when I visited the cemetery in that town and saw the graves of my grandparents to whom I was actually biologically related. I went on to do a lot of genealogy research, now made so much easier by websites like Find A Grave and Ancestry.com. I traced my mother's side back to England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, in some cases back to the 1000's!

All that knowledge obtained because I found the graves of my grandparents! If I can help another person find that feeling of connection and authentication by posting a photograph of a marker or creating a memorial on Find A Grave to go with it, I couldn't be happier.

All is not warm and fuzzy, though. Not in my case. But mine is unusual as over 92% of all birthmothers welcome a reunion with the child they "adopted out." Illinois enacted a law in recent years allowing adult adoptees to obtain copies of their original birth certificates (but not their adoption records). I had always wanted a copy of my original birth certificate because I somehow felt it would give me authenticity as a human being. Maybe that sounds ridiculous, but it's a feeling shared by many adoptees. We weren't born, we were adopted! Well, virtually ALL of the entries about my birthmother on that certificate were falsified by Catholic Charities! Her married name was shown where it required her maiden name, her marital status was false, the number of previous births was wrong, and the address given as her place of usual residence was the address of the ORPHANAGE! The father's name is "Legally Omitted." That was legal lingo for "Bastard."

Learning about my genetic physical and mental health was only one of the reasons I needed to search for my birth families. It was less a reason for searching and more of an excuse to give to non-adoptees for why I wanted to search. At least non-adoptees might understand the need to know your medical history as a reason to search.

And the discoveries you make about health issues, both mental and physical, are not always what you hope to hear. My biological mother's family is rampant with diabetes and alcoholism, two afflictions I am fortunate enough not to suffer. And I discovered that mental traits may very well be genetic. Many of my biological relatives are reclusive to an extreme. And, that is one of my traits, I do admit.

I would do all the searching again, though. The greatest experience was seeing actual living people, and photographs of people, that I actually LOOK LIKE!!!

PLEASE NOTE: In the spirit of being helpful, I had been posting obituaries to the memorial I created, and people often suggest I add an obituary to a memorial. But, I discovered a response by Find A Grave in their "Help With Find a Grave" section that obituaries may NOT be copied from websites or newspapers and posted to memorial unless you get written permission from the source to do so. I admit the wording to that response is a bit ambiguous, so I emailed Find A Grave to ask them if they can rewrite the response so it is more clear (they're considering it), and also to verify that I was interpreting the response correctly. Find A Grave replied that we may NOT copy and paste an obituary into a memorial unless we have WRITTEN permission from the souce. The written permission need not be posted but should be kept in case a problem ever arises. If you DO get written permission, then the rules in the FAQ response should be followed. So, this is why I will not post obituaries to memorials unless you have written permission from the source.
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Messages left for James Bellert (291)[Leave Message]
Chris Kaufmann
Memorial transfer
Mr. Bellert:

Could you please transfer my brother's memorial to me. He is Brady Kaufmann #119174151. My id is 48081901. Thank you.

Chris Kaufmann
Added by Chris Kaufmann on Mar 31, 2015 8:13 PM
Tanya Johnsen
Grave Photos
Thank you so much for the pictures you added for me today from Union Cemetery! I appreciate your help and quick response! Tanya.
Added by Tanya Johnsen on Mar 26, 2015 7:20 PM
Jan Van
Jerome & Mary Frank's Gravestone Photos
Hi James,
A heartfelt thanks for Jerome & Mary Frank's (Ivanhoe Cemetery)gravestone photos and for also adding Mary's memorial page on which you posted her pic. -Janet
Added by Jan Van on Mar 26, 2015 6:51 PM
David McInturff
Bertha McInturff Frye
Thank you so much for the quick transfer.
Added by David McInturff on Mar 26, 2015 6:37 PM
FarmGirl
Helen Peache
Thank you again for your help with photos! You let me know a few months ago that Helen's brother Harry Wichham was not buried in this cemetery although most of his family is. I discovered he was in fact cremated. Thank you for your help as it encouraged me to keep digging for the answer.
Added by FarmGirl on Mar 26, 2015 3:15 PM
L. S. STEPHENS
Also Adopted
James:
My twin and I were also given up for adoption at birth so we can really relate to what you went through. In our case our adoptive mother died of a sudden heart attack when we were 7, and then we got a step-mother (not all ‘warm and fuzzy,’ as you say). In our early 30’s, we received a miracle from God after 2 excruciating years of searching for our birthmother and finding her. We felt our feet were on the ground for the first time in our lives because we finally had a connection. We looked just like her, and her other 4 children (different father) didn’t take after her genes at all. She died of lung cancer at age 56 soon after we found her, but we got to see her 3 times. She wouldn’t tell us who our birthfather was, but now we feel it doesn’t matter in this earthly life. Our greatest joy in this world, though, has been finding Jesus as our Savior and Lord. We pray that you have also made that eternal connection, and if not, that you will keep pursuing Him.
Twincerely, Linda and Laura
Added by L. S. STEPHENS on Mar 25, 2015 2:39 AM
Jan Van
Clara Frenden's Marker Photo
Thanks James for transferring Clara's memorial over to my care. I deeply appreciate all your Find A Grave volunteer work! -Janet
Added by Jan Van on Mar 24, 2015 7:14 AM
Raymie
Plinke and Gill Headstones
Thank you very much for the photos of their headstones.

rgc
Added by Raymie on Mar 19, 2015 7:04 PM
MSzalko
Wegrzyn grave photos
Thank you for the corrections regarding the multiple Evergreen Cemeteries. I have corrected both records.
Added by MSzalko on Mar 19, 2015 4:38 PM
Kaye
Ella A. (Albrecht) Miller
Hi James,

Thank you so much for the great photos of Ella's stone. It's always nice to see closeups AND one with more of someone's "place" in the cemetery. Your time and effort are really appreciated!

Regards, Kaye
Added by Kaye on Mar 19, 2015 12:43 PM
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