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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 1 year, 6 months, 3 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 located 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 they 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 to. I went on to do a lot of genealogy research, now made so much easier by websites like Find A Grave and 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 birth mothers 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 birth mother 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."

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 many of them 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 (239)[Leave Message]
Dan Ryan
RE: Charles C. Rogers
You are welcome, glad I could help.
Merry X-mas,
Dan R.
Added by Dan Ryan on Dec 20, 2014 11:10 PM
Sandie Schwarz
Joseph F. Kavanagh
Hi James,
Once again, thank you very much for posting my latest photo request for the memorial of Joseph F. Kavanagh, this time of year in the Chicago area, is not always the best time to be out on a photo request. I discovered last night that a member who had created Joseph's memorial, had deleted it?! So, that is why I created his memorial and needed a photo. I was not expecting a 24 hour response, so your efforts are greatly appreciated! Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Added by Sandie Schwarz on Dec 17, 2014 6:38 PM
D.E. Losey
Joseph Cunningham
Hi James
Thank you so very much for your time spent in taking and posting the photo of Joseph Cunningham headstone for me. It is greatly appreciated.
Peace. Marry Christmas and A Happy New Year.
D.E.Losey #47377966
Added by D.E. Losey on Dec 16, 2014 3:03 PM
Mark Wilson
Roy Dean Hornsby
Thank you for the photo!
Added by Mark Wilson on Dec 12, 2014 11:27 AM
A special thank you
Dear Mr. Bellert,
It takes a special kind of person to volunteer to do such a wonderful thing as travel to a cemetery to find a grave for a person whom you never knew. A small act for you is of infinite value to someone like me. I am so very grateful to have this image of my mom's resting place because I am so far away and this is the only way I can visit her. You are surely blessed. Merry Christmas to you.
Eileen Hierholz
Aurora, CO
Added by Eileen on Dec 10, 2014 10:29 AM
Thank you so much for the transfer. This one meant a lot to me.
Added by Anna on Dec 06, 2014 8:45 AM
Thank you for the quick fulfillment. That is interesting that he is buried with Esther versus his first wife. When I was talking about this with my sister we think he may not have planned to remarry after his first wife died and/or he wanted to be buried next to Esther because they were together longer; Homer and Lois had been married about 24 years when she died. Esther and Homer had been married 50 years at the time of his death in 2003.
Added by CalyBejo on Nov 28, 2014 9:45 PM
Gary Feezel
Pricketts of Union Cemetery
Thanks for calling my attention to Warren's memorial. I've taken down my duplicate, and re-posted my original, unedited, photos to both Warren and Becca's memorials.

Thanks, too, for your compliment on my photography, I enjoy it, and try to offer a good representation of the headstone, as if you where there.

At Union Cemetery I was fortunate, in that my father used to live just on the other side of the evergreens you see in the far background of the photos, so picking the time to go out was easier, because I didn't take a lot of photos in any one trip.

Like you, I'm sure, I have gone out on hours-long photo shoots, and you can only use the sun from where it is at the moment. That's why I always keep a list of headstones I want to re-shoot. Keeps the compliments coming.

Keep up your own good work on Find-A-Grave, and feel free to use my photos for any non-commercial use.

Added by Gary Feezel on Nov 28, 2014 9:37 PM
Carolyn Whitaker
Your Adoption
First let me just say Happy Thanksgiving. After I did the correction for Agnes Throop Campbell I decided to look at your bio page and I just have to tell you I broke down and cried because your adoption story just tears me to pieces. My own father was adopted back in 1920 and I researched and tracked down our biological family but my Dad was 72 when we finally met our family. I can't tell you the tears that have been shed with our own family. I have re-united several adoptees with their biological families because I know how much it means to find your real family. Like you said you just need to connect. I told a friend of mine who gave her son up back in the 60's she needed to track him down and it too was through Catholic Charities and what a mess they made of children's adoptions. She was reunited with him almost two years ago and what a joy he is in her life and she in his. Then there's Georgia Tann and a judge in Memphis who stole babies and got them also from the Catholic orphanages in Memphis and sold them for big bucks to movie stars like Joan Rivers. I reunited a girl of one of those babies who had been trying to find her family for 40 years. Her own mother was dead but I found a living aunt and they are very close now. The main thing is that I realized that adopted children have a hole in their life that's never filled unless they know the truth, regardless of the outcome. These people who take children and adopt them out and never tell the truth is a crime in my eyes. The damage they do to these children is irresponsible and these people who think it's in the child's best interest are WRONG!! I just wish this society would get it through their heads that they have no idea what they are doing to people and admit they are wrong in lying about it and call themselves Christians. Our story was so sad as well and I totally appreciate what you wrote, went through and how important it is to stand on your grandparents graves and know they're your flesh and blood. Here's a link to my grandmother's memorial and then read my uncle Don's memorial too.

I hope your hole has been filled in spite of what you found out and just know the love I send to you. Being an unwed mother myself but kept my child, I just couldn't begin to fathom putting my child up for adoption because I just knew no one could give him the love I had in my heart. My family tried everything they could to get me to give him away, but I wouldn't relent and I was only 18 years old then. My son knows the truth and I don't feel shame in any way for what happened because I told the truth. Do I have any regrets, ABSOLUTELY NOT because I KNOW where my baby is. At the time this happened I didn't know my own father was an adoptee.

Also, go read about Georgia Tann. I worked with Neil on a bunch of stuff a few years ago and he sends me adoptees when they're looking for their families and I always try to help them find their roots.

I'm so happy you were finally able to track down your family. In spite of what happened there is good in your ancestors I know as I have found in my own and what a joy it has been to find them and stand at their graves.

So happy holidays to you and yours and I hope in my heart it has brought you understanding and peace.
Added by Carolyn Whitaker on Nov 27, 2014 6:16 PM
Thanks for correcting Alice Cole. You may have to correct a few other memorials as Memorial #134179997 has parents as two women. I don't think Alice Cole is connected to this family in any way. Thank you so much for your time!
Added by FarmGirl on Nov 23, 2014 4:50 PM
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