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James Bellert (#48157908)
 member for 2 years, 1 month, 9 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 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 (336)[Leave Message]
Tree Climber
Willam Hutchinson Smith Grave Photo
Thanks for taking the grave photo. Wondering if it is okay to copy and use the photo, provided you are credited as the photographer. Thanks!
Added by Tree Climber on Jul 27, 2015 11:03 AM
Lu & Toppel in Hillside Cemetery
Thank you so much for your search for these graves. You really went the extra mile. I am sorry they could not be located. perhaps the person who made the entries had the wrong cemetery. Unfortunately, his obituary does not list a place of burial.
Added by Brooke on Jul 17, 2015 2:59 PM
Paul Wydra
Robert Kelly
Thank You very much for taking a picture of my uncle's grave. Also thanks for going the extra step and creating a tribute for his wife.
Added by Paul Wydra on Jul 10, 2015 5:32 PM
Lon Mortensen
Thanks for the pics. I added a family picture also. It really helps when someone can provide pictures like that. Thanks again !
Added by Lon Mortensen on Jul 09, 2015 7:06 PM
RE: Biography
She found my family through my ancestry tree (not long after I first started genealogy). That was quite the addition to the family tree!
Added by randrjones on Jul 05, 2015 4:18 PM
Thank you for the marker photos for Kobiella family member at St. Michael the Archangel Cemetery in Palatine, IL.
Gratefully, RWS
Added by RWS on Jul 05, 2015 2:03 PM
Thank you for sharing your story. I recently found out about an ancestor of mine putting a child up for adoption and have been in contact with my "new" cousin. Thank you for all the hard work you do on findagrave!
Added by randrjones on Jul 01, 2015 3:38 PM
Jason Bruno

My name is Jason Bruno. I am a Family Service Counselor here at Windridge Memorial Park. I recently sat with the Tegtmeyer family and their Mother, who is still with us, has the wrong middle name listed. I submitted the correction from Janice to June. Please change this and if you need me or have any questions for me please email or call me at 847 639 3883. Also , if you need anything from me here I would be more than happy to help in any way that I can. Thank you!

-Jason Bruno
Added by Jason Bruno on Jun 30, 2015 3:30 PM
Henry L Stadfeld
Hi Jim,

Thank you for fulfilling my photo request. I have deleted my memorial as you suggested. I did not know that there was another memorial. I am somewhat new to find a grave and all of the tricks to "finding a grave". I will keep learning and hoping for suggestions from other contributors like yourself.

Thanks again,

Added by rmw on Jun 30, 2015 12:57 PM
Rebecca Wright
Nellie Fox Taylor
Dear James,

Thank you for the really nice clear photo of Nellie's grave marker. I appreciate your time to do this!

Best regards,

Rebecca #47388083
Added by Rebecca Wright on Jun 27, 2015 9:41 AM
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